The apps also allow individuals to submit highly personalized news, photos and story tips, according to Bill Johnson, Weekly publisher and Embarcadero Media president, who announced the new apps Thursday (July 22).
Johnson said the free applications (named "Palo Alto") are available in the iTunes Store and Android Market. Applications for Apple iPad and Blackberry devices will be released soon.
The apps include real-time news and sports feeds from Palo Alto Online, as well as access to the Palo Alto Online Twitter feed and videos. Those who download the application will see the same news and sports information, including photos, appearing on Palo Alto Online but formatted specifically for the mobile phone and without needing to open a Web browser.
In addition, users can use the 360News tool to submit anything from a breaking news report to a tip about a pothole in the road to a video of their daughter's winning goal in a soccer match. Once approved, submitted material appears on the app, on Palo Alto Online and, where appropriate, on YouTube, Flickr, Twitter, 360News and CNNireport sites, with credit going to the user. The applications also feature "push" notifications to users about breaking news or special offers.
"The Palo Alto mobile applications will evolve and improve in the weeks ahead, but they already bring a level of interactivity and engagement that goes beyond the functionality offered in most mobile-news applications," Johnson said.
The applications were developed by SachManya, a Santa Clara start-up and creator of award-winning YAPPER (Your APP makER), an online, easy-to-use self-service mobile application maker, and 360News, an interactive geo-aware program that allows users to keep up with local news and submit and comment on news, photos and videos.
When introduced earlier this year, YAPPER won the distinguished 2010 Macworld DEMO Best of Show award and showcased its revolutionary WYSIWYG app creation technology on the main stage.
"YAPPER is a platform for news organizations and other publishers to easily build mobile applications with rich functionality," said Chintu Parikh, chief YAPPER and CEO of SachManya. SachManya was founded by veterans of Yahoo!, Apple, HP, NeXT, Infosys and Wipro.
The Palo Alto Weekly and its parent company, Embarcadero Media, have long been pioneers in online publishing. The Weekly was the first newspaper in the United States to publish its contents directly on the Web in 1994. It since has developed numerous online features, including local sports and real-estate websites, video advertising, a popular community discussion forum (Town Square), a classified-ad website (Fogster), and a daily news digest distributed by e-mail (Express).