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CleverClogs

Skritter for iOS release imminent

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CleverClogs

Hi everyone,

Together with a number of others I have been kindly invited to beta-test Skritter on my iPhone over the past few months. I've grown very excited about the app's feature set and about the high quality of the user interface design, and I'm obviously thrilled to share the news with you: the Skritter for iOS launch date pretty much depends on Apple approval now. The launch will be global. To be able to notify you as soon as the app is actually available, the Skritter developers made a page available where you can sign up: http://skritter.com/ios. Their YouTube channel also features a brand-new trailer video that I highly recommend: http://bit.ly/skritter-ios-trailer

I hope you share my excitement!

Marjolein

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wedge

I'm definitely waiting for this... it's like the Chinese learner's version of the Diablo III launch...

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roddy

What happened to non-disclosure arrangements? Has everyone been let off the leash, or what?

Definitely looking forward to this - not sure if I'll actually use it for long, but I'm keen to see what they've produced.

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character

I'll try it, but subscription pricing for an app is a big turnoff. Would rather see a paid app or a one-time IAP than be charged $5-10/month, month after month, for what as far as I can tell is (or could be) an offline app.

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nwinter

roddy, yeah--everyone is now free to talk about the app as much as possible, since we're launching soon.

character, although the app works offline for reviewing, it still needs connection to our servers to add new words, since all of the characters and words and lists would never fit in an offline app at once. And it takes a fair amount of server power to keep the learning data synced. So the subscription model helps us even out those costs according to usage, rather than charge a lot up front when you might need to take a break from learning new Chinese words at any time.

That said, we couldn't do the auto renewing subscriptions through the App Store, so you can buy it for two years at a time if you like, which is sort of like a one-time IAP.

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hanyu_xuesheng

Skritter is too expensive, and even for testing you'll need a credit card.

I've tested Skritter very, very intensively, but after a few days I found Skritter's SRS strategy a bit "strange": things I knew already were asked again and again... very boring! The writing with the mouse is also very tedious, so I hope that the iPhone app can do better!

It's a pity that one is not able to test iPhone apps before buying. The link below the YouTube video says: "App not available in the German app store" :-(

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character

nwinter,

Thanks for your response. I certainly respect your right to charge what you want, even if I disagree. I've spend over $200 on Pleco (WM, then iOS) so I'm not adverse to paying for software.

"all of the characters and words and lists would never fit in an offline app at once"

My Pleco install is 679MB, and I know there are 1-2GB apps in the store. I appreciate you may want a < 50MB app to let people download over cellular, but it would still be possible to have IAP and then let the user download additional content, as Pleco does.

"And it takes a fair amount of server power to keep the learning data synced."

I've heard working with iCloud can be a pain, but it is the native synching solution. I know you have existing users to satisfy, so you would want to sync with your site.

I guess in the end I'm saying think about how the expectations/norms of app buyers may differ from those of web site subscribers; the same business model may not work with both types of consumers.

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roddy

30 cents a day is expensive? Guess I must be part of the 1%. Writing with the mouse is a bit tedious, but if you haven't used Skritter with a graphics tablet and pen, then you haven't really used Skritter, I would say.

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hanyu_xuesheng

30 cents a day = 110 $ per annum, only to learn how to write characters and to memorize them --- there are cheaper alternatives.

I don't own a graphics tablet and pen, and I didn't want to buy one only for testing Skritter.

​I told Skritter about the strange SRS behavior, but nobody responded.

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character
30 cents a day is expensive?
My daily cost for Pleco's less than 13 cents a day at this point.

Anyway, it's their app/business. The app certainly looks fantastic.

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Meng Lelan
I don't own a graphics tablet and pen, and I didn't want to buy one only for testing Skritter.

I don't either, and I do fine with the mouse and desktop, and fine with my finger and the iPhone, and I am a big Skritter fan aiming for 5000 chars in the queue, and it has been worth every cent. ...and I am certainly going to get that Skritter iPhone app when it comes out.

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xuefang

"everyone is now free to talk about the app as much as possible, since we're launching soon."

Great. First of all I did buy a graphics tablet and a pen just for Skritter, luckily those are cheaper in China than abroad. Well, I still paid not that little for mine because couldn't wait to find a cheaper one :)

Skritter is great with tablet and a computer, but it's so much better with the app. There might be other learners that are as lazy as I am, and the good news is that with the app the step to start studying is so much lower. It's so easy to just open the app in iPhone/iPad and start skrittering. It was much harder for me to plug in the tablet (yeah, that's a bit lazy!).

I think it's worth the money and haven't found anything better. Because I'm an old user of Skritter I'm thinking that with the same amount of money I get the website version and the app.

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imron
I don't own a graphics tablet and pen, and I didn't want to buy one only for testing Skritter.

With the iPhone app, you won't need to :mrgreen:

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murrayjames

I subscribed to Skritter a few years ago when they were just out of beta. Was impressed then, and have been ever since.

Although I don't use Skritter anymore (I've returned to the feature-poor method of writing characters out by hand), I'm still excited about this release. Here's a product that enriches the Chinese learning ecosystem, and it looks great. I hope it does well.

Congratulations Nick and the Skritter team.

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Sarevok

Is there an Android version anywhere on the roadmap?

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mikelove

I've been testing this out myself the last few months - we're doing a little bit of inter-app communication (there's a "send to Pleco" button in the card info screen now and we're discussing some other data-sharing possibilities) and I also sent them a few pieces of design feedback, though strangely enough their testers have had totally different reactions to a few things than Pleco customers. For example, we ignore the mute switch for our audio pronunciation feature - far too many people mute their devices accidentally, don't realize it, and can't figure out why the audio isn't working - but when Skritter tried doing this it seems to have irritated everybody to the point where they had to change it back.

But it's a very cool app, and they put a tremendous amount of engineering effort into that main study screen, right down to the little sparks that come out of your finger when you draw a character in Night Mode. And it's a great thing for the Chinese learning ecosystem on iOS in general to have more innovative apps like this - far too many Chinese titles in the App Store now are either ripoffs of the apps that are already there (in some cases rather blatant ones) or simply don't try very hard.

Re the Pleco pricing comparisons, it's probably not appropriate for me to comment on the pricing / business aspects of Skritter for iOS publicly (though I have sent along some private thoughts on those to Nick), but the fact that they've been working very hard for the past year on an app which they're now essentially giving away for free to their existing subscribers is certainly commendable.

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Meng Lelan

the fact that they've been working very hard for the past year on an app which they're now essentially giving away for free to their existing subscribers is certainly commendable.

I agree. I was one of the initial testers until I had to opt out due to a severe situation in my family, but I can tell you Nick and his team have worked extremely hard on this project.

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rebor

I really like Skritter(I'm a fan but not affiliated to them). The subscription model seems have to worked fine for them until now, and given the "cloud"-aspect of their business, I don't find it an unreasonable choice. I think it will work on iOS too, but this is for the market to decide in the end. Whether you like Skritter's approach to learning characters or not, I think everyone can admit that their app is an ambitious effort. I haven't yet used the app, but it seems to be a good example of where a touchscreen makes possible designs impossible on a desktop computer, and it's certainly a fascinating step in a direction that looks very fruitful for language learning. I just wonder what services/apps might be available for learning languages a few years down the road :)

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roddy

Has anyone (and perhaps Skritter can chime in) tried using the iPhone app with one of they iPhone stylus things you can get? My one caveat with Skritter would be that the motor memory you get from skimming a pen over the wide expanses of a graphics tablet, or swiping your finger around your iPhone screen isn't going to transfer so well to filling in those tiny little boxes on bank forms, etc.

It's probably not a major concern - after all, most of us are learning to write for handwriting recognition on screens and tablets as much as for pen and paper, I suspect. But I think the closer you can get to a pen and paper experience the better?

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icebear
Has anyone (and perhaps Skritter can chime in) tried using the iPhone app with one of they iPhone stylus things you can get?

I exclusively use the iOS app, and almost exclusively with a stylus. It's a great experience and makes clearing reviews pretty damn fast and even fun - feels like a "game-ified" SRS.

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