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What SmartBrief learned while redeveloping its iPhone app

Brian Williammee, SmartBrief’s lead mobile software developer, also contributed to this blog post. Download the SmartBrief Apple iPhone application.

In late April, SmartBrief launched our first mobile application for Google Android phones. Longtime SmartBrief readers might have also remembered a period of time in 2009 when we boasted an iPhone app.

Where is that app today? We removed it after seeing low usage, poor ratings and slew of unsatisfied readers. We’re not afraid to say that the first iteration of our iPhone app was not the best because without that experience, we never would have learned what works — and what readers really wanted.

Our greatest failure was forgetting why people love SmartBrief. Business professionals rely on our newsletters because it’s the collection of need-to-know news in their industry. Our initial iPhone app took a completely different approach to aggregating content. We organized content by tags and gave everyone the same 50 most popular tags — no matter which newsletters they actually read.

The new app makes it easy to access your favorite SmartBrief e-newsletters via your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch and get your industry’s news all on one screen. With a swipe of a finger, you can scroll through the day’s stories, or select one to quickly access the full article from the original source. Share your favorite stories via Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or e-mail. You can even store summaries to read later, without the need for an active mobile connection.

Are you as excited as we are?

We worked hard to give readers what they love about SmartBrief right at their fingertips. Instead of spending effort on giving readers a completely different experience, we threw in extras specifically for users on the go and who might not always have an Internet connection.

It’s easy to get caught up in the wave of flashy trends in an effort to keep up with consumers. But when you forget your real audience — like we did two years ago — you also forget your purpose. When you lose your purpose, you have very little to stand on.

SmartBrief keeps you smart and saves you time. So we went back to the drawing board and came up with something that, at its core, keeps you up-to-date with the news you need when you want it. And now we’re standing pretty tall.

So what are you waiting for? Download the SmartBrief iPhone app.

Did you try out the SmartBrief iPhone app yet? Tell us what you think in the comments — we really do want to know!

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