Архив метки: Word Flow

Microsoft’s new expense tracker Spend hits the App Store

The team behind mileage-tracking app MileIQ, a company Microsoft acquired a few years ago, is out with a new application. This time, the focus isn’t on tracking miles, but rather expenses. The new app, simply called “Spend,” arrived on the App Store on Thursday, offering automatic expense tracking for work reimbursement purposes or for taxes.
Spend doesn’t appear to be a part of some grand Microsoft plan to take on expense tracking industry giants, like Expensify or SAP-owned Concur, for example. At least, not at this time.
Instead, the app is a Microsoft Garage project, the App Store clarifies.
Microsoft Garage is the company’s internal incubator when employees can test out new ideas to see if they resonate with consumers and business users.
Through the program, a number of interesting projects have gotten their start over the years, like the Cortana-based dictation tool, Dictate; mobile design creation app Sprightly; short-form email app Send; the Word Flow keyboard for smartphones; a Bing-backed alternative to Google News; and dozens more.
The new Spend app, at first glance, looks well-designed and easy to use.
Like most expense trackers, it offers features like the ability to take photos of receipts, expense categorization features, and reporting.

However, what makes Spend interesting is the app’s automated tracking and matching, and its user interface for working with your receipts.
The app begins by automatically tracking all your expenses from a linked credit card or bank account. You can then swipe on the expenses to mark them as personal or business. These expenses are automatically categorized, and you can add extra tags for added organization.
You can also add notes to purchases, split expenses, and customize expense categories, in addition to tags.

And the app can generate expense reports on a weekly, monthly or custom bases, which can be exported at spreadsheets or PDFs. There’s a web dashboard for when you’re using the app at your computer, but Spend doesn’t appear on the MileIQ main website at this time. It does, however, have a support site.
How well this all works, in practice, requires further testing.
MileIQ had been the top-grossing finance app in Apple’s App Store for the last 20 months at the time of its acquisition back in 2015. Microsoft had said then the team would work on other mobile productivity solutions going forward.
Since joining Microsoft, the team that created MileIQ has added capabilities to MileIQ, such as MileIQ for Teams, new intelligence features and a partnership with Xero. MileIQ is also now included with Microsoft 365 Business and Office 365 Business Premium plans
However, Spend is the first standalone app built by the team in that time.
The company says the new Spend app is an early version, and they plan to revise it going forward as they make improvements.
Microsoft responded to a request for comment, but didn’t provide any details about its eventual plans for Spend, like whether it will have business model or be included with Office subscriptions.
10/19/18: Updated after publication with information about Microsoft’s comments.

Microsoft’s new expense tracker Spend hits the App Store

Nextpeer’s Public Launch Brings Live Multi-Player Tournaments To Any Game


Today, the new multi-player gaming service Nextpeer is exiting its private beta period and is now available for all iOS developers to try. With the company’s software development kit (SDK), game developers can easily turn their single player games into social, real-time, multi-player tournaments where users compete against each other for top scores, achievements and virtual gold.

For those unfamiliar with Nextpeer, the service provides a way for mobile developers to upgrade their single player games to multi-player, just by dropping in the SDK . A Nextpeer-enabled game’s users can face off against in each other by competing for the best score during a timed tournament. During the tournament, gamers aren’t playing alongside each other in the sense that their characters are sharing screen time – they simply play the game as usual. Meanwhile, they’re also receiving updates as to their status versus the others in the tournament. (e.g. “Hurry up! You’re in 3rd place!”) This gives what had previously been a standalone game a sense of real-time action and excitement, and that can make the game more engaging and addictive.

Since its private beta launch in August, Nextpeer has signed up 250 developers and is now in the process of integrating its SDK into around 40 games. There are currently over half a dozen games available in the iTunes App Store featuring Nextpeer, including Chicken Rain, Word Flow, Slot Machine+, Hurry Honey!, Hold It Up, Pingo, and Castor Man, to name a few. The company says it’s on track to continue launching around 1 to 2 games per week going forward.

To date, Nextpeer users have played over 25,000 tournaments, says CEO Shai Magzimof. But what’s even better is the retention rate — 30% of the users go back to play again after 3 + days. And 10% of Nextpeer users take advantage of the in-game feature that allows them to discover and download additional games which offer Nextpeer tournaments. Users tend to average around 5 tournaments each, says Magzimof.

For now, there is no cost to integrate the Nextpeer SDK into a game, but Nextpeer does participate in revenue-sharing with those who allow users to place “bets” on games using the virtual gold. This split can vary depending on the game, but is around 50/50. Buying more coins via in-app purchases is not yet available, but is arriving soon. For now, there are other ways to earn currency (beyond the initial amount all players get), like daily bonuses, and, of course, winning. Also on the way is support for push notifications, which will allow users to invite friends to play with them in real-time. The Facebook integration will improved, too, so gamers can invite their Facebook friends to join them.

Below is a video showing the process of integrating Nextpeer into an app. From start to finish, it takes just 15 minutes:

Those interested in integrating Nextpeer into their own apps can grab the SDK from here.

Nextpeer’s Public Launch Brings Live Multi-Player Tournaments To Any Game