It's no secret that your smartphone and/or tablet has become one of your children's most coveted play toys.
Calgary based Soma Creates takes it to the next level, and has been generating some good waves with their iPhone and iPad apps for children. They've created great apps for some licensed properties such as the perennial piggie favorite, Olivia with Olivia, Olivia the Great and Olivia Paints and the syrupy Strawberry Shortcake.
The comments about the apps from parents on iTunes resonate ... "I don't really like the app myself, but my daughter can't get enough!" ... which is the important thing, of course, and Soma Creates has done an excellent job of targeting their users.
I put it to the test. My own daughter is 12 years old, and a big Olivia fan, so I asked her to try "Olivia the Great" on an iPad and do a review ... this is what she had to say:
Recently, I tried the Olivia I-Pad created by Soma Creates. As a younger child, I read nearly every Olivia book written, so I was excited to try this app.
The beginning is quite nice with a red and gold curtain. Once the curtains open, an amazingly animated Olivia wearing a red magicians out fit starts talking to you, explaining how the game works, a cute and creative alternative to a boring text box at the bottom of a lot of games.
To start the game you click the 'magic trunk' and get to learn a new magic trick in 2 steps. The first step takes you somewhere in Olivia house to find a few items that will help you and Olivia perform the trick. Once you find all the items, Olivia teaches you how to move your fingers across the touch screen to do the trick and the animation is sparkly.
The more new tricks you learn and perform, the more fans you get. When you have completed enough tricks, your memory is tested as the fans ask for the trick more times. Sometimes I couldn't quite remember how to move my finger which resulted in me losing a few fans, which could be gained back after a few more successful tricks.
I found this game very cute and appealing. This old, favorite character plus modern animation makes a winning combo. It was easy to get started, but hard to put down.
Founder and CEO Josh Heidebrecht is part of Startup Calgary's "Founder Forum" and is active in the local high tech scene as his company is gaining traction. You can get hold of him on LinkedIn.
If you're headed on a long drive for summer vacation, all of these apps may just be the ticket to get another hour or two of peace in the backseat ... as long as you've got enough devices for all the kids!