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Archive for the ‘Mobile Learning’ Category

Zoodles is joining the HTC family

Tuesday, October 18th, 2011

We started Zoodles in late 2008 with the ambitious mission of improving the lives of children across the world.  Since our launch in early 2009, the feedback from parents, teachers, and children has been incredibly positive and over 2 million children across the world have used Zoodles to safely and independently play and learn on phones, computers and tablets.

zoodles-htcToday we are excited to announce that we will be joining HTC with the goal of bringing Zoodles to the billion+ children in the world who haven’t yet played and learned with our product.  Like Zoodles, HTC puts users at the center of everything they do, and we have a shared passion for creating a safe and educational environment for children across their products.

We know that parents have many different types of devices from many different manufacturers, and we want to make sure that all those devices continue to have Kid Mode.  Therefore, we will continue with our strategy of making Zoodles available across different devices (smartphones, tablets, computers) and different platforms (Android, iOS, Mac OS X, Windows, etc.).  Simply stated, Zoodles will continue to be available on both HTC devices and non-HTC devices.

Having said that, we’re really excited about the unique and deeply integrated experiences we can create for kids using HTC devices.  On the HTC Flyer, for instance, we’ve been able to combine the innovative HTC Scribe technology with our Art Studio feature!

We have a lot of work ahead of us and so we have a simple favor to ask of you… if you know any great engineers, designers, product managers or business development professionals please encourage them to contact us at careers@zoodles.com since we will be hiring aggressively in the coming months!

Finally, we would like to thank all our users, team members, advisors, and investors (especially Michael Dearing from Harrison Metal Capital) who have helped us get to this point.  You helped us put smiles on the faces of millions of children and we intend to make millions more smile over the years!

Best,

Mark Williamson & Rich Humphrey (co-founders of Zoodles)

Most Popular Android Apps for Kids

Wednesday, July 27th, 2011

A little over a month ago, we released an awesome new feature that lets parents add any of the apps on their phone to Kid Mode.  Before, your three year old had to leave Kid Mode to play their favorite matching app.  Now, you can simply add that matching app to Kid Mode and your child can play it, and everything else their little heart desires, all from one place!

In the days that have followed, we’ve collected some brand spanking new data on what the most popular Android apps for kids are!

Without further ado, here are the top 5 most-played apps inside of Kid Mode:

hi-512-3 Angry Birds -  This might not come as much of a surprise, but Angry Birds, Angry Birds Rio, Angry Birds Seasons, and every other addictive version of this app lead the pack in what’s being added and played inside Kid Mode.  If you’re one of the five people who haven’t done so already, give Angry Birds a whirl and start slinging some birds inside Kid Mode!

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Ant Smasher – Here’s an app you might not have expected… Introducing Ant Smasher, a game that is all about exactly what it sounds like…smashing ants.  If the concept strikes your fancy (or more likely, your child’s), make sure the mayhem of Ant Smasher goes on within the safety of our app.

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Kids Doodle - The third most played app in Kid Mode is Kids Doodle by Bejoy.  With Kids Doodle, even the youngest kids can have fun drawing!  As your child draws, the colors, textures and tools randomly change so their drawing is different every time.  If your child likes art and neon colors, hook them up with some Kids Doodle in Kid Mode!

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Kids Connect the Dots Lite - Published by educational app maker Intellijoy, Kids Connect the Dots is a simple game where young ones connect numbers and letters to make fun shapes and pictures come to life.  If you haven’t checked out Intellijoy’s apps already, definitely try Kids Connect the Dots Lite and include it in Kid Mode!

talking-tom-catTalking Tom Cat - Introducing Android’s favorite virtual pet, Talking Tom Cat!  Not much to say here except that kids love animals and boy, don’t we know it :-)  [Insert plug for the adorable puppy in our Zoodles computer app.]  If you’re interested in adopting a new messless pet, check out Talking Tom Cat and make your Kid Mode menagerie complete.

Kid Mode now with Art and Storybooks

Tuesday, April 5th, 2011

Today we’re excited to share that two of our most popular features — the Zoodles Art Studio and Zoodles Storybooks — are now available on phones!  Now all of our budding artists and eager readers can do more with their phones (oops, we mean your phones)  no matter where they are.  Whether they’re riding in the backseat, fidgeting at dinner, or lying out in the grass, Zoodles is there in full force with Art and Storybooks!

Since phones do have smaller screens, we’ve adapted both features to work a little differently than usual.  Let’s take a look.

Zoodles Art Studio

ArtTab

Here are some pictures of the experience on your phone.  The first thing you’ll notice is that there are now more “tabs” at the top of the screen, and the tabs don’t have labels anymore!  Your child can use these tabs to navigate to the different areas of our experience, just like with our computer and tablet apps.  They might need a little guidance at first, but let us know how it goes!

To get into the Art experience, all your child needs to do is tap on the Art tab at the top and then select the first thumbnail.

ArtStudio-Drawing

The Art Studio has changed a bit, but not by much.  There are fewer colors and we’ve removed the ability to toggle brush strokes, but it is all in the name of giving your child the most drawing space possible!

Every new drawing your child creates will automatically be saved to their Gallery and synced to your account.  All your child’s drawings — whether they’re done on the computer, tablet, or phone — are visible at http://www.zoodles.com/parent.   Be sure to star your favorites!

Zoodles Storybooks

Our Storybooks feature is just as exciting.  For the first time ever, we’ve made it incredibly easy for little ones to “bring their relatives along” on the next vacation or car ride.  Family will never be forgotten again!

All you need to do is have relatives record a reading for your child and the reading will appear in your child’s Books tab.  As usual, the recordings that your relatives make are shared across all our devices, so you and your child can watch them no matter you are.  Now Grandma can be a lifesaver without even being there!

BooksTabOur Books interface on the phone is very similar to what it looks like on other devices.  We give every child an example recording of Mark and his kids reading Goldilocks and the Three Bears, and the rest of the books available are displayed alongside it.

BookViewerOnce a reading has been recorded, your child can tap on its book cover to have the story read to them.  Again, with such limited screen space, you’ll notice that the illustrations are slightly smaller and that in lieu of text, we decided to include the relative’s video instead.

All in all, we couldn’t be more proud of our team’s efforts to bring these features down to phones and make the Zoodles experience better and better across all devices.

We’d love to hear your feedback, so please do leave us a comment or shoot us an email at feedback@zoodles.com!

Zoodles makes the Top 25 Android Apps for Moms list!

Thursday, March 10th, 2011

Babble's Top 25 Android App Badge

In an effort to kickstart this blog back to life, we thought we’d share some great news.  We’ve been recognized by Babble as one of the top 25 Android Apps for Moms!  Reaching over 6 million moms a month, Babble is a parenting site for “a new generation of parents.”  Their editorial crew sifted through tons of apps and highlighted our Kid Mode app as the #2 app for “Best Family Fun.”  Awesome!

kid-mode

Here’s what they said about us:

When that 10-minute restaurant wait turns into 20 and the coloring book that you brought along just isn’t up to the task, what’s a mom to do? Hand your kid your Android phone, of course. But before your toddler starts e-mailing your boss or updating your Facebook status, be sure to install the Kid Mode app that protects your phone by locking the Home button and then provides your kids (ages 2 through 8) with a selection of fun, educational games and videos geared specifically to each child’s age.  See the full article.

Check out the other winning apps at http://www.babble.com/products/mom-products/25-best-android-apps-for-moms/

Big thanks to Babble for highlighting our hard work and putting us in some great company!  To all of our Zoodles families, we just can’t say it enough.  Thank you for your ongoing support and encouragement – we would not be here without you!

Introducing a new mode for Android phones – Kid Mode

Wednesday, September 8th, 2010

Every smart phone today has an “Airplane Mode” which puts the phone in a state that is safe to use while flying on a plane.  Think about that, your phone has a simple mode that makes it safe to use on an airplane!  Why doesn’t your phone come with more “modes”?!?

Well today Zoodles is launching an entirely new mode for Android phones and we are calling it “Kid Mode”.  With our FREE Kid Mode app (available now in the Android Market) children 8 and under will have access to hundreds of age appropriate games and videos while parents will be able to relax knowing that their kids will no longer accidentally make calls, send emails or delete apps.  This is an app that the whole family will really love!

So here is how it works:
The Zoodles Kid Mode app is a really smart app that adapts to the child using it.  Games and videos are shown to a child based on their age and other optional information provided by parents (such as reading ability).  In addition to adjusting to the age and skills of the child, Kid Mode adjusts to the capabilities of the phone it is being run on.  For instance, on an Android device without Flash, the Zoodles app will detect the missing software and remove games from the system that require Flash.

Here is a sample 4 year old experience where Kid Mode is filled with letter recognition games, counting activities, and interactive storybooks:

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Here is a sample 7 year old experience where Kid Mode is filled with fun logic puzzles, language activities, and fraction games.

7yroldAndroid

Here is what a Flash game looks like in Kid Mode:

CaptainCarlos

Protecting your Android Phone:

The optional “Child Lock” feature of Kid Mode means you can hand your Android phone to your child without ever worrying about what they might accidentally do while on the phone (say good bye to random phone calls to the boss, erased emails and deleted apps).  To accomplish this we disable the built-in buttons on your phone, so your child can’t accidentally exit out while they’re playing.  While children can’t accidentally exit when our child lock is enabled parents will be able to exit easily by following on screen instructions that children can’t follow.

So head over to the Android Market on your phone and upgrade your phone with an entirely new mode – Kid Mode!

Finally, I want to say thanks to the team for working hard on this app and to all the kids who tested Kid Mode for us.

Best,

Mark Williamson
CEO & Co-founder of Zoodles
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