'Fetch,' 'NightSky' lead the best new iOS, Android apps of March 2013
To quote Frank Sinatra, "When I was 17, it was a very good year." It was nowhere near as good as the year 17-year-old Nick D'Aloisio is having, however: This week, the British whiz kid sold his mobile software startup Summly to Yahoo for somewhere between $20 million and $30 million--not a bad payday, especially compared to the $4 per hour I made working in a record store when I was D'Aloisio's age. (Come to think of it, maybe I didn't have such a good year after all.)
The free Summly app, launched for Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS late last year, leveraged an algorithm built with Natural Language Processing and Artificial Intelligence technologies to analyze text and automatically summarize relevant news stories based on topics, keywords and media sources selected by the user. Consumers read more than 90 million summaries in the months since Summly went live, but even so, Yahoo has already shut it down, choosing to integrate the underlying technology across its mobile products.
Summly isn't the first mobile app Yahoo has acquired since ex-Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) executive Marissa Mayer took over as CEO last year; just last week, Yahoo snapped up personalized mobile recommendation engine Jybe, which offered users tips on local events, restaurants and movies based on their personal interests as well as subjects trending within their social circle. But D'Aloisio's youth is generating headlines those other deals didn't: "Nick will be a great person to put in front of the media and consumers with Mayer to make Yahoo seem like it is a place that loves both entrepreneurs and mobile experiences, which in turn will presumably attract others like him," one insider told All Things D.
D'Aloisio's success also seems destined to convince even more would-be millionaires of all ages to pursue their own fortunes in mobile app development. It's not only entrepreneurs entering the segment, however--for example, one of my picks for the best new apps of March 2013 comes from a celebrated artist and graphic designer simply looking to stretch the interactive possibilities of the mobile medium. But no matter how many developers enter the mobile business, there's always room for more: If you can build a killer app, it doesn't matter if you're 17, 71 or anywhere in between.--Jason