WhiteHouse.gov Offers First iPhone App

Last week WhiteHouse.gov announced the new White House App.  This new App delivers dynamic content from WhiteHouse.gov on to your iPhone or iPod Touch. This device ushers in a new age of mobile Presidential access.

Image of White House iPhone App showing list of photos and video playerOne of the key features that caught my eye was the live video streaming aspect of the App.  You can use the app to watch the President’s public events at the White House, frequent web chats with Administration officials, and other events like key speeches and press briefings in real time asynchronously. The White House also promises to launch mobile.WhiteHouse.gov, a mobile-ready version of WhiteHouse.gov that is optimized for any internet-enabled mobile device, including many other phones very soon.

The White House’s Press release said; “Mobile internet access is an important way Americans are staying informed.  Mobile web usage grew over 100% in the last year in the United States and higher worldwide.  As part of President Obama’s commitment to an open and transparent government, the White House App makes getting all the latest news and media from the White House easier than ever.  And of course, we’ll continue to look for new and emerging technologies to engage the American people and make information about the President and his administration easily available.” This is a powerful statement that makes me, as a technology advocate and developer, feel America is, once again, back on track to becoming a high tech leader in the world eye.

The app was delivered just in time for the President’s State of the Union speech this week. President Obama has once again raised the bar of transparency for presidents in years to come. This administration has moved the White house closer to becoming its own media channel than any other. Once again, businesses and non-profit organizations alike should take note. The president can now control his message and give info directly to the tech saavy masses free from commercials which may detract from it’s validity, and free from the spin that network press commentators offer.  He is offering more than previous administrations that have simply channeled millions of Americans through TV and websites like WhiteHouse.gov/live. Now iPhone users on the go will be able to tune in through their phones. What is also important about this is it allows global iPhone users to have access to the White House messages free from localized propaganda. America unfiltered — is this true democratization of the web?

The implications for this selection of the technology are enormous.  Obama bypassed both Google and Microsoft in his selection of the iPhone platform as the first dedicated mobile app to be rolled out. I believe the White House has finally given an indirect endorsement of the Apple iPhone’s stable, secure and user friendly mobile platform. Although I would have loved an open source endorsement, a open source mobile platform does not exist with the widespread acceptance that the iPhone has. Hopefully the we will continue to see more apps and maybe eventually the President will get his own presidential iPhone.

Here’s what the app offers: The App lets users stay up to date with the White House Blog and the latest from the Briefing Room.  You can also browse behind-the-scenes photos and watch on-demand videos.  The app provides instant access to full videos from recent speeches, press briefings, and special events. The White House App is available for free download from the iTunes App Store

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