A New Focus on Ubiquity

March 31, 2010
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Schoeller Porter
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At Wolfram|Alpha, our mission is to make all the world’s systematic knowledge available, accessible, and computable.

The number-one priority of our new Managing Director, Barak Berkowitz, is to get Wolfram|Alpha in the hands of everyone. It’s all about ubiquity. This is an exciting time.

To date, we’ve focused on improving the Wolfram|Alpha experience, refining the processes we use to incorporate new information into the system, experimenting with Wolfram|Alpha on mobile devices, and solidifying programmatic access through the API.

As we approach the anniversary of the launch of Wolfram|Alpha, we’ll be moving into Wolfram|Alpha’s next phase, centered on growth—increasing the exposure and use of Wolfram|Alpha both by individuals seeking knowledge and by developers building computational knowledge into their applications in interesting ways. We want Wolfram|Alpha to become ubiquitous.

The first step in this process is to improve Wolfram|Alpha’s accessibility on smartphones and other mobile devices that are increasingly an integral part of one’s online experience. Today we’re launching the mobile Wolfram|Alpha website, http://m.wolframalpha.com. The new mobile website is a big step forward from the landing page it replaces, having been engineered from the ground up for the new generation of touch-screen smartphones while enabling access to Wolfram|Alpha from earlier handheld devices that have difficulty with the main website.

In addition to the mobile website, we’ve changed the price of the Wolfram|Alpha App for the iPhone and iPod touch to $1.99, down from $49.99.

Many, if not most, of our mobile customers tell us that the app is their preferred way of using Wolfram|Alpha. However, if you happen to be one of the few early adopters who aren’t happy with the app, you can request a refund.

Over the next few weeks and months, we will make a series of announcements that continue the push toward our ultimate goal—putting Wolfram|Alpha everywhere. As we enter the age of ubiquity for Wolfram|Alpha, we look forward to seeing and hearing how you make use of computational knowledge in your life.

94 Comments

Really great news!

The new mobile website is a big improvement for using Wolfram Alpha on my Android phone. I would like to buy an Android app for Wolfram Alpha, too.

I have one suggestion for the mobile site: Could you please add direct links to the Wolfram Alpha blog and community? I can’t access the normal WA website anymore from my mobile browser because the browser is automatically redirected to the mobile site. That’s good, but the mobile site lacks the direct links to your blog and to the community.

Posted by Guenther Dirks April 1, 2010 at 12:02 am Reply

Hi All,

It may take a few hours for the price to update on iTunes. Be sure to check again soon!

Thank you!

Posted by Wolfram|Alpha Team April 1, 2010 at 12:22 am Reply

    Finally! I and many others have complained that the previous pricing was completely out of line for the functionality of a simple mobile front end.

    Thank you for listening…this is now something I will buy and recommend.

    Posted by Thomas Affinito April 1, 2010 at 7:11 am Reply

Just purchased Alpha for the iPhone. Noticed that the name of the app under the icon is too long so that the “am” in Wolfram is replaced by dots. It looks inelegant. Perhaps you can shorten it to just “Wolfram” or use the Greek sign for Alpha.

Posted by J Yoon April 1, 2010 at 1:30 am Reply

I would love to see an Android app developed. Love the new mobile site.

Posted by Shellie Carter April 1, 2010 at 2:03 am Reply

I’ll place another vote in favor of an Android app…

Posted by Jon April 1, 2010 at 6:34 am Reply

good call on price drop, just bought the app

Posted by zj April 1, 2010 at 9:11 am Reply

Great decision! Just got it from iTunes. Keep up the great work!

Posted by Pat April 1, 2010 at 10:18 am Reply

I’m happy for the price cut – now I may actually purchase the app. I feel sorry for those who had to spend a full $50 on this though.

Posted by Jonas April 1, 2010 at 11:10 am Reply

    Thanks for your comment, Jonas! We appreciate all the support we’ve received from early app adopters who paid full price. As noted in this blog post, we’ve created an opportunity for early adopters to request a refund.

    Posted by The PR Team April 1, 2010 at 11:50 am Reply

Thanks all, I bought the app too. What next;-)

Posted by yuki April 1, 2010 at 11:20 am Reply

I also would really like an android app, and would happily have paid the original iphone $50 price to get it. Also, there is no fav icon on the mobile homepage. This would be great for bookmarking the app with an actual icon. I realize this may be on purpose to persuade people to buy the full app, but that kind of leave android users without a good option.

Posted by Eric April 1, 2010 at 11:37 am Reply

I would really like to see a Wolfram Alpha app for webOS (Palm Pre).

Posted by Tricia April 1, 2010 at 12:13 pm Reply

Another vote for Android app! Please! :)

Posted by Tauno April 1, 2010 at 1:20 pm Reply

If it is about ubiquity, then why not make the app free? Wouldn’t that be the best strategy to get out there?

Posted by Clint April 1, 2010 at 1:55 pm Reply

Please rename the app; Wolfr…Alpha looks horrible. As above, Wolfram would be much better if necessary.

Posted by Cameron W. April 1, 2010 at 4:45 pm Reply

Hefty price drop!

Can’t wait to see what WA has in store

Posted by Bob H. April 1, 2010 at 7:36 pm Reply

The focus should rather be on usability. My main complaints: (i) It’s really hard to figure out how to phrase questions so that you get the intended results, (ii) doing non-trivial computations is hard or impossible, which means that once an investigation starts being interesting you get stuck, which is frustrating, (iii) the way results are presented is a nightmare (e.g. no links in the results, for instance from a unit to it’s definition, or no way to customize plots for later use, etc.). I love the idea behind alpha (I even invested the ridiculous $50 for the iPhone app) but the execution of the UI is so poor that alpha is far from unleashing its full potential. Dear people at Wolfram, one gets the impression that you care a lot about algorithms and data but not at all about the user!

Posted by Titus April 2, 2010 at 6:53 am Reply

    Somebody on reddit pointed out: “Just click on any plot to see the language they’re using to form it, then copy and paste that into the input bar …” OK, that helps somewhat, but it also turns Alpha into a clumsy web interface for Mathematica and requires a hacker type of thinking. I’m not sure if that’s what alpha wants to be.

    Posted by Titus April 2, 2010 at 2:46 pm Reply

Love the new mobile site, but as said before you need to have the link back to the regular site at the bottom.

Posted by David April 2, 2010 at 11:17 am Reply

You should state if it’s a one time $1.99 charge on iTunes or not I’m sure some people shy away from immediate purchase because of that. Some would think it cost per answer like KGB.

Posted by Loom April 2, 2010 at 12:16 pm Reply

A great move by Wolfram|Alpha. I hesitated at the initial $49.99 price and almost bought at the Christmas price but couldn’t quite justify it at the time without a motivating need (and the WWW site was available anyway). Even as a (former) Mathematica user from the late 1980′s (I used to give summer courses in Mathematica in the 1990′s but I got priced out of the market; not good when the lecturer couldn’t afford the package he was demonstrating (it would be great if Mathematica was also aimed at ubiquity, economically speaking). I have a strong leaning towards a GPL or Open Source frame of mind when it comes to mathematical tools and algorithms. Humanity(& the companies concerned) benefit as a whole rather more if these tools are more accessible (at least for academic usage). Site licenses don’t follow mobile academics! Kind of miss Mathematica but generally I make do with GPL based tools.

Posted by Harold April 2, 2010 at 7:49 pm Reply

I’d love a blackberry app!

Posted by Eric April 4, 2010 at 10:32 am Reply

Just wanted to congratulate you on the new mobile web app. We at AppStoreHQ think it’s a great addition to your stable of products, and have added it to our mobile web app directory:

http://www.appstorehq.com/wolframalphafreemobileweb-html5web-192984/app

Posted by Ian Sefferman April 4, 2010 at 5:05 pm Reply

I would like to see an Android application developed as well.

Posted by Christian W. April 5, 2010 at 1:26 am Reply

Yet another vote here for Wolfram Alpha on Android. :)

Posted by John April 5, 2010 at 1:41 am Reply

Great decision. 50$ was way too much, but for 1.99$ I will definitely buy it!

Posted by Jens April 5, 2010 at 4:10 am Reply

I am glad that you finally saw the light. This being said, and I repeat what I said when the iphone alpha app was launched, I would be happy to pay 50$ for a Mathematica front-end app on Iphone, that would connect on a remote kernel executed on my computer (with SSH tunneling), and enable me to read, work on and save notebooks on the remote machine. I understand your need to charge for business, so it would be legitimate that such app could connect only to my specific license of the Kernel : I.e. there could be a link between the AppleId under which the iphone app is bought and the license number that would be kept in your servers and checked every time the iphone app starts . As such front-book application would only be used when there is an active access to the internet, such check would not be a constraint.
In the context of a possible apple tablet based on iphone OS, such FrontBook app would be a killer app for you customer base and bring MUCH MORE revenues than the alpha app. Think for instance how easy it would be to input data in the lab…You could also enable this frontbook application to connect to a mathematica kernel “on the cloud”, in the exchange of a monthly fee of course… Possibilities are endless !

Posted by charles monneron April 5, 2010 at 10:07 am Reply

Why can’t Wolfram Alpha now calculate:

Solve n=-10000+2000/(1.1)^1+2000/(1.1)^2+4000/(1.1)^3+4000/(1.1)^4)+5000/(1.1)^5

(which worked perfectly in 2009, and returned the correct answer of n = +2312.99)

Posted by Dan April 5, 2010 at 12:27 pm Reply

    Hi Dan,

    By removing the extra “)”:
    Solve n=-10000+2000/(1.1)^1+2000/(1.1)^2+4000/(1.1)^3+4000/(1.1)^4)+5000/(1.1)^5

    You’ll get the correct answer.

    Thanks!

    Posted by The PR Team April 5, 2010 at 12:56 pm Reply

When I revisited the Apps and saw the new price I thought I was dreaming, $50 to $1.99 now that’s aggressive, but I know it will be an amazingly popular app…I show it to everyone I come across. I would love to really learn it power….things to come! Thank YOU!

Posted by Marcia April 7, 2010 at 11:04 am Reply

How about a way of solving spherical trigonometry problems without conversion?

Posted by Walter April 7, 2010 at 8:57 pm Reply

I’d love a blackberry app, too!

Posted by partner April 13, 2010 at 7:29 am Reply

WA for the PalmPre please!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by xavier April 14, 2010 at 3:07 am Reply

Yet another vote for Android!
Support opensource ;)

Posted by Ph0X April 20, 2010 at 10:42 pm Reply

You see the trend here… please develop an *equally powerful* app for android!

Posted by Matej April 23, 2010 at 2:04 pm Reply

It’s rather sad that the first choice for mobile apps is a platform that is so horribly backward and anti-developer. Please make an android app; Apple is evil.

Posted by Greg April 27, 2010 at 4:39 pm Reply

ANDROID app would be awwesome

Posted by Nick April 28, 2010 at 1:23 am Reply

I’d just like to echo the calls for an Android app!

Posted by Brian April 28, 2010 at 7:57 am Reply

I’d just like to echo I’d just like to echo the calls for an Android app! ;)

Posted by Stefano April 30, 2010 at 3:22 am Reply

I would LOVE and Android version of this!

Posted by Mikey May 1, 2010 at 1:05 pm Reply

Another vote for an android app.

Wolfram team, the android community is growing rapidly, is already a decent size compared to the ipod on and in a small fraction of the time ipod’s been out. Please give us a decent android app!!

Posted by ME!! May 4, 2010 at 3:01 pm Reply

Another vote for an Android app here!!

Posted by Tom May 5, 2010 at 1:02 pm Reply

This is an incredible piece of software and technology. It is so subtle, and the search-box type user interface belies the complexity that is surely going on right underneath the surface. I would love to see an Android version of this software, and will happily pay almost any price to get it.

Posted by kyle May 5, 2010 at 1:54 pm Reply

I purchased a copy of your iPhone app for my girlfriend’s phone. Very useful. But, it still needs some polish. So, please take your time with the app for Android.

I’ll probably be the first ones to purchase a copy when you do launch the Android app.

Posted by John Sanner May 6, 2010 at 7:36 am Reply

Android app please

Posted by FuzzyBird May 6, 2010 at 3:20 pm Reply

Wolfram Alpha is beautiful. I would be over the moon to see it on Android.

Posted by Matt May 9, 2010 at 8:01 am Reply

Another vote for the Android app. Especially as market segment that would be interested in W. Alpha is also the market segment for the Android!

Posted by askme May 10, 2010 at 3:52 pm Reply

Please it’s time for an android version

Posted by spyzy May 15, 2010 at 8:24 pm Reply

An android app seems so much more fitting than does an i-Phone one.

Posted by ben May 19, 2010 at 2:37 pm Reply

another vote for an android app

Posted by nate May 23, 2010 at 7:09 am Reply

Another vote for an Android app! It is just as substantial a market.

Posted by Bob May 24, 2010 at 10:56 pm Reply

And another for (guess what)… Android!

Posted by Peter May 26, 2010 at 6:26 pm Reply

Android app please!

Posted by Norby May 28, 2010 at 11:12 pm Reply

Android app please!!

Posted by Peter June 4, 2010 at 10:12 am Reply

    Yes, i support that….
    there are millions of users of Android devices…we need an app for wolfram aplha!!!

    regards

    Posted by DADO July 27, 2010 at 7:00 pm Reply

    Yes, please make an Android App!

    Posted by JT September 23, 2010 at 6:54 pm Reply

    Hi Peter,

    Good news! The Wolfram|Alpha App for Android is now available. Visit the link below for more details. Thank you!
    http://products.wolframalpha.com/android/index.html

    Posted by The Wolfram|Alpha Team October 11, 2010 at 3:23 pm Reply

      My HTC Desire (Android 2.2) can read QR code but says that it can’t find WolframAlpha in the marker. What is the problem?

      Posted by Josip K November 14, 2010 at 3:20 pm Reply

I would really like to see a Wolfram|Alpha app for webOS (Palm). I love Wolfram|Alpha : )

Posted by Proximity June 6, 2010 at 1:34 pm Reply

Is there an android app in the works?

Posted by Romy June 7, 2010 at 7:56 am Reply

Ok, just bought it from the App Store. Let’s see!

Posted by Kereth Powell June 19, 2010 at 4:50 pm Reply

I agree, where is the Android App?

Posted by Jared July 11, 2010 at 2:14 pm Reply

i also need app for android..

Posted by greg July 13, 2010 at 7:58 am Reply

I, too, would like a native android app.

Posted by Aziz July 21, 2010 at 10:22 am Reply

Releasing an android app would be great!

Posted by ed July 21, 2010 at 11:25 am Reply

Me, too… (android)

Posted by Marvin July 24, 2010 at 1:44 pm Reply

Let me know when the android app is out and count me in!

Posted by Jason July 29, 2010 at 10:58 pm Reply

Count me in when an Android version is released as well. Hopefully this is being discussed at Wolfram :).

Posted by Jacob August 3, 2010 at 2:06 pm Reply

I’m also a huge proponent of a native android app. I love W|A, but I hate the closed and proprietary feel and philosophy of Apple.

Plus, I’d venture a guess that most of the clients more likely to use W|A on the go are going to be on an Android platform (especially considering how much of the market-share Android is taking on). You guys are all brilliant statisticians (and artists), you should be more than aware that you’d be leaving a huge percent of your users out in the cold without an Android app.

Pretty please? :)

Posted by Sam August 4, 2010 at 3:42 pm Reply

I too add to the collective voice of android users!

Posted by Chris Martin August 4, 2010 at 4:34 pm Reply

DROID

DROID

DROID

;-)

Posted by Rick Smith August 5, 2010 at 11:04 am Reply

Check the Android Market; there are some homebrew apps out there already that put a wrapper around the W|A mobile site. Not as good as a full app, but not bad. I’m using Wolfraroid with voice search :).

Posted by MikeO August 7, 2010 at 5:11 am Reply

¡Android app, please!

Posted by David August 17, 2010 at 10:51 am Reply

+1 for Wolfram alpha android app please!

Posted by sung August 19, 2010 at 11:58 pm Reply

+1 for a native Android app! Yes, there are a few W|A wrappers out there, but nothing would beat the speed of a native implementation.

Posted by Dan August 23, 2010 at 8:25 pm Reply

Big yes for an Android app from me!

Posted by neil September 6, 2010 at 8:31 am Reply

I think Android users are more potential wolfram alpha users than iphone user.

So please create an Android App.

Thx.

Posted by goo September 14, 2010 at 3:47 am Reply

I’d definitely pay more than $1.99 for a well-made native Android app. I’m guessing every student with an Android smartphone would as well, rather than carrying around a clunky $100+ TI calculator.

Posted by EG September 20, 2010 at 5:17 pm Reply

I would absolutely buy an Alpha/Mathematica application for my Evo. I’d pay at least $5 for it, too… I love using the site, but all I really need is a sweet keyboard that will work within the confines of the application. That alone would be worth the money, because this is an indispensable resource.

Listen to your customers, Wolfram! :D

Posted by alk September 23, 2010 at 2:34 pm Reply

Android Please . I found one for T-Mobile.
When will it be available in the Android Market !!..

Posted by Praveen September 24, 2010 at 8:25 am Reply

We’ve got good news for Android fans! We’re happy to share with you that the computational power of Wolfram|Alpha is coming to Android! Visit our latest post for all the details:
http://bit.ly/cTpYyM

Posted by The Wolfram|Alpha Team September 24, 2010 at 11:04 pm Reply

wolfram alpha on Motorola Backflip o.s. Android 1.5 (italian version)
I installed on my Motorola Backflip (Blur_version.1.2 Retail.en.it) Wolfram Alpha Android. When I run the application, the following message appears:”Wolfram Alpha Mobile is not loading correctly…..” and is unable to close the program correctly.

Posted by giacorri January 27, 2011 at 10:48 am Reply

I bought for my IPod apps Calculus and Multivariable Calculus,
And I find that your server is usually down!!!

What do you have to say about that?

I think you are doing fraud!

Posted by Albert Stern May 11, 2011 at 11:14 am Reply

    Hello Albert, Can you email our support team a few examples that did not produce a result? We are happy to look into this. Thank you.

    Posted by The Wolfram|Alpha Team May 11, 2011 at 1:56 pm Reply

webOS app!!!

Posted by anoj September 11, 2011 at 2:32 pm Reply

WebOS app please ^^! Tks

Posted by ocean December 7, 2011 at 3:10 pm Reply
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