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Android apps

There is huge potential for cell phone and tablet apps that can serve minority language communities in the area of Scripture Engagement and Language development.  Some can be used as is, some will require contact with the developer and some will merely serve as examples of what is possible.

I now have the privilege of using a Scripture App Builder program developed by a colleague working in West Africa and will be building apps in lots of languages  (more on that soon). You can find an English Bible app built with the program at http://1000bibles.wordpress.com/2014/07/15/a-new-shareable-app-for-the-world-english-bible/ .

I’ve also been privileged to be involved in discussions about other apps in development. Organizations do not have to build (and maintain) everything themselves. There are a community of amateur programmers and big companies who can be worked with.

Back in 2013 I began to document just a few of the current android apps. The number of apps available on Google play rose from 850,000 when I first compiled this in April 2013 this, to over 1,300,000 by Aug 2014. The number of Bible and other Christian apps has also rocketed in that time.

All apps listed are available on Google play store unless otherwise indicated. Inclusion does not include endorsement of the app or the developer. Some will be following appropriate copyright restrictions others may be using content for which they do not have appropriate permissions.


What apps do you recommend? How should we catalogue and share such info?

Clues to phone use by language communities

The Facebook advertising system give a clue as to how many speakers of a particular language in a country are on facebook, it can also suggest how many of them use a smartphone. Now that’s useful for anyone wondering whether to develop an app for a particular language community. Not everyone with a smartphone will be on facebook but many expat workers will be surprised to find how large a proportion of the community is on the social network. We can’t tell exactly how many facebook users actually speak a language, we can tell how many ‘like’ the language.

Go to https://www.facebook.com/ads/create/   put in a website that you want to advertise (you can stop short of actually advertising it. From choose your audience first select a country (you can also select regions or towns), then type in the language name as an interest (eg “Welsh language” or “Welsh people”). This will tell you how many people have listed this as an interest. Further down is an option for selecting broad interests where you will find several categories for mobile users from which you can filter for smartphones and tablets or even by operating system and phone type).

The facebook interface is also available in about 100 languages including 18 known to have current Bible translation projects (not necessarily by SIL). See https://www.facebook.com/help/?faq=234620679915275#How-can-I-request-to-have-Facebook-translated-into-a-new-language?


App, e-pub, ppt, pdf, or something else?

This document focuses on apps but there are many other ways to share material on a smart phone. Sometimes simpler is better.



Apps worth exploring

NB some descriptions have been updated since originally listed in 2013

Name:                     Bible
Publisher:              Faith Comes By Hearing / Hosanna
Description:         Audio bible, text, Jesus film
Type:                       Bible app
Comments:           App allows for downloading of audio files one chapter at a time. Also possible to download audio scriptures from FaithcomesbyHearing without using the app

Name:                      Bible
URL:                         https://www.bible.com/mobile
Publisher:              YouVersion
Description:          Bibles and NT’s in over 700 languages, reading plans and groups.

Name:                       Bible Study
URL:                          https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=biblereader.olivetree
Publisher:               Olive Tree Bible+
Description:           Bibles plus commentaries
Comments:             Some free items but other content is charged for

Name:                      Laudate         *****
URL:                         https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.aycka.apps.MassReadings
Publisher:              Aycka Soft
Description:         “The most comprehensive Catholic App . Available in English, Español, Português, Française, Deutsch, Italiano, Bahasa, Polski, Slovenski, Hrvatski, Việt and Românesc. Daily Mass Readings, Order of Mass, Liturgy of Hours, New American Bible, Rosary and Latin Rosary, Chaplet of Divine Mercy (on Rosary screen), Seven Sorrows Rosary, Chaplet of St. Michael, Holy Wounds Chaplet, St Jude Chaplet, Franciscan Crown Rosary, Stations of the Cross, Saint of the Day, Catechism of Catholic Church, Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession), Daily Examination of Conscience, various prayers and prayers in Latin with English translation. Podcast for Rosary and Stations. Daily Meditations. Podcasts of Daily Readings with read-along text and meditations. Ability to bookmark prayers and create own categorized prayers. Export/Import for prayers. Edit prayers on your Mac or PC and Import into Laudate. Douay-Rheims Bible for offline use. Second Vatican documents, Code of Canon Law and papal encyclical letters.”
Type:                        Catholic prayers, liturgy
Customisable?:     12 Languages by 2013, I suspect the programmer would welcome more

Name:                       Gospel in Every Language
URL:                 https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=net.globalrecordings.fivefish
Publisher:                Global Recording Network
Description:            Listen to the Christian gospel spoken in virtually any language using The Gospel in Every Language App (5fish). Access Christian messages from the largest collection of languages in the world (over 5,000 languages and dialects). Download free content: Bible stories, basic Bible teaching, Scripture, Christian songs and testimonies. The recordings are useful for learning about the Christian faith and sharing lessons with others.

Bible stories have been selected from the Old and New Testaments. They include stories about significant events and people such as the creation of the world, Noah, Abraham, Moses, King David, the prophets and Jesus’ life, miracles and teaching.

The recordings have been produced by Global Recordings Network (GRN) and other Christian ministries.

Comments: Not quite every language yet and the 5000 refers to languages and dialects but an impressive collection from an organisation with a long history in audio scriptures.
Customisable?: I’ve met the developer and he’s open to feedback. Also raised the idea of using FCBH new software (or similar) to encourage people to offer fresh recordings.

Name:                      Childrens Bible
URL:                         https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.christianapps.childrensbible
Publisher:              Christian Apps
Description:          218 bible stories for kids, taken from the Old Testament and the New Testament.
Comments:            Text no pictures. Text is not directed at children and this could more easily be an ebook but perhaps more will find it as an app. Being able to easily access stories by title rather than chapter and verse may be helful for many new Bible readers.

Name:                        Mom and Dad’d Kids bible story
URL:                           https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=cc.mannam.bible.kids.en
Publisher:                Boanuge
Description:            Part of a large collection of different bible stories that parents are meant to record themselves reading for children to read along with. Text can also be customized.
Comments:             Graphics and versions might want to be improved but the concept is very good.
Customisable?:     I suspect the programmer would be interested in adding more languages in this format. Worth seeing if can customize further and include different picture sets? Potential for a whole range of shell books with potential for both text and audio.

Name:                        Simple Bible – Swahili
URL:                        https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=cc.mannam.gideon.bible.swahili.v1
Publisher:               Boanuge
Description:           Bible ereader plus prayers section
Comments:             Not as much investment as the major ebibles but worth looking at to see that it is possible to have alternatives that could be customized more easily.

Other useful Apps

Name:                     Dropbox
URL:                        https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.dropbox.android
Publisher:             Dropbox Inc
Comments:            use shared folders to easily distribute or work on files together. Eg latest draft of a product for field testing, presentations and training materials from a conference shared easily with all participants.

Name:                      QR Droid Private
URL:                         https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=la.droid.qr.priva
Publisher:               Droidla
Description:           QR (The square bar codes) reader and creator
Comments:             Also see http://qrdroid.com/ In places where these are becoming popular there is potential for using them to share scripture, links to websites or aps. Could potentially share scripture references or book marks that are opened in a bible app in own language.

Name:                     Kindle
URL:                        https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.amazon.kindle
Publisher:              Amazon Mobile LLC
Description:          Read kindle books on any smart phone or tablet.
Type:                        e-reader and shop
Comments:            Plenty of good, free resources in major languages. It is also relatively easy to publish any book to the Kindle store for others to access.

Name:                      ePub Reader for Android
URL:                         https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.graphilos.epub
Publisher:              Graphilos Studios
Description:          a lite reader for ePub format. It only takes 400KB in your phone, and can run smoothly on low-end Android phones. Claims low power consumption.
Comments:            Not tied to a single library so a community could create there own content, host it and use this (or other epub readers) to access it

Name:                      BiNu
URL:                         http://www.binu.com
Publisher:               BiNu
Description:          While available on android this is primarily a platform for running apps on feature phones includes Bible app (20 langs by 2013) and World Reader (stories are sortable by language or country)
Customisable?:      Should be possible to provide more translations for use in Bible app and submit books for Worldreader. Research how much it is being used in a country and community (start by asking nicely for any stats BiNu has)

The above list was complied in 2013. Here’s a list of 48 apps courtesy of: Disciplr for 2015 click through for details.





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