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Paragon Software Group (www.penreader.com), a developer of multi-platform dictionary and reference applications for mobiles and computers, has identified the most important mobile reference applications trends for 2013 based on sales and customer feedback for 2012. The company says trends in mobile dictionary and reference apps include:
° In the mobile dictionary market, publishers are no longer competing with each other. Instead, everyone is competing against Google and other free translation sources.
° Users prefer customizable dictionary content based on their language level, skills and needs. The "My View" feature provided by most dictionary apps allows users to decide what type of information is shown on the screen. For example, users can select a particular pronunciation (eg, British or American), different grammar levels, etymology, synonyms and practically any other type of information offered, as well as turning sound on or off and varying the text size, background color and other user interface settings.
° The dictionary becomes a life-long investment for the user, with new content and feature updates delivered immediately to the device at no extra charge.
° Dictionary apps are becoming more complex and multifaceted, with a single app increasingly presenting the content of multiple print editions with a special emphasis on grammar. For example, the Le Robert Easy English app combines four titles: French-English dictionary, Grammar Guide, Communication Guide, Exercises. This type of integrated and very comprehensive content is not available from Google or other free sources.
° Multiplatform support is fundamental. If the user switches from one device to another, or uses several devices, they can have the same reference content available on all devices. In 2013, the company plans to grant free SlovoEd online dictionary content for desktop users who already own a mobile dictionary app.
° Users shopped more frequently from their mobile devices during 2012, and this trend will pick up next year. In particular, Paragon’s web-site www.slovoed.com got almost three times more Android visitors in 2012 than in 2011. The number of iPad visitors increased by 96%, while 25% fewer Windows users visited www.slovoed.com from their PCs during 2012.
° Translation and reference tools will become integral to reading foreign literature. With the increase of electronic publishing and e-books, dictionary content can be integrated directly into other apps through licensing or APIs. Paragon has joined the Open Dictionary API Alliance to offer its premium translation tools to other developers: http://dictionary-api.org
° Interest in dialects and less common languages will increase. Collaboration with regional publishers and individual authors will bring additional languages and tools to the mobile dictionary market.
° Interest in expert and specialized dictionary content is growing. Demand will increase for dictionaries tailored for specific jobs or occupations.
° The system of purchasing content without the opportunity for a ‘test drive’ (as seen with the iTunes App Store) will gradually be replaced by schemes that allow users to test all of the features and a subset of the content prior to purchase. Paragon has developed and launched a ‘shell’ app – a new way of offering dictionary content – at the App Store, and this will be followed during 2013 with launches at iTunes and other app stores. The completely free dictionary shell allows the user to preview features and sample content from any of more than 110 commercial dictionaries. The shell app can search for a dictionary to suit the user's language level, skills and needs. It will also allow the use of multiple dictionaries, permitting the user to switch easily from one to another and compare definitions.
° Business focus is shifting from pure development towards preparation, processing and adaptation of dictionary data. The developer is no longer a pure software developer but an expert in digital dictionary and grammar content in the electronic publishing business.