Ooooh, shiny! The new C&EN Mobile iPhone/iPad app

...and the Android version is forthcoming very soon. Credit: C&EN Mobile (Click photo to go to page).

Hi. I'm back, briefly. A convergence of family and day job commitments have kept me away from you for the last week but I wanted to check in. Last night, I saw something on Twitter that C&EN has released their Apple iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad mobile app. You see, I tend to wind down my day reading on my iPhone in the dark to ease my way into somnolence - not just catching up on news and science but also reading some great non-fiction on The Atavist such as science writer David Dobbs' outstanding story, My Mother's Lover (backstory here). But the C&EN tweet led me to immediately load the new, free C&EN Mobile app on my gadget. Note: Although this post is appearing on a C&EN-hosted blog, the following is exclusively my own unsolicited commentary on the new C&EN app. You can learn more about the app at the C&EN Mobile site and in this lighthearted video led off with our fearless leader, C&EN Online Editor and fellow University of Florida grad, Rachel Pepling.

C&EN Mobile ad from ACS Pressroom on Vimeo.

You can go to this page to get more information. The highlights are that the app comes already loaded with the July 25 edition of C&EN with the option of free downloads of all from August. (I do admit to being a bit disappointed that they didn't give you the July 4 issue for free so you could have a good laugh a certain hapless natural products researcher, courtesy of C&EN Associate Editor, Dr. Lauren Wolf.) However, previous and future issues will be available for $2.99 each. Right now, the issues only go back to July 11 but I'm not sure what plans there are to offer archives. That would be great - there's an awesome back issue on the 100 most noteworthy pharmaceuticals that I love to go back to for lecture material. The other key features listed by the home office are:
  • Preview each weekly issue's table of contents
  • Store purchased/downloaded issues in the "My Library" feature and read them offline
  • Get instant updates from C&EN Online using the pull-down refresh feature on "Latest News," "CENtral Science," and "Jobs"
  • Read and comment directly on posts from the CENtral Science blog network
  • Share stories via email, Facebook, and Twitter
  • View an alternate landscape layout of the table of contents for the iPad
And guess which feature most excites me? Yes! You can read, comment on, and email/FB/Tweet posts from the CENtral Science blogs! The only cons or questions I have is whether one's ACS membership qualifies one for a certain number of issues at reduced or no cost. I wasn't able to find anywhere on the app to enter my ACS membership credentials but, then again, I was doing this right before going to sleep. But I wouldn't be surprised if members still had to pay for mobile issues. ACS membership is much lower ($146 including a weekly C&EN hardcopy) than for my other organizations like AACR where I pay $280/year and get a $75 journal allowance. The price seems like a pretty good deal for non-members when compared with individual journal article prices of $30 or $35. Plus, anyone can peruse the tables of contents to see whether they want to purchase the issue. The "Latest News" available on the website is always free, it seems. Update 18 August, 7:30 am: As indicated in the comments by Online Editor, Rachel Pepling, and in a post by C&EN Editor-in-Chief, Rudy Baum, the app will be modified to allow free access to ACS members. in Rudy's exact words:
By 2012, we will have a mechanism whereby ACS members can access each issue at no charge. You’ll be able to subscribe to a year’s worth of C&EN on your smartphone in addition to receiving the print or electronic editions as part of your ACS membership.
I understand that the development team has been working overtime to get this project done in time for the ACS Annual Meeting in Denver at the end of this month. So, kudos to all! Again, the C&EN Mobile app is free - you can download it here at iTunes or at your gadget's app store.

Author: David Kroll

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  1. Glad you’re enjoying the new app, David! As indicated on the iTunes description page and on, ACS members will have to pay per issue for the time-being (aside from the August issues, of course). We are working as fast as we can to enable members access to all of the issues in the app for no charge and expect to have that in place by early 2012. But the subscription mechanism can be a tricky thing to work out, which is why it’s taking a bit longer.

    The good news is that Latest News, CENtral Science posts, and the job postings are free all the time. And we now have a way for people who didn’t have access to the magazine content to read all of it, not just what’s free on the website.

  2. Thanks, Rachel, and congratulations!!!

    Yes, I saw that Rudy’s post crossed in the ether with mine yesterday (C&EN Editor-in-Chief, Rudy Baum). His specific words were:

    By 2012, we will have a mechanism whereby ACS members can access each issue at no charge. You’ll be able to subscribe to a year’s worth of C&EN on your smartphone in addition to receiving the print or electronic editions as part of your ACS membership.

    I’m really impressed by the magnitude of content you have available daily. Thanks much for the hard work by you, Tchad Blair, and all the other folks behind the scenes. By the way, who else is in that promo video?

  3. Now, David. That would be unveiling the shroud of mystery. Tchad and I were involved in the development of the app, but the others are *hardcore* C&EN readers, man. (Roll with it.)

    And an update: the Android version is now available in the Market.