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Democrats Release iPhone and iPad Apps

BY Nancy Scola | Thursday, June 24 2010

Now you never need be disconnected from the Democratic Party. The Democratic National Committee and Organizing for America launched today iPad and iPhone apps. The apps are, says the party, modeled off of the volunteer-built Obama '08 iPhone app in an demonstration of "taking a successful application and making it better." (The Apple app model, of course, gives Democrats the chance to keep making things better as elections roll along and technology develops. The Apple devices will offer users updates to these stand-along apps as they're produced by programmers and approved by Apple.)

If you're keeping track at home, the DNC is saying that these are "the first truly political iPad apps," making use of the newish device's unique blend of both mobility and mammoth screen. "The iPad app is stunning," brags a release from the party, "and allows users to have a rich experience watching videos, looking at pictures, engaging with our community, connecting with their Members of Congress and getting information on our VOTE 2010 GOTV efforts."

(The National Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee, you might remember, released in mid-May what then appeared to be the first political party iPhone app.)

What seems to be the most novel feature included in DNC/OFA iPhone/iPad release is "AirMail," what Democrats describe as, "an inbox for receiving...messages that will alert you to breaking news, events in their area, and ways to get involved. AirMail allows you to take action, view video, or RSVP for events within the messages themselves." That's intriguing, as it's the sort of two-way, collaborative functionality that, if Democratic activists actually take to it, could turn small groups or even individuals in the field into cells of Democratic action -- provided, of course, they have access to one or both the devices.

Beyond that, both the DNC and OFA apps have many of the core features you might expect: news feeds, an event finder, the ability to browse photos and videos, talking points, and information on calling Congress.

The DNC and OFA apps appear to be near clones of one another, and it's not exact clear why the party needs two apps, and which one they'd prefer people install. The DNC iPad/Phone app is available for free download here , and the OFA-flavored version is here.