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PCGS Mobile Apps: Innovations, Platforms & Future Plans
PCGS and Mobile Apps
Over the past five years, mobile apps have taken the world by storm, and at PCGS we have been very excited to contribute to the mobile revolution with our own set of apps. We've taken some of the most popular data and services from our websites and offered them in application form.
Here's a quick look at what we have available now:
Our newest app, the just-released CoinFacts app targets iPhones and iPod touches. This app features all of the data from the PCGS CoinFacts website, and it adds a barcode scanner that will pull up CoinFacts data for most graded U.S. coins using the iPhone's camera.
If you are already a CoinFacts member access is completely free – just login to the app with your existing subscription. Non-members can get an iPhone-only subscription right in the app for $2.99 per week.
Price: Free for existing subscribers, $2.99 per week for non-subscribers
Photograde was our first app, released originally on iPhone in 2009. We followed up with an iPad version in 2010 and were an iPad launch app.
Currently, Photograde is available for both Android and iOS and features 1,940 high-resolution coin images hand-selected to demonstrate each grade.
PCGS Photograde China
We recently released the first version of our Photograde app featuring Chinese coins. This app is also localized with both traditional and simplified Chinese (as well as English). It's also available on Android and iOS.
Last year, we launched an iPhone app featuring data from the melt-value site Coinflation.com. We followed that up earlier this year with an Android version.
This app features several coin melt-value calculators, and also scrap value calculators for silver and gold. You'll also find 24-hour gold and silver prices right on the home screen of the app.
A personal obsession of our founder David Hall, the PCGS Price Guide is updated daily and is one of the most popular areas of our websites.
The mobile version is currently available for iOS and features access to pricing for the ten most active grades for all U.S. coins. When you open the app, it pulls a copy of the current prices for all coins down to your phone, so you can use it at a coin show even if you don't have a connection.
You can find more details on all of our apps along with links to download them at www.pcgs.com/apps.
We have so much great data and information to share with collectors. Working on bringing that depth of information to a mobile phone screen is great because it forces us to focus on what is the most important. We've learned a number of things along the way, and we continue to learn and refine these offerings every day.
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Several innovations we created while working on mobile have found their way back to our websites. The most notable is the grid we use to present the value info on our CoinFacts pages and elsewhere on our sites. This feature started as a way to fit a lot of data into the small dimensions of a phone screen. After we built it for mobile, we realized it was also a better way of presenting that value and population info for our desktop sites.
The screen size was also a major challenge when working on the PCGS Price Guide app. I think the two-way scrolling grid that my colleague Albert Zhu created for that app is pretty slick.
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To keep those grids from getting too large, for the first version of this app we only included the "Most Active" grades from the PCGS Price guide, but for a future version we plan to include all grades. We're still designing how that will work, but it's possible that some of that work will make it back to the price guide website.
Supporting Different Platforms
It's always a tough decision to choose which platforms and technologies to support. We would love to support everyone's platform of choice, but with limited resources we focus on the platforms where we can reach the most users.
When we started developing our first app in 2009, Android was barely a blip yet, and iOS traffic was around 15x that from Android. At the time, Blackberry and Android were very similar in usage.
Over the intervening years, we've seen the popularity of Android steadily increase, and now Android traffic to our sites is up to about half of that from iOS. Because of that trend, we've now launched Android versions of our Photograde and Coinflation apps, and we are working on Android versions of our other apps as well. Once we get caught up with our Android releases, we'll work toward launching multiple platforms simultaneously for new apps and updates.
For folks who love other platforms like Windows Phone, keep evangelizing to your coin friends! If we see enough interest (and traffic) we'll test the waters on some other platforms in the future.
Currently on the iOS side, we're working on updates to improve the compatibility of all of our apps with Apple's new operating system version, iOS 7. Apple's release is the biggest user interface change since the initial release of the operating system.
On the Android front, we're working on a version of our price guide app, and we'll follow that up with a release of CoinFacts for Android.
Once we get those out, next on the app roadmap is a PCGS customer service app. Our plans for the first version of this app are to support cert verification and order status.
As you can imagine, there are a number of other apps we are considering that take advantage of the breadth of PCGS' services, information, and data to assist collectors and dealers in having the best available information, making great buying and selling decisions, and just generally having fun with coins and numismatics.
If there is a particular app or service you would really love to see, or if you have feedback on how we can improve our current apps and websites, please drop me a line at [email protected]