A Feather in His App: Journo Creates Bobo

ny_times--300x300If you’re a New York Times business columnist looking for a little extra income, it appears there’s an app for that.

Bob Tedeschi, the Times’ Gadgetwise columnist until last June, who covered the app world, went undercover in 2010 to develop an app – and helped create “Bobo Explores Light,” an award-winning best- selling iPad app, The Post has learned.

Tedeschi undertook the project using the pseudonym Craig Fusco so Apple wouldn’t give him any unwarranted favorable or unfavorable treatment. In a recent interview, he said he was moved from the tech beat after telling his editors of Bobo’s success.

“I was floored by how well it did,” Tedeschi told The Post. He said his contact at Apple was “speechless” when he broke the news he was behind “Bobo,” which copped a slew of Apple awards.

“Bobo,” created with two executives at Game Collage, has hit No. 1 in 12 countries in both the education and book categories.

Costing $4.99, “Bobo,” which launched Sept. 15, 2011, is currently the No. 72 top-grossing iPad app, according to AppData, and is the first children’s educational app to make the App Hall of Fame.

While even some developers have no idea how many downloads are needed to reach the top of Apple’s charts, the more popular free apps need at least 100,000, according to executives at Flurry, a mobile app measurement firm.

Ironically, Tedeschi’s app creation was first discussed with a Times editor as a possible story that would address how hard it was to make a living developing apps.

The story assignment was eventually dropped – but Tedeschi continued pursuing the idea.

“Bobo,” aimed at kids aged 8 to 12, is an interactive 21-chapter text that explains how light works through lasers and fireworks. Bobo is the robot guide.

Tedeschi said the Times’ ethics cops suggested he switch off the Gadgetwise beat because of his financial interest in the app.

He now writes “The Pragmatist” gardening column for the Times.

A 2.0 version of “Bobo” was released last June. A spokesman for Apple declined comment.

The New York Post

(c) 2013 The New York Post. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All rights Reserved.

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