While Candy Crush may have come out on top in the race to the most downloads from Apple’s App Store in 2013, a language app called Duolingo has been voted as the iPhone App of the Year by Apple’s own staff.
Designed and launched by computer science teacher Luis von Ahn and his student Severin Hacker of Carnegie Mellon University, Duolingo is an app that works to teach its users any one of six languages, including English, Spanish, Italian, German, Portuguese, and French.
Von Ahn is best known for developing the popular CAPTCHA and reCAPTCHA software, tools that are used across the internet in order to increase website security and deter so-called “spam bots.”
Offering language lessons very similar to those found in the popular Rosetta Stone software for PC, Duolingo has one very attractive feature that helped it to achieve more than 10 million downloads in 2013: it’s absolutely free.
The app works with the iPhone’s media capabilities to create and deliver its lessons, relying on sound bites, video clips, and pictures to help foreign words stick in the minds of its students. By following its regimented programs and employing its interactive features while on the go, Duolingo promises to further language education now and into the future, especially in light of the fact that its creators have promised that this new distinction will not result in a change of its free availability.
Despite remaining free, Duolingo’s makers have said that they hope to increase the app’s offering up to 50 languages during the first half of 2014.
Other Apple honors to be revealed last week included their naming of the Disney Animated app as the iPad App of the Year. Giving its users access to a wide array of interactive multimedia opportunities related to Disney’s catalog of 53 animated films, the Disney Animated app was also a Mashie Award finalist for best branded app by Mashable. It sells for $8.99.