S. Mark Williams, founder and chief executive officer at Modality, is at it again with Apple.
Named one of 10 recipients of the “Apple Award for Innovation in Science” earlier this year, Williams and his company have now teamed with international publisher Wiley to take Frommer’s Travel Guides to Apple iPhone and iPod Touch devices.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Williams, who also is an adjunct professor at Duke University, and Modaility focus on applications for Apple mobile devices.
The 2008 Frommer’s guides for mobile use focus on New York, San Francisco, London and Paris. The guides can be downloaded at the new Apple “App Store” and at Apple’s iTunes Web site for $9.99.
More mobile guides are in the works and will be published later this year.
Like the internationally recognized Frommer’s print guides, the online versions include travel information, restaurant and hotel reviews and more.
The mobile versions, however, are truly interactive, with location-based services and interactive maps. All the applications are built around a touch-screen interface for quick access.
“The Frommer’s titles offer travelers the same high-quality, reliable information as the popular paperback guides, but in a completely new way," Williams said in a statement about his latest product.
"Most travelers are already carrying these personal media devices with them. The expanded functionality of the iPhone and iPod offers ease of use and unlimited information at consumers’ fingertips, greatly enhancing their overall travel experience."
Frommer’s publishes more than 300 guides each year and sells some 2.5 million of them, according to Wiley.
Working with Modality means Wiley can deliver guides to a new generation of mobile readers.
"There’s no doubt technology is changing the way we travel, and by partnering with Modality to bring Frommer’s to the iPhone, we are positioning our content to appeal to the most savvy pleasure and adventure seekers in the marketplace,” said Wiley’s Larry Olson, who is the firm’s marketing director.
Modailty has worked with several other publishers with its technology, which the company is seeking to patent. The “secret sauce” is also about making intricate content accessible and readable on small screens. Other partners include Houghton-Mifflin, Elsevier and Workman Publishing.
It was Williams’ work transforming brain-anatomy study guides for delivery over an iPod that won his Apple award.
Williams is an adjunct faculty member at Duke in neurobiology. A graduate of Davidson College, he holds a master’s in philosophy and a doctorate in neuroscience from Yale.
“My passion for science and teaching, my love of visual art and design, and the technology of the Apple iPod have come together to form the foundation of Modality,” Williams said when he won the Apple award. “The excitement of being at the forefront of digital learning is its own reward, and I’m confident that this recognition and support from Apple will allow us to continue to grow.”
The name of the company, Modality, is a term used to describe a path of communication between the human and the computer. Its technology is the foundation for its flagship product, Raybook, a tool that combines text, images and audio into portable learning and reference resources for the iPod.
So far, 60 different Raybook titles have been developed for the device, including Brain Quest, CliffsNotes, and Netter’ Anatomy Flash Cards for medical students.
Modaility, which launched in 2006, is not Williams’ first technology venture. He also founded Pyramis Studios, a biomedical media communications group where he authored and developed a popular suite of software applications for teaching the structure of the human brain.
He also has been actively involved in Web design and animation projects for several universities and pharmaceutical firms.