07/31/2012 08:52 am ET Updated Jul 31, 2012

Obama, Romney Campaigns Announce New Smartphone Apps

President Barack Obama and presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney launched new smartphone apps Tuesday, with the Democrats focused on using their app to increase voter turnout, and Republicans planning to use theirs to inform supporters about the forthcoming announcement of Romney's running mate.

"There's no telling when Mitt will choose his VP," says the Romney site where users can download the app. "But when he does, be the first to find out with Mitt's VP app. Share with friends and earn exclusive campaign gear."

"As soon as the Vice Presidential choice is announced, users will receive a push notification on their smart phone," the press release announcing the app said. "The new app will allow users to share the exciting news on their own social networks."

In 2008, then-candidate Obama announced Sen. Joseph Biden as his running mate via a text message sent to those who had signed up. Announcing a vice presidential pick via a smartphone app is the latest iteration, allowing the Romney campaign to gather even more data about potential supporters and build even more comprehensive lists than was possible by simply collecting cellphone numbers.

The Romney press release also quoted Beth Myers, the longtime Romney aide who is overseeing the vice presidential search process.

“The historic announcement is getting closer,” Myers said.

She also unveiled a new slogan that the campaign will use to describe Romney and his running mate when he or she is announced. "With this new app, users can be the first to know the second member of America’s Comeback Team," Myers said.

The Obama app continues the campaign's tradition of emphasizing grassroots engagement, rather than focusing on gimmicks and news buzz.

"This app isn’t about being flashy -- it’s about giving you the tools you need to make the biggest possible difference between now and Election Day," Teddy Goff, Obama's digital director, wrote in a blog post announcing the app.

Goff wrote that the app will make it easy to "find local volunteer events near you, get a list of voters to talk to in your neighborhood, and access all the information you need to spread the word."

The Obama campaign app includes the latest up-to-date information on state voting requirements, in light of new voter ID laws that are on the books -- or could be -- in several swing states.

The Huffington Post's Ethan Klapper will have a closer look at the two apps, and what they tell us about each campaign's use of technology and social media, later Tuesday morning.



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