Ask Santa: There’s a Website and App for It!

December 12, 2014

in App Reviews

  • SumoMe

At this time of year, a young kid’s mind turns toward what to ask Santa to bring at Christmas.

(Aurélien Selle Flickr Photo)

(Aurélien Selle Flickr Photo)

When I was a lad, there are two ways to put a bug in Santa’s ear about what you wanted to find under the tree on Christmas morning: Sit on his lap at a local department store during the days leading up to Christmas, or send a letter to him at the North Pole.

In today’s high-tech world, getting the word to Santa is even easier.

While doing a Google search for “Santa Apps” I stumbled across both a Website and an App for communicating with good old Santa: Portable North Pole.

Both let you create and watch a “personalized” video message from Santa Claus.

Here’s a Santa video that I made using the free “Classic video” option on PNP Website:

PNP provides a template for producing the video. You (the parent or other adult) fill in the following information about the child:

  • First name
  • Whether the child is a boy or girl
  • Child’s photo
  • Date of birth or age (under a year up to 100)
  • Country/state of residence
  • Your relationship (familial or otherwise)
  • Whether the child has been “Nice,” “Almost Nice,” or “Naughty” ( I “Naughty” and lied about my age)
  • Something about the child’s “Daily Life” (I chose “clever child”)
  • The “effort” the child has been asked of the child (e.g., pick up and put away toys)
  • Category for a gift the child wants (I chose “Bicycle”)
  • A photo of the gift (if available)

PNP then prepares the video message. (Getting a phone call from Santa is another option.)

The “Classic video” can be viewed on on computers, but not mobile devices, unless you pay for that function.

There’s a Portable North Pole app for both Apple and Android mobile devices.

PNP Screenshot

The app is free, but like the “Classic video” option on the PNP Website, you won’t be able to sync and view PNP videos on mobile devices without paying $1.99 to synch and save each one.

And as far as I can tell, you have to pay  that additional costs for each video message from Santa that you create unless you opt for the $3.99 “Premium” message or pony up $9.99 “Unlimited” service which lets you create as many videos and phone calls from Santa as you wish.

I found it easier to use the Website rather than the iPhone/iPad app for creating a video message from Santa. The app gave me a choice of “Basic” or “Premium”  video messages, but unlike the Website, but not the “Classic video” option that lets you to specify the type of gift the child wants.

But having the app on a mobile device makes it easy to play the videos back without having to use a computer. With an iPhone or iPad, make sure that the “Rotation Lock” is turned off so you can hold the device in “landscape” (horizontal) orientation so the video plays full-screen.

If you save a PNP message from Santa video to your mobile device’s photo library, you should be able to upload it from there to Facebook or YouTube.  I paid to sync and save my Santa video message to my iPhone. When I uploaded it from my phone to YouTube via my cellular carrier’s data network, it was only available for playback at a low quality setting. But after I unloaded it again over a Wi-Fi network I could play it back in 1080p high definition.

Signing into your account on the PNP Website lets you watch the video messages you’ve created, and edit and share them (to Facebook or via e-mail). But at least with the “Basic” and “Classic” videos, you’ll have to pay $1.99-$2.99 to save them to your computer’s hard drive.

What impressed me most about Portable North Pole was how believable the personalized video messages are.

Who sez there ain’t no Santa Claus?

Not me.

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