Wolfram/Alpha tries again

Wolfram Alpha is making a new start, with a new version of its mobile site designed from scratch for touch-screen smartphones, and a refund for customers of its iPhone app.

The new, free site fills a gap that’s been there since December, when the company shut the previous, iPhone-optimized version down, citing low traffic. Many people suspected the company was simply trying to steer users towards its just-slightly-expensive iPhone app instead.

But Wolfram/Alpha seems to have seen the error of its ways.

The new mobile site shows a number of improvements. Most notably, there’s support for a wider range of smartphones, some of which had problems with the main website, with access for 2G, 3G and 4G networks.

“As we approach the anniversary of the launch of Wolfram/Alpha, we’ll be moving into Wolfram/Alpha’s next phase, centered on growth —increasing the exposure and use of Wolfram/Alpha both by individuals seeking knowledge and by developers building computational knowledge into their applications in interesting ways. We want Wolfram/Alpha to become ubiquitous,” says the company’s Schoeller Porter.

The company has also drastically cut the price of the Wolfram/Alpha App for the iPhone and iPod touch to $1.99, down from the previous rather unfeasible $49.99.

It’s offering refunds to anyone that bought at the old price, here
– apparently 10,000 people did. It’s a particularly generous move on the company’s part, as it means Wolfram/Alpha is covering the cut Apple took on that price.

There are more announcements on the way, says the company. “Over the next few weeks and months, we will make a series of announcements that continue the push toward our ultimate goal — putting Wolfram/Alpha everywhere,” says Porter.