Laokang Tone Trainer 2.2 submitted for review

You should be able to download this version as a free update by March 14.

This is a major upgrade, much more than just bug fixes and cosmetic changes for iOS7. We have streamlined the interface, greatly improved the help and refined the scoring system

The most noticeable difference is colors (rather than black) for the four tones. High tone (1) is blue like the sky, rising tone (2) is green like grass, low tone (3) is brown like dirt, and falling tone (4) is red like a ripe apple.


I feel the app is finally “ready for prime time” and with the new price point (at $1.99 down from $3.99), I’m hopeful it will begin to gain some traction among students.



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Price Drop on Tone Trainer 2.1

What price do you put on being able to speak Chinese with excellent tones? Certainly, that’s worth more than $3.99. The reality of app store shopping, however, is that this price seems expensive.

Effective today the app is now $1.99. I trust that means fewer people will hesitate to put it to good use.


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To Conquer Characters, Rethink Radicals

This is the title of an article recently published on the blog.

The main point is: when it comes to learning characters, don’t overestimate “radicals”, don’t underestimate the other components (non-radicals).

You can read the full article here:

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Tone Test Upgrade Arrived in App Store Today

Tone Test 2.1 is available now. Still free, still no ads, the upgraded app has improved help, a revised scoring system and an updated iOS7 interface.

Read about it on iTunes at:

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Laokang Character Conqueror 1.0 in App Store Now

Visit iTunes Preview to get the details on the latest app from Laokang.

I look forward to getting feedback on how this app is working for you.

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Sneek Peek at Character Conquerer Screen Shots



This screen shot shows 20 components in the category “tools.” It includes man-made objects like tools, weapons and containers. Once you’ve learned these components, the app quizzes you to see if you can match them to their English meanings (by tapping on the yellow character keys). After that you are asked to match English to go with the components.


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Laokang Character Conquerer (Part 1) Coming Soon

I’m pleased to announce that within a few days we will be sending our latest app to Apple for review. I expect it to be available for download at $.99 in the app store by August 20, just in time for “back to school.”

This is our draft iTunes “description”:

Let “Character Conquerer” help you “crack the code” to mastering characters! Once you know the ancient meanings of 180 root words, you will acquire Chinese vocabulary quickly and remember it more clearly. You can do this without writing, counting strokes or learning stroke order. Prove your knowledge to yourself and your teacher with tests which utilize a specially designed keyboard. Get ahead of the curve, and wow your friends with your deep vocabulary.

What do I mean “Part 1″?

In order to serve students going back to school in August, we decided to publish the “Components” section of the app first, at the introductory price of $.99. The “Varieties” section of the app will be done in September and published as a free update. When you update the app, the “varieties” section will be unlocked. The “Characters” section of the app will be done in October, and will also be published as a free update. We expect to price the three part app at $3.99. But if you purchase at the introductory price, you don’t have to pay the difference.

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Nicole Qin Joins Laokang’s Team

Nicole has a masters degree in Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language, along with substantial classroom experience. She has joined the Laokang app development team as research assistant.

Welcome Nicole!




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#Pinyin Perfect

Check out Laokang’s latest blog post at ChinaSource here.

The post begins:

As a Chinese teacher, I feel like I am at war. The enemy is a voice in the back of my students’ minds repeating “you can’t do this.” If they quit, the battle is lost.

In this war, time is of the essence. I must help students achieve a steady string of quick, small victories until they prove to themselves “I can do this.”

Pinyin is an indispensable “weapon” for students of Chinese as a second language, who would otherwise have a terrible time reading, pronouncing, typing or looking up characters. …

Pinyin appears easy, but looks are deceiving. Have you noticed ye doesn’t rhyme with de, si doesn’t rhyme with di, nor does yan with dan? Then how can niu rhyme with you, shui with wei, and nuo with mo?


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Laokang Pinyin Trainer Now on Sale in the App Store

It’s out. Laokang Pinyin Trainer is on the app store and available for immediate download at $2.99.


This is called version 1.0, but it feels like 2.0. This is because the original design for the app was greatly improved after teaching at Wheaton College for one semester last all. I realized I needed to find a much simpler, more experienced based way, to let students absorb the quirks of pinyin.

It really is a must for all students of Chinese, except those who can already score over 85 on the free app: “Laokang Pinyin Test.”

You can read more details in the app descriptions and see more screenshots.

I am really looking forward to user feedback.


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