Romney to announce VP pick via smart phone

smart phone app from Romney campaign

(CBS News) As the use of smart phones grows across the nation, both President Obama and Mitt Romney are seeking to leverage the technology with new campaign apps.

The Romney campaign on Tuesday launched a free app called "Mitt's VP," which will allow users to learn who Romney has chosen to serve as his running mate as soon as it's announced. "There's no telling when Mitt will choose his VP. But when he does, be the first to find out with Mitt's VP app," the campaign teased on its website.

The app, available on iPhone and Android platforms, will give users immediate notification and let them share the news on social media.

Now that his trip abroad has wrapped up, Romney is expected to announce his vice presidential pick soon. One of his potential choices, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, promoted the new app via Twitter, sending out the message, "Who will be @MittRomney VP? Download the app and you'll be the first to find out: #MittVP #MITT2012 #sayfie #tcot"

Mr. Obama similarly announced his vice presidential selection -- Joe Biden -- via text message in 2008, but the selection was leaked to the press hours earlier. The Romney campaign made its own mobile gaffe earlier this year, when it misspelled "America" in an earlier-released iPhone app.

Still, connecting with voters via mobile applications allows the campaigns to collect information about its supporters and connect with them through a device that's become indispensable to many. Nearly half of American adults now own a smart phone.

The Obama campaign's latest app is aimed at helping grassroots volunteers organize. Available on iPhones today and on the Android platform in the coming days, the app includes a number of tools: It will give guidance on how to register people to vote, provide localized information about the president's agenda, allow users to RSVP for campaign events, help volunteers in neighborhood canvassing, and help voters report problems at polling locations. The app also gives users direct links to donate to the campaign. The Federal Election Commission updated its rules to allow campaigns to collect donations via text message.

Obama campaign manager Stephanie Cutter said in a statement that the tool is designed "to help break down the distinction between online and offline organizing, giving every supporter the same opportunities to get involved that they would find in a field office."