Is the future of mobile industry vague? Not at all! It’s likely to be the best future the whole mobile industry could ever count on – all due to an App phone. Being a new concept in 2007, it is now a great handheld device everybody is used to. Users expand their phone productivity and functionality by installing apps they need and customizing the device to their taste. Got phone, got apps – you’re good to go. Apple saved the industry from downfall by giving a hope for both customers and developers, who now fully focus their attention on iPhone development. The whole market at its current state, actually, was created and brought up by Apple. The new player turned into winner by broadening the choice for customers and giving opportunities for developers.
No matter where you go, you now have great openings in front of you. Some developers are seduced by Android because it’s open and they can literally do whatever they want. Besides, it’s free and highly customizable resulting from the first killer factor. And, of course, there’s an app store called Android Market. Operators love it as they can enhance its particular features they find important, e.g. messaging, internet services, UI improvements, etc. But what can happen if everybody wants to add something original and make the OS look different from the original Android based OS. It’s going to get fragmented and an app working perfectly on your device will not work the same way on your friend’s handset or won’t run at all. The apps would need to be tweaked according to device specs. Big challenges are inevitable. Let’s hope there’ll be a solution not involving patent infringements.
Android is going to be very popular as this platform is spinning up. Apple will be holding industry leadership for quite a long time but the market share is going to change. Everybody is waiting for iPhone OS 4.0 and discussing the new device – iPad, another prospective platform for developers. With full multitasking support and packed up in new hardware with tuned software on top, the next Apple mobile device will probably be a hit again. We’ll see it in the near future.
Inspired by Apple’s astonishing profits other phone makers decided to… Guess what? To come up with something unseen before? Nothing of the kind! Copying with pride was a new strategy elaborated by handset manufacturers. Before Apple, no one really believed in touch phone concepts. But after the apparent success of the iPhone they all went ‘we got touch screens, too!’ Moreover, they start launching their own App Stores ignoring the fact that they might not work for numerous phone models of a single manufacturer.
Anyways, Nokia is launching Ovi Store, Palm is also launching its store and a new phone Palm Pre. Predictably, they haven’t come even close to Apple’s results. iPhone-like devices are produced everywhere.
RIM is gathering pace as its products become more popular worldwide and these guys are working really hard on implementing its proper inventions in their handsets. For example, the SurePress feature, intended to provide users with the most familiar feel they had with their former, physical keyboard equipped devices. It actually gives you a sort of a feedback after touching the screen, which is very nice in terms of typing and tapping.
Even Google is taking the plunge and releases Android mobile OS along with its new phone – Nexus One. This is not just a hardware specific OS conceived for a proprietary device, this is an open platform offered by Google for phone manufacturers as a way to get a new refreshing experience, since they’ve been using same mobile software for a very long time. New products by HTC even feature multitouch (a bunch of the latest handsets use this technology), though there’s going to be patent infringement handlings since Apple sued HTC for stealing their IP.
What about Microsoft? It’s absolutely no doubt that it’s high time to get back to mobile business with fresh ideas. These guys have been working hard and came up with something really impressive – Windows Phone 7, a turning point in Windows Mobile history. Photocopiers? Not at this time! When developing its new product Microsoft focused on multitasking which is either blocked or only partially implemented on some devices due to battery life issues and performance lags. How is it going to work under the new OS? More questions than answers, actually. But one thing is clear – Microsoft is back in the game. Anyway, competition always does good and new ideas are always welcome.
Revealing a new product is an important step. The most difficult about it is to make it appealing to customers and software developers. The former will be lured by the attractive design and impressive functionality but you will definitely need something more convincing for the latter. Here you go: Software Development Kit for iPhone, which was intentionally designed for developers who glimpse great opportunities in the new device. What is it? SDK is a complete set of developer tools aimed at redefining the whole experience developers have had before. And this is not the whole story! Ok, the app is designed, debugged and ready for launch and therefore for sale. What’s then? Selling apps on mobile operators’ online stores? No way, you deserve a better place for your masterpiece! Welcome to the App Store – a dream come true for every developer wishing to be able to sell apps online and in one well organized place. App Store made it much easier for the end users, too. Just launch iTunes, go to the App Store and browse through multiple categories of apps. The same works for iPhone. Now users have literally every application available in their pocket!
The number of apps available for the iPhone skyrocketed within a few months after the introduction of the above mentioned innovations. Now the App Store counts more than 150,000 titles ready for download. And this number is growing. This is actually the best example of entrepreneurship in modern mobile history led by the supreme commander Steve Jobs. It’s no doubt that the recipe for success is making risky decisions and eventually turning them into great achievements. Prefer something more conservative? Then you’re off the track!
Back in 2007 the mobile industry was living through its hard times. Not only there was no push for innovation but companies themselves didn’t aspire for it. Industry evolution was about implementing minor design changes and slightly improving software. Every new line of cell phones turned out to be a redesigned old concept; the software remained untouched except for occasional introduction of new features. There were no changes in the UI and thus no changes in user experience. That was the moment when Apple introduced a totally new handset – iPhone.
A company that has always been setting computer and music industry trends decided to make another leap forward – seize the mobile industry market. Nobody really believed in Apple’s success because the market was already shared between such established manufacturers as Nokia, Samsung, LG etc. Steve Ballmer, by the way, was almost sure of a failure of Apple’s new undertaking. The new device unveiled by Apple had no physical keyboard, but was equipped with a giant screen capable of reacting to multi touch gestures. It was a new technology patented by Apple and no other touch screen phones featured it. What’s so good in it? Well, the most crucial thing is being able to control the whole handset with just your fingers. Funny enough, but with the introduction of the iPhone many mobile users realized that they are really sick of that crappy stylus.
In the next part I want to focus on other Apple inventions that followed the anticipated release of the iPhone.
Earlier today Apple activated a new product page layout which you can check on iTunes.
As you can see on the screenshot, the new pages look much nicer. Instead of being text-heavy Apple is focusing users attention on screenshots of an iPhone application as well as additional information such as reviews. Instead of just one app screenshot being shown, there are now 3.
iPhone developers should immediately adjust to this change. Now that the emphasis is clearly on the first few sentences of the description, developers should be more concise in describing their apps, since that’s all that shown by default. If you click the “…more” link, the area will expand to show all the text, but again, that’s not the default look anymore. Also make sure that first 3 screenshots should make user interested and understand the idea of the application.
I was always advocating the importance of an app icon – it visually represens the application and should be the first factor influencing users decision to click on the app title to learn more. With the latest change the icon became even more important factor since it’s bigger in display size now.
Today we received a vivid proof that applications we make are really popular with users. Some of the players cannot do with just a game on the screen, they want to have their own tangible option!
Mr. N (won`t give up the name for privacy reason) expressed willingness to order from us a certain quantity of Bubble Wrap from the like-named game developed for Nokia Ovi Store. Definitely it is far more exciting to pop bubbles at home, when there are a few hundreds metres of real bubble wrap at you disposal!
Mr N was quite serious about the matter and inquired the price, method of payment and time of delivery. He also specified the desired size, as only 150mtr x 1.5mtr wide or 100mtr x 0.5mtr wide wrap would answer his needs.
That made us mull over the question what we will do if users decide to order a beauty from iGirl or spilled in Drunk Sniper liquid?
Most of the first-time iPhone app developers believe they can release the app for free and profit from built-in ads. Here is our verdict: if you app is being downloaded less than 2000 times per day it’s not even worth spending time signing up for the ad network program and installing the code. You start earning $10 per day from ads if you have 2000+ daily downloads, or – if you already installed stats tracking software – 20.000+ daily impressions.
To figure out why start-up developers are so upbeat about their well-doing, you only have to take a look at the figures being mentioned by the main iPhone ad networks. A year ago, for example, Admob cited $30 CPM brand ads suggesting it being the minimum CPM. Likewise, Medialets were proudly introducing their Dockers ads which brought in around $20-30 CPM. And now with pretty tough competition on the advertising market Admob still talks about amazingly high average CPM figures ranging from $12 to $14.
Let’s turn to more realistic figures. The truth is that average ads networks presently pay about 50 cents CPM for the ads. It means that if a thousand of people have seen the ad it will bring you as much as $0.50. Where are those mythical $30 CPM ads that will make you rich? There’re but marketing ploys to attract app developers.
To get an unbiased view ask experienced developers who have been in business for a while. Bo Wang’s Galaxy Impact – a highly popular ad supported application with an army of more than 160,000 fans brought in $0.23 CMP profit. Other app developers cite $0.50-$2 CPM maximum. Average add supported app will scarcely make its developer stinking rich.
Actually, it’s not only about marketing tricks. The fill rate is another main contributor to the misleading statistics. Even if there’s that notorious $30 CPM ad, it’s not likely to be displayed on your app permanently. Quite the opposite, as remnant ad inventory will be shown most of the time.
Moreover, it’s no wonder that any ad network is interested in the great amount of app developers. Now you can understand why they pitch editors and journalists with success stories and real-life examples of developers becoming millionaires by means of high CPM ads. The info they mention in their interviews is mostly abnormal cases rather than regular stuff. Once again, pure marketing fluff.
I don’t intend to accuse ad networks of being deceitful or dishonest, no way. I just want to call all would-be app developers to be wise, empirical, and savvy. Always do your calculations basing on real figures and statistics. Lack of circumspection will leave you with nothing.
Now if you have solid downloads on the iPhone App and want to earn some launch money there we would recommend you sign up with www.adwhirl.com – this ad solution allows you to add the biggest ad networks on the fly and it displays the most high-paying ads automatically. What’s more important is that you can upload your own ads which might be very useful if you want to cross-promote your other apps.
If you are reading this you should know that Nokia opened their own App Store called OVI and is accepting developers to publish their applications. In this article we address typical situation when a customer has an idea of the Nokia applications and hires us as a development vendor. The customer will need to open a few accounts in order to sign and publish the application developed. Here is the instruction:
1. Open the developer account at OVI and get it approved. Enter banking information as well as other corporate info as prompted. Only companies will be accepted! In user management area create a ‘developer’ login and pass to developer.
3. Once the publisher ID is obtained you need to get certificate and the key out of it. Follow the instructions or ask the developers for help. We know that this procedure is hard for the first-time.
4. Register with SymbianSigned and purchase 1 Express Signed certificate by logging into the account there. Pass the account information to developer. This web site is used for signing applications by Symbian. Please note that Express Signed is the cheapest signing option, the most appropriate way is Certified Signed where a 3rd party test house is performing the testing of the applications for the fee ranging $350-550. Express Signed certificate is generated on the fly with Symbian checking selected applications on a later date. Should Express Signed certificate be revoked the company should sign the 2 following applications using Certified Signed option. *Disclaimer: as a developers we recommend the client to use Certified Signed option and get the app fully tested by a test house selected by Nokia (there are hundreds of supported devices with a variety of software and options). Should you want to save on those fees, we can use Express Signing option but do not guarantee 100% compliance with all the Nokia tests and thus Express Signing certificate note being revoked.
If you have apps developed for iPhone but think your chances are not high on the AppStore or the platform is not much suitable in itself (e.g. you want to create business-oriented applications) chances are you are considering developing / porting apps for BlackBerry. Want to get more insight on the platform? Here is an inspiring and very detailed read on the topic.
We are getting questions about types of content restricted for publishing at Nokia Ovi Store. The list compiled by Nokia is below:
Here are some examples of prohibited content:
* Content that is neither free or using Nokia’s billing platform
* Copyrighted material you are not authorized to use
* Pornography, nudity, or sexually explicit material
* Promotes graphic or gratuitous violence
* Ethnic propaganda or other offensive material which attacks or demeans a group or an individual
* Disparaging governments or politicians
* Media showing minors in an exploitative or abusive light
* Displays cruelty to animals
* Shows distressing content
* Encourages illegal, dangerous or harmful activities
* Files that contain viruses or harmful code
* Linking to websites that contain illegal or inappropriate material