A few weeks ago I wrote an article describing my development efforts to date, which have mostly been on the PlayBook platform, with one foray into the phone world. My conclusions were that in some cases PlayBook apps compensate well, but that I mostly write apps for fun — and that my lone BlackBerry phone app compensated me extremely well.
How times change.
In that same article, I proposed four apps that I was considering writing, and asked you which app was most appealing. I’m glad the audience suggested implementing iTunes Sync, because it has made for a wild ride these last four days. The app went live on Friday November 25th. I was expecting a reception in line with my Picasa Sync effort, which brought in $20/day for the first two days and then went dormant when it fell off of the “Newest” section in App World. But on day one, over the course of about 12 hours, it brought in $157 dollars. Day two, $350, and it shot up to be the #2 app in the “Top Purchased” section.
After four days, total revenue is $970. For the ten hours it took to implement iTunes Sync that is compensation of $97/hour, and the app has only been available for four days.
A friend of mine commented, “What a trooper, still deving for the PlayBook” and later commented “Now imagine how much more lucrative if you dev on Android or iOS”. What people like this don’t realize is that a developer’s impact on a platform is also very related to competition. The iOS market, with something like 500,000 apps, often has 50 or more apps for any given idea. Take for example my Baby Names app, which has compensated me $90/hour on BlackBerry phones, whereas the iOS implementation has compensated me $1/hour. I think this makes a strong case for BlackBerry app development. It may not be obvious, but not all of the great opportunities in life are obvious.
Money aside, I am encouraged that with only 10 hours of development effort, I can make a significant contribution to the PlayBook community by delivering a piece of functionality that people have obviously been missing. Again I wonder whether there would be some means to better connect the needs of the PlayBook community with the creative efforts of developers. PlayBook owners lament that key software features are missing, and developers lament when they write an app that doesn’t end up connecting with people’s needs. If PlayBook owners had a means to have their voice heard, and developers had a means to receive that and act on it, the ecosystem might develop much more rapidly.
In that spirit, and because it worked so well last time, I will again propose four app ideas and allow you to choose your favorite idea. I will implement the winning idea and put it up for sale on App World:
- An app that syncs iTunes movies and video podcasts to your PlayBook wirelessly.
- An app that syncs music sitting in Artist/Album folder structures but which isn’t in iTunes. (Such as if you use Windows Media Player)
- An app to allows you to control AirPlay devices from your PlayBook.
- A photo sharing app whereby you select a photo or group of photos and can share it via Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Flickr, Picasa Web Albums, SmugMug, Email, or FTP location by checking boxes and then clicking “Share”.
- A smart slideshow app that goes and gets recent starred photos from Picasa, Facebook, Smug Mug, Flickr, etc, downloads them to your PlayBook, and shows those new photos more often than your old photos. Combined with the rapid charger stand (which I purchased) this turns the PlayBook into a beautiful (and smart) digital picture frame. We have a digital picture frame, but it is painful to keep it updated with recent photos.
- A smart and pretty alarm clock that ties in with your Google Calendar, weather reports, birthdays from Facebook, and uses the music you have on your PlayBook. The option to have it speak to you this information as your alarm with the rather impressive voices from http://www.expressivo.com/. Another nice use of the rapid charger stand.
Thanks everyone for your support, it makes it much more fun when there is a sense of community.