Posts tagged "android"

Five Ways to Build Interest for Your App Through Sneak Peeks

One of the best ways to generate interest for an app before it’s launched is to release sneak peeks of what’s in progress. A sneak peek can include any aspect of the application. For example, it might be a a landing page that communicates the branding of the app, a crop or full screen of an element of the app, a short video preview, or even a feature list.

For the accomplished developer, the motivation behind sneak peeks may seem straightforward or intuitive but many devs don’t bother with them. As mentioned above, because of the anticipation and community support that a sneak peek creates, those that use them increase the probability of launching a successful application. Here are some tips and examples of how to do a successful sneak peek:

1) Build a Killer Splash Page

Something as simple as a splash page can be the earliest way to do a sneak peek. A splash page can showcase colors, branding, and the overall style of the app. An additional benefit of a splash page is that it can be used to gauge whether there is even any interest in the purpose or the functionality of the app before it is even built.

scrprtapp.png

Tapmates’ Screenport – http://screenportapp.com/

2) Share Images on Community-Driven Sites like Dribbble, Forrst, or Ember

The design community has really come alive on sites like Dribbble, Forrst, Ember, and comparable outlets. These sites are specifically built to share sneak peeks. Perhaps more importantly, however, is that they also represent free places to get extremely quality feedback from the best in the business. There’s no better way to generate interest in an app by having peers and potential customers actually influencing the final product.

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Oliver Reichenstein’s Dribbble icon shots for the upcoming Text Machine –

http://dribbble.com/players/iaInc

3) Create an Interesting Video Preview

It’s not necessary to be a professional videographer to develop a good video preview of an in progress app. In fact, simple is better. Showcase the key features of an app and include some upbeat background music or interesting narrative. Remember, what you want to highlight is the promise of the app. The actual app does not need to be completed at this point.

Preview of Prizmo for iPhone – http://www.creaceed.com/weblog/prizmo-previewmovie.html

4) Don’t Underestimate the Power of Text

Text alone may not provide a compelling sneak peek. But, when combined with a visual, it can be extremely powerful and should not be overlooked. Developers sometimes even post entire app descriptions, asking for feedback on them, before the apps are even submitted.

plaintxt.png

App Description Preview for PlainText –

http://blog.hogbaysoftware.com/post/910981376/plaintext-itunes-copy-text

5) Take Advantage of Your Networks

While some of these outlets are based around networks, don’t forget to share sneak peeks with existing social media outlets like Twitter, websites or blogs, or even e-mail newsletters. Take advantage of all networks available and target different types of audiences with these sneak peeks, to get broader perspectives and generate more interest.

If you found this information useful, then you’ll love my book App Savvy: Turning Ideas into iPhone and iPad Apps Customers Really Want (O’Reilly). Check out App Savvy or order it now on Amazon.com.

Android “Gingerbread” Release to Focus on User Experience

Part of the reason Android apps are not comparable to their iOS counterparts is that the interface and user experience is lacking. Functionally, I see many of them as the same — but visually Android apps are considerably behind and their usability leaves much to be desired.

Google is focusing the bulk of its efforts on the user experience for the upcoming Gingerbread release to counter this. And they want to get the Android experience closer to the iPhone.

TechCrunch

While it’s unclear if Gingerbread is going to change that for apps, Google is at least pursuing significant changes to the Android OS itself. Whether it’s Gingerbread or the release after that, hopefully much of this improved user experience will be made available to developers in the SDK.

Swype – Android’s Killer App

I’ve been testing Swype as my primary keyboard input for my Nexus One for the past week or so and it’s now open to all Android users. While I’ve pre-ordered the iPhone 4 and plan to move to it for my primary device (but will still use both), the app I’ll miss the most is Swype. In fact, I’d go so far as to state that Swype is Android’s killer app and I wouldn’t be surprised if Google eventually bought the company.

It’s a pretty simple concept. You start with your finger on the first letter of the word that you want to type, then you keep your finger on the screen while you trace letter to letter. Once you’re at the last letter, release your finger and your word will appear.

The Next Web

Swype is powerful because it’s natural. At lunch recently, I showed it two loyal iPhone customers. After trying it themselves and seeing them immediately “type” faster, they both said they’d consider moving to Android just because of Swype. Oh, and they also weren’t convinced of upgrading to iPhone 4 — but there’s no shortage of interest in it with 600,000 pre-orders on the first day.

The Magic Lottery (for Apps)

Here’s another way to think about it: delight the audience you already have, amaze the customers you can already reach, dazzle the small investors who already trust you enough to listen to you. Take the permission you have and work your way up. Leaps look good in the movies, but in fact, success is mostly about finding a path and walking it one step at a time.

This excerpt from Seth Godin’s Hope and the magic lottery reminded me of something I wrote in my upcoming book App Savvy:

Obviously, attention for your app is a good thing. In fact, your goal will be to see a flurry of excitement when your app is finally approved. The difference is that the core of the excitement for your app should always be generated by customers. Even if your app is reviewed by bloggers and more traditional media outlets, the buzz from those sites will eventually lessen and more likely become nonexistent. Customers that are excited, engaged, and passionate about your app — because of their influence in the development of it — will be the ones who continue to help promote you well after the media is done with their “scoop.”

Words Apple Won’t Hear (Right Now) – Code For Android First

Anyone who suggests that the “iPhone 4 is nice” but that developers should code for Android first is truly out of touch with the realities of developing for these platforms. Now, let me be clear, I’m rooting for Android because competition is what spurs innovation by giving consumers choice and keeping platform providers honest. I own a Nexus One (currently my primary device) and have developed profitable apps on the Android platform but thinking “Android first” right now is extremely idealistic. Especially with the announcement of the iPhone 4.

Pundits continue to see the flooding of Android devices into the market as the sign that Android has won…or at least as an indication that it will win in the app marketplace. I debunked this idea some time ago but it’s worth re-iterating one point in particular, especially now with Android’s growing influence: the best apps on Android devices are still Google’s apps. Android devices are not purchased because consumers want third-party developer apps. Instead, they want Google Voice integration, a native Gmail client, tethering, or to be on an “open” platform. Just ask Nokia (Symbian) if having a leading market position, with probably the largest diversity of devices, helped or hurt them with the Ovi Store.

Compare the best Android apps to just three apps that were announced yesterday for iPhone 4: Netflix, FarmVille, and Guitar Hero. Each of those are killer apps and they highlight Apple’s commitment to consumers and by winning them, they will let the developers follow the money trail. Yes, Apple focused on the form factor, display, camera, and iMovie…does that do anything for developers or early adopters? Possibly, depending on who you ask. More importantly, however, is that these new apps and features aggressively market to established audiences like Facebook-farming fanatics. They’ll also cause a consumer to think twice about purchasing a Flip and new smartphone or just buying an iPhone 4 that has HD recording and editing capabilities. Apple’s betting big on consumers and with their 150M credit cards on file through iTunes, they’re guessing that they won’t have any problems keeping those $1B checks to developers coming.

Let’s get into the details a bit more though…

Aside from my own experience, other developers report that they make significantly more on the Apple platform compared to Android. This thread last week got significant attention because the developer shared that the same app is making 3x more with Apple than with Android. With the latest numbers showing the worldwide operating system smartphone market share of Apple at 42% and Android at 25%, it’s a small indication of the disparity between the two platforms.

If you spend any amount of time in the Android Market, you’ll quickly realize that the best third-party apps are not paid but ad supported. It’s the Google model and it seems that for the time being Google is willing to subsidize these apps, offering outrageous CPM’s, until they get the distribution they want. Android developers are also generally happy with this approach (and these CPM’s) because fragmentation is not a made up issue. Not offering a paid app means they don’t have to care as much about the deafening number of customer complaints about device / OS compability. Most Android Market reviews are not actual reviews but instead are rants about an app not working properly because of the device / OS combination. Apple’s approach generally has this area under control but that’s even more true because they keep retiring older devices (bye, bye iPhone 3G).

These facts do not negate that Android is an up and coming player. But guess what, so is the iPad and now, iPhone 4. In fact, I recently re-launched one of my most popular iPhone apps as a Universal app onto the iPad and saw sales improve 3-4x immediately. They’ve stabilized at around 2.5-3x with a general upward trend. In particular, I’m still seeing huge opportunity on the iPad and I’m doubling down there and am urging developers and others I talk with to do the same. Idealists and technologists can embrace tethering and Wi-Fi hotspot support and complain about AT&T. But I’m going to hang out with the consumers who are going to line up to purchase the iPhone 4 on June 24th. And then, I’m going to build them some more apps to buy.