Sunday, December 13, 2009

300,000 iPhone apps by 2011

Went through some news feeds today and thought this is worthwhile noting...

[Source networkword]
iPhone developers have created more than 100,000 apps for smartphones and market research firm IDC says there will be 300,000 by 2011. Apple roared past the 2 billion app download mark in September.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

jTribe presents iPhone development tools at VITTA conference

This week we went to the VITTA conference to run a workshop with IT teachers as an introduction into iPhone development tools. The session was booked out and I was excited to see how big the interest in Phone development is in the IT teacher community.
I have added the presentation to slide share...
The success of the iPhone and iPod touch should be carried into the classroom to enrich student's learning experience with technology they accept and know well.
Young people already use devices like the iPhone to interact socially with their peers by sharing information. Sharing learning content through the same means is an oppurtunity not to be missed.
Students can now work on projects anywhere at anytime. The iPhone combines a great data gathering tool with social media aspects. Photos, videos and audio can now be gathered by students in collaborative project assignments and combined in an engaging manner.
I am excited to see that IT teachers are keen to use the iPhone in the classroom.

Friday, October 23, 2009

jTribe is Hiring

We are looking for an Account Manager to join our team.
If you are a self-driven person who is passionate about mobile applications for iPhone, Android and the Mobile Web then we should talk.
We offer a great work environment at our Openhub coworking space in the City of Melbourne, Australia. We believe that the mobile application development space will experience rapid growth. jTribe and the whole team is going to participate in that boom.
So, why don't you send us your details to patrick at jtribe dot com dot au.

Update of Pinpoint now in AppStore

A new update of Pinpoint Lite and Pinpoint Pro are now available at the iTunes AppStore.

These two simple utility apps have started as an experiment to show how free and paid app perform in the AppStore. The apps became more popular than we expected and that's why we push out some regular feature updates. Pinpoint Lite is currently ranked 36 in TOP FREE APPS under Navigation. The free version allows sending a location via email where the pro version (currently US $0.99) allows to copy past the location into any other iPhone app like SMS or a twitter client.

The two improvements are:
  1. Choose between Satellite view and Map view
  2. Send email straight from within the app
The app is simple but useful. Check it out at the Apple AppStore: Pinpoint Lite and Pinpoint Pro.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Apple rejections that wont improve the quality of iPhone apps in the AppStore

I think Apple does a great job reviewing iPhone apps for the AppStore BUT there are some inconsistencies that drive me mad.
How can it be that Apple approves an app and later when submitting an update (or even bugfix) they reject it for something that already existed in the app that was approved. This looks pretty inconsistent to me.
Pinpoint Lite and Pinpoint Pro are two apps we use to gage the "ease" of iPhone app submissions (or sometimes the pain related to iPhone submissions). These two apps are in the AppStore for month now and they have been approved without a problem.
12 days ago I submitted the Pinpoint apps with some new features.
  1. First, it took Apple 12 days to look at the update
  2. It was rejected for a reason that has nothing to do with the update.
The apps where always using the MapKit API and require Internet connection to function correctly. Actually, the apps are not checking whether Internet is available and they never have and Apple did not see that as a problem and accepted the apps several when first submitted. Now with the update Apple reviewers decided that it does not comply to the iPhone Human Interface Guidelines (HIG) and therefore thy rejected the update.
That's would have been great feedback when the first version was submitted. However, rejecting the update will not improve the user experience because the current app that is still available in the AppStore does not comply to the HIG either and people can still download the app. Even worst, if a developer has a bugfix that would actually improve some other aspect of the user experience it still could be rejected for the previously overlooked issue. Unfortunately, this inconsistent process does not improve the user experience at all. Buggy app versions stick around in the AppStore longer because any improvement that was rejected for the wrong reason will need to join the "review queue" again.
So why is Apple so inconsistent in their review process? Please leave a comment if you had similar experience.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Top 10 Grossing Android Apps

The Apple App store recently added a top grossing list to go alongside top free and top paid lists. This I'm sure is in response to the race to the bottom phenomonem. App developers attempt to have their app featured in the top paid and free lists as users browse these lists first when looking for apps to download. These lists are based on download numbers alone and therefore developers priced their app as low as possible to obtain high download counts. The top grossing list attempts to highlight apps that are still achieving high download numbers combined with a high price. I like to think of this list as demonstrating apps that deliver high value for their price.

The Android Market place has yet to introduce such a list but as it shows a download count range for each app we can put together our own approximation. The graph below shows (click on the graph to zoom in) the top 10 grossing apps in the US Android Market place based on estimated downloads and current price. The top app at just under $300,000 is the IM app Hello IM!, followed mostly by utility apps and a few games. If you find this kind of snippet analysis on the Android Market Place you should follow us on Twitter or drop into

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

iPhone dominates the smart phone market in front of Nokia

The latest AdMob report for August 2009 shows that the iPhone has overtaken Nokia in the smart phone race. This is surprising even for us who always thought that the iPhone will rock the Nokia foundation but we expected that this would happen not before 2010.

Here is a slideshare with our own predictions and trends around Mobile OS and Mobile Browsing Platform.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Android Market Monthly Revenue Revealed

The Apple App Store is worth $200M monthly says GigaOM compared with $5M in the Android Market Place. The guys over at Larva Labs estimate it's even less and we agree. We've now managed to calculate that number and it comes in a lot lower than expected.

We've been collecting data on the Android Market for the past 8 months and publishing it on We have been able to watch the Android Market grow to it's current size of just over 7000 apps and almost 3000 publishers, recording every movement made within the market.

The Android Market also gives an indication how many times an app has been downloaded, for example RetroDefense has been downloaded somewhere between 1,000 and 5,000 times. It is important to remember that Android users are able to try out an app for 24 to 48 hours without their credit card being charged. Therefore the actual sales an app is making is somewhat lower than the reported download count.

Considering all this, along with app price and days on sale within the market, we have been able to determine the monthly revenue from the (US only) Android Market to be closer to $1M USD.

Android has a long way to go to get anywhere near the size of Apple's App Store both in terms of revenue and size. Apple hit 65,000 apps in July compared to 7,000 apps in the Android Market Place today. We have plenty more data from which we plan on releasing regularly on this blog so make sure you grab our feed.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Android Market Stats App

We've be running the AndroidStats website for the past 8 months and have collected a large amount of historical data about Apps in the Android Market Place. We have seen the site become more and more popular over that time and have therefore decided to start taking it to the next level.

So yesterday we have released an Android App that allows you to do all the same functions from the website, directly on the phone. You can:

* Find Apps performing well in the Biggest Weekly Movers Top 20
* Find bargain Apps in Yesterday's Price Changes
* See Graphs of each App's history overall and within their category
* Go directly to download the App in the Android Market on the phone

Since we released the app it has been snapped up by a lot of Android users. This only spurs us on to add features. We have category browsing from the phone coming in the next couple of days. We also have some exciting features planned for the website so subscribe to the website and stay tuned!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Can a free version boost sales of a paid iPhone Applications in AppStore?

Many iPhone publishers found that a dual release of a free lite version and a paid pro version of an iPhone app pays off.

Our own experiment...
We wanted to see if the free/pro approach works and have released a location sharing utility called Pinpoint for the iPhone. The Pro version of Pinpoint was released 3 weeks ago with expected download figures. The app was prices at US$2.99 and had reached approximately 150 downloads in 3 weeks.
Our experiment was constructed to see whether a free Lite version of Pinpoint could increase the sales figure of the paid Pro version. We also wanted to see whether we could boost the downloads of the paid app to get it into one of the Apple top lists. So we lined up three things
1. new free lite version
2. drop the price one tier (from US$2.99 to US$1.99)
3. Show messages on our existing apps to our existing user base
As @quamen pointed out it would be not trivial to see the impact of the free app because we have changed 3 variables at the same time. So, to isolate the the impact of the free app we have experimented with prices drop (2) and promotion messages (3) before and know what the impact of each of those changes is. So we should be fine to filter out the impact of the free app release (1).
after 5 hours...
Pinpoint Lite was approved by Apple on the 11th of August and reached 100 downloads within the first 5 hours. For tracking and user notification about the newly released app we are using
after 12 hours...
Over the last 12 hrs people have downloaded Pinpoint Lite more than 300 times.
Downloads in Pinpoint Pro have more than doubled. Knowing the impact of the price drop and promotion messages we can say that the impact of the free app alone was approximately 100% increase in paid app downloads.
So far we can confirm the boost and the effectiveness of shoutmob user notifications.
after 2 days...
I did not expect that the Lite version would be so popular. It made it in less than two day in the AppStore to #30 in Australia under Free Navigation apps and #46 in the US. That's a nice side effect but was not goal of the experiment.
The Lite version was downloaded 630 times so far.
So, how is the Pro version going after 2 day?
The conversion rate is lower than we thought. We are converting less then 10
% of the Lite users to upgrade to the Pro version. The price drop should start wearing off by now and all the downloads from now onwards come from Lite to Pro upgraders.

For the Pro version we can see the same download figures as in the first 3 days in the AppStore. The graph shows the downloads in the last week for the paid app. The impact of the price -drop and Lite version release are quite obvious.
after 3 days...
The Lite version is still on the "new Releases" page in the AppStore. Downloads decreased slightly compared to yesterday. I would expect that once we get on page 2 that downloads will decrease by 50% - lets see.
Pinpoint Lite ranks #42 in US and #28 in Australian free navigation apps.
Pinpoint Lite was downloaded 1000 times within three days with approx 340 new users a day.
The Pro version is almost unchanged. Even the price-drop should have worn off by now we see similar download numbers as in the previous two days.

The paid app is still going OK and I suspect that most downloads come from people
upgrading from Lite to Pro. Here are some graphs based on
shoutmob realtime analytics.

The total usage per day which trends upwards.

after 4 days...
The Lite version is no longer on the "new Releases" page in the AppStore. As expected, the number of new has decreased.
Pinpoint Lite ranks #43 in US (-1) and #27 in Australian (+1) free navigation apps.
Pinpoint Lite was installed 1300 times within four days. With 280 new users on day 4 which is 80% compared to the day before .
The Pro version the same user rate as the day before.
From here it will be really hard to stay in the top 100 with the free version.
More downloads than installs
One interesting fact is that the Apple reports show higher numbers than shoutmob. Where Apple reports showed 480 downloads shoutmob showed 350 users. So some 130 users have downloaded the free app but never used it. While Apple's report shows download numbers shoutmob shows the number of app that have been used. So there seem to be people who download free apps but do not use it. Looking at my own app download behaviour I sometimes download in iTunes but may take another day before I synchronise with the iPhone. Maybe that is what other people do too.

after 5 days...
Pinpoint Lite ranks #44 in US (-1) and #32 in Australian (-5) free navigation apps.
Pinpoint Lite was installed approx 1500 times within five days. With 260 new users on day 5 which is 92% compared to the day before .
The Pro version has now increased the number of users by 33% compared to the previous day.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

New website released with focus on iPhone development

After a busy week in Sydney at the CEDIA Expo where we launch of our universal remote iPhone app we have finally found some time to revamp our website.

The new website focuses on our core services around iPhone and Android application development. The design is kept simple and clean and we hope that helps advertising jTribe's iPhone development skills and capabilities.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

iPhone Universal Remote app for HAL unveiled

Remote controlling everything in your house from your iPhone is the dream right? Well yesterday we unveiled an app that brings us a step closer to a universal remote for the iPhone. At the CEDIA expo in Sydney we unveiled an iPhone app that lets you control devices like Foxtel, DVD, TV and tuners throughout the house. It integrates with some new hardware (HAL) from OzHifi which handles the routing and amplification of audio and video.

The iPhone app starts up and shows a overview of all the rooms (or zones) configured in your house and lets you control basic functions such as power, volume and mute. Clicking the info button for each zone takes you to a remote control for the device that is currently playing in that room. The screenshot below shows a Foxtel remote being used but the user could also select another source such as a DVD player or tuner and a different remote would appear. You can also link zones together to have the same thing playing in multiple rooms (party!), again all controlled from the iPhone.

The hardware will start shipping late this year so look out for even more features from the iPhone app before then.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Pinpoint Pro for iPhone - an app that finds you and shares your location

Pinpoint Pro uses the new maps on iPhone OS 3.0 to pinpoint your location.

The key feature is that you can select your location interactively using the map. If you want to share your current location the automatic location service does a great job. However, if you are in an area without GPS (e.g. in your office) then the iPhone gives you only an approximate location. With Pinpoint Pro you can adjust the location interactively. Move the map so that the crosshairs pinpoint your desired location - done.
Share the locaiton and address via Email or paste it in any iPhone app e.g SMS or Twitter.

Positioning the map interactively is great if you like to send someone an address to meet at.

I spent much time figuring out the best possible way to email a map. Sharing via the email feature attaches an google map to the email so people can see straight in their email client where you are.

Sharing via SMS is almost as simple as the email feature. Unfortunately, the Apple SDK still does not allow to send SMS programatically. So the only choice I had was to copy the location and map link into the clipboard. Now, the address and map can be pasted in any other iPhone app.

I am using it since one week and may say that sending a location with Pinpint is so much easier than via the Apple map application. If you have tried to drop a pin using the map app you will know what I mean.

I am really proud of the way you can pick a location on the map. Actually, the whole map can be moved using touch gestures. The crosshairs give visual assistance in positioning the map accurately.

More details at

jTribe's secret iPhone app will be revealed mid July

Hey, how cool is it to have a secret iPhone project.

We developed an iPhone app for home entertainment automation. That's as much as we can say.

The app will be revealed on the 15th of July 2009 at the CEDIA Expo in Sydney. So more info about the app after the launch date.

Twitter friends on a map - there is an iPhone app for that

I released Mapee Lite. A free show case that demonstrates the map feature of the iPhone OS 3.0. Mapee Lite shows Twitter friends on an iPhone map. The lite version is limited to up to 10 friends on a map.

The experience was great: Flying pins & movable maps using the iPhone MapKit, Twitter API via JSON and Google Map API for Geo-Coding (yes, MapKit does only reverse geo-coding). The twitter profile most likely contains some text describing the location of the user. I need to ask Google what the geo-code for that location text would be (latitude/longitude) and then pin in on the map. I thought it would be simpler.

The pro version of Mapee will be coming out soon. It's basic idea is firstly to show your own tweeps and secondly to discover and follow other tweeps based on location.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Logitech Squeeze Remote for Android

Not a lot of people seem to know that Logitech support an awesome streaming audio server open source project called Squeeze Center. It nicely brings together audio from various sources and make it available to players on your local network. I've been especially liking the ease at which I can switch from my own media collection, to some streaming radio from anywhere on the globe, and then over to music from All from a piece of consumer hardware.

Since I always have my Android phone on me (and don't want to carry around a logitech remote), it seemed only natural to start working on a remote client for Android. Last week we released the finished product called Squeeze Remote for Android. Similar to the hardware remote, it will auto-discover all your Squeeze players and allow you to fully control them. You can select tracks from your music library or select a streaming radio source. Download it now from the Android market place.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Shoutmob goes ahead!

In March the management team at jTribe was away to plan our future activities. The session was pretty much 3 guys away and drinking wine in the country side.

One of the things we decided at jTribe was that we want to progress with shoutmob. Shoutmob is our offering for developers to support any mobile app with service-side building blocks and services like high-score persistence, push-messages to the app and app error submission back to the developer.

jTribe is currenly beta testing heavily and we use shoutmob in all our apps for iPhone and Android. I love it and cannot wait to open it up to the public soon.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Twitter Trends with Google Mashup

My RSS feeds are great but these days I get the latest information via twitter before I see it in my feeds reader. Twitter has released Twitter Top 10 Trends and I have to admit I spend much too much time browsing the current trends. I like to see and learn new stuff. But sometimes the hashtags in twitter just throw me or some topic that I do not know what it actually is.

Hey, how about using Google to find out about a particular trend.

That is the basic idea of Twit Trends. Twit Trends is a new iPhone utility app that mashes up Twitter's top 10 Trends with Google search. Now I can be wherever and quickly find out about latest trends and what their background is.

Twit Trends is US $0.99 and available on the AppStore.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Twitter Trends browser:Twit Tuner now on AppStore

Twit Tuner - a tiny utility app for the iPhone that opens the window into the Twitter Universe.

We have release a tiny app that allows to browse the latest top ten twitter trends. It's a little radio style utility app that lets you see the current twitter trends and "tune into" each trend. See what is happening "right now".

It's quite addictive to check out the latest trends. See the bizarre and dynamically changing trends.

The idea for the app came from my last blog entry "What's happening now and where - Twitter knows"

Twitter has now the critical mass to be a real trend barometer. Twitter propagates news faster than any news media.

Twit Tuner is not a twitter client like Tweety, TwitterFon or Twitteriffic. You can't add your account details. It's a tool for anyone and therefore no twitter account is required.

I use Twit Tuner just to have a quick peek into the Twitter'verse. It takes me 10 seconds to check out the trends. If I would also see all the new tweets from my friends then it would take me 5 min. So I though it would be a good idea to have a dedicated Twitter Trend app - and here it is. Get Twit Tuner for free here.

Friday, March 6, 2009

What is happening Now and Where? - Twitter knows

The last couple of weeks made me realise the journey twitter went through and the value it offers to us in times where information needs to travel fast. In times where we ask the questions "What is happening Now and Where?"

Twitter 1.0 - What are you doing

twitter as a platforms is very generic and it gets more and more shaped by the way people are using.

In the early days of twitter they had a huge problem explaining what it is. What are you doing? was a good attempt to explain it. 

Twitter 2.0 - What is happening now

With the introduction of the @user and #tag twitter made a huge leap. Re-tweeting (RT) and via are another etiquette that emerged in twitter. All these concepts were organically introduced by the users. Twitter just provides the platform and infrastructure and, above all, came up with the awesome concept of twitter.

Since the #bushfires in Australia I really did realise the power of twitter. One of the problems and one of the reasons so many people died was that information could not travel fast enough to the people in the effected areas. The official channels like radio, television did fail. The fire just travelled too fast. I live close to the area that was destroyed by the bushfires and we were very nervous looking for information about the situation. Unfortunately, I lost trust in the official channels very soon. No reliable info anywhere. Actually, the best quality information was provided by twitter. 

Last night we had an #earthquake in Melbourne, Australia. And I did not notice it myself because we just left a concert venue and walked on the streets. However, I checked my twitter account (while walking on the street on my iPhone - I know that's sick) and 4 seconds after it happened people twittered about it already. People 10,000 km away knew it seconds later (@scobleizer). It took the radio stations 15 - 20 minutes to send out the news. The government website that reports on earthquakes ( was down 2 minutes after the event (as @bootload said, it was slashdotted). So we cannot rely on governments (web) services to give us information. We start to rely on twitter. But how reliable is twitter infrastructure?

Hey, that is impressive. News travels so fast on twitter (seconds after the event happened). And the whole following approach ensures that in most cases "noteworthy" information is passed through twitter. 

As good as twitter is to propagate crucial news as unreliable it is. Search works very unreliably. The service must improve because twitter is now becoming an "essential service" a service we all will rely on to get information fast. Such a service must be reliable. It must be as realiable as service from Google or Amazon I dare to say it must be even more reliable than Google and Amazon. Because it can save lives. In the bushfire situation the fire travelled with up to 120 km/h - on twitter information can travel faster. I definitely used twitter during the bushfires to get high quality, up to date information. And users like @bushfires did an awesome job in consolidating the information (a service whipped up by @BeauGiles)

Twitter 2.1 - "What is happening now and Where"

Last week I did write an iPhone app that integrates Geo location with twitter and brighkite. But I think I need to go back to the drawing board. Twitter 2.0 - hmm. There must be a way to extend that with the help of geo-enabled mobile phones. A way to say

"What is happening Now and Where"

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Beta Testers Required for iPhone Geo App

We are currently developing a Geo app for the iPhone called GeoPeep. As part of the development process we would like to invite Beta users who are interested in Geo aware apps and live in US, Brazil, Germany or Australia.

GeoPeep is a personal location broadcaster for social mobile users.
It integrates with multiple social networks like Twitter and Brightkite. The location will be determined via the location services on the phone Cell tower, Skyhook or GPS.  We then turn the geo code into a human readable address which can be sent to various websites. Broadcasting a location via twitter and brightkite is not always what a user wants to do. Sometimes sending an Email or  Text/SMS with the location is more appropriate. Email will be included from day one. TXT/SMS capability will come later.

The long-term goal is to build a tool for sharing and updating  a location from anywhere to any social network or web site from the iPhone or an Android phone. 

A user should be able to quickly add context information around the location that is specific for the social network site (e.g. when the location is tweeted the user wants to add a note what they are doing at that location). 

We are currently focusing on usability tests to make it very easy and efficient for the user to update a location on the go. 

If you want to take part in the Beta for GeoPeep just leave a comment of email support [at]

Friday, February 13, 2009

Tools for iPhone Campaigns

This week I really, really appreciated some of the tools we developed in the last 2 month to support our iPhone apps. These server-side tools helped me so much with this week's mission:

This Week's Mission:
The bushfires in Victoria / Australia made me think what we could do to help. We decided to donated all money made with the sales of our iPhone apps to charity

This was a great non-commercial driver to convince people to buy our apps . I have to say I am much more motivated to use marketing tactics when it is for a good cause.

What I wanted 
We have in average 500 daily users using our paid app GeoUpdater for iPhone and 1000 daily users using our free app Firepin Trip Tracker. It would be great to tell all these users about our mission.

Here are some key functions I used for marketing of the iPhone app
  1. Sending push messages to users via our paid apps to let them know that they can donate money to the red cross in Australia.
  2. Sending messages to user via our free apps to ask them to buy our paid app.
  3. Tracking in realtime how many people have actually bought the app so I can donate every night the right amount.
  4. Tracking in realtime how many people are actually using the app.
How can I get what I want?
Unfortunately, Apple does not provide realtime download data or even usage analytics, not to mention push messages. The trend reports are 10 hrs delayed. Not very useful for a short-term campaign. 

Fortunately, jTribe did build a server-side infrastructure that we already use for all our iPhone and Android apps. These services can send information from the apps to a central server and vice versa. All these tools and services will soon be available to other iPhone, Android and S60 developers via ShoutMob 

So, how did the Campaign go?
Actually, the campaign is still going and it is going OK.  So far we raised around $400 in 4 days from one app.

The Tools I used
They key tool was our push message tool. 

The Firepin and GeoUpdater iPhone apps display a message to the users each time they are using the app. The message comes directly from our server and is displayed in a very subtle and non-intrusive manner. The push message mechanism gives us all analytical information about number of unique users and usage. This is similar to what the ad networks like admob are doing but with the difference that we are in complete control of what gets displayed to the users.

The push messages can be controlled from a web page and each app can have a different message. Actually, we can send different messages based on device type, app version or language. 

So I have configured a message for the Firepin app (our free GPS tracker) to tell users about our campaign and our other iPhone app (Latitude) that raises money for charity.

Then I configured a message for Latitude (paid app that raises money) to tell people that they can donate money at the red cross website

I can now check in realtime how the campaign is going. Let me do it right now... nice, just raised another $10 since I started writing this blog. 

Other Thing to consider in a Mini-Campaign
  1. I updated the text in the AppStore to let "new" buyers know that we will donate the money. 
  2. I updated the picture with a slogan that about our mission. Honestly, I think that did not attract more people. I even think it might have turned some people off. Not sure whether I would do that again. 
  3. I twittered and blogged about it
So, did it work?
Yes, yes, yes. We did make it to #4 of paid apps in the Navigation category in Australia and #16 in US. I cannot describe how happy I am to have the shoutmob tools available to use. Currently, the shoutmob tools are still in private beta (actually, we use it only internally at jTribe) but we work hard to make them available to the public soon.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Raising Money for Bushfire Victims with iPhone app

US iphone users please help us to raise money for the Australian bushfire victims. Go and download our iPhone app to raise $2000 by end of week. Get for $0.99 and we will donate the money straight to the Red Cross

Friday, February 6, 2009

Google Latitude and Geo Social Mobile App getting Traction

This week was really interesting for jTribe. The biggest impact on us was:

Google has released Latitude 
which lets you see your friends on a map

Google's Latitude shows your friends an a map and allows you to share your current location with friends. 

Not a completely new idea. There are many similar tools out there which want to achieve exactly that. In the US there is Loopt using basic mobile phones to determine a user's location and to share it. With the iPhone and Android device these apps popped up like mushrooms. jTribe alpha-tested a program on Android that allowed you to invite friends and show them on a map (pretty similar to Google Latitude). The app was based on some ideas wrote earlier about (becoming micro-social). We abandoned the app 2 month ago. The feedback from our Android users was not encouraging so we removed the app again. Maybe we should give the app another go now that Google is creating awareness. 

Thanks Google!
The Google Latitude announcement created some good hype around mobile Geo apps. We did notice a huge surge in the sales of our iPhone based applications. We moved from rank 200 into the top 20 paid apps category. Thanks Google! 

Growing Market for Mobile Geo Social Apps
I am very excited about what is coming next. Now that Google has created awareness for mobile geo social apps and people start to get more interested in those apps the market will grow. Analyst have predicted huge growth in this segment since years but I thinks it needed a leader like Google to kick-off that growth. (again, thanks Google!)

Thursday, February 5, 2009

ShoutMob Beta now open for iPhone and Android developers

We have been busy creating a new service for iPhone developers and Android developers. The Beta of ShoutMob has launched yesterday. iPhone and Android app developers can sign up now and receive a $20 early sign-up credit. The Beta is limited and will be closing as soon as we got enough beta developers - so be quick. 

We tried to think about a way to reward early adopters who sign up now. As a result developers signing up for ShoutMob Beta will receive two things:
1. $20 a credit so they can get started as soon as shoutmob goes public
2. $5 referral credit, so they get rewarded for spreading the word

We hope that early adopters will get enough credits to be able to use ShoutMob for free for a long, long time.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

AdMob for Android Quick start guide

While we wait for the Android Market to support paid apps, AdMob have come out with a product for Android that allows developers to get paid for putting ads in their apps. Below is a quick start guide for now to include AdMob ads into your app.

As suggested in the AdMob blog announcement sign up, fill in all the forms and finally download the SDK. 

Add the following permissions to your AndroidManifest.xml

<uses-permission android:name="android.permission.RECEIVE_SMS" />
<uses-permission android:name="android.permission.READ_PHONE_STATE" />
<uses-permission android:name="android.permission.ACCESS_COARSE_LOCATION" /> 

Add your publisher id (you can find this under Sites & Apps) inside the application tag of AndroidManifest.xml

<meta-data android:value="xxxxxxxxxxx" android:name="ADMOB_PUBLISHER_ID" />

Place the AdMob SDK jar file (currently admob-sdk-1.0-android.jar) into a lib folder in your project
Add the ad view to your layouts

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Released Zendesk Notifier on Android Market Place

jTribe has released an Android app for Zendesk.

The Zendesk notifier allows agents to quickly see how many tickets that have assigned, and how many new unassigned tickets exist in their help desk system. It also serves as a short cut for logging into your Help Desk 2.0 from the Android G1 phone.

It is pretty much the same as the iPhone Zendesk Notifier app and uses the same look and feel.

How to see what's popular on Android

We setup so we could see what cool new apps were popular in the Android Market. However the apps in the top 20 seemed to have cemented their place there and are hard to shift. What we really needed to see was which apps were moving up (and down) the rankings the fastest. 

So today I've pushed out several changes to that support this way of looking for popular apps and the results are looking good. The front page now contains the top 5 applications and top 5 games that are moving the fastest up the charts. We also show the top 5 apps and games that are dropping down the charts. The end result is a much better look at movement within the Android market place. 

We've made several other changes including displaying the app's description, category and movement (from last week and the previous day). The movements are updated daily, so come back and check often. 

Monday, January 12, 2009

See Android market movements online

The Android market place has been up until recently, a very closed place. Users (and developers) could only see the apps from the phone itself. Before the developer version of the phone was released, developers had no way of seeing the market place at all. We couldn't see if an app already existed or had the same name, then once released we couldn't see comments or test it directly. Having the developer phones has helped, but what we really needed was to be able to view the market place from a PC, online, from the web.  

Thankfully Jay from has made that possible by providing a website with all the applications, games, comments and ratings from the Android market place. 

We wanted to add to this and have launched a stats website - . This website tracks the rankings and movements of apps and games within the market place. Take a look and let us know what you think. We'll be making improvements over the next few weeks so come back and check often. 

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Why 99 cent iPhone apps wont work for you

You are an iPhone developer. You are a small software company. You are not a large company like Apple, Nitendo etc. Then this information is for you!

Why can large or popular labels charge 99 cent for iPhone apps?
Larger companies like Apple can afford to release 99 cent iPhone apps like a remote control for Keynote. Very cool app and probabely similar quality as iTunes Remote. Where iTunes Remote was free Apple now starts to charge for these kind of apps on the iPhone. I have no problem wtih that. They should charge for good software. But, hey, 99 cent. What is the thing to learn here? When you are big you can affort to sell your iPhone app for "just" 99 cent.

They know that they will get the volumes of users downloading the app and thus will be making enough money with a small price tag.

Why 99 cent iPhone apps wont work for you!
Seriously, you wont get the volumes of users like Apple, Tabulous, etc. Try it. I can tell you right now that it is a waste of time. It does not mean that your app is not as good the apps from the large lables. It just means that your app is one of 15,000 apps in the AppStore and not enough people will download the app to make it worthwhile. Unless you developed a blockbuster app such as iFart Mobile 99cent wont wont work for you!

What works for us
jTribe has released so far nine iPhone applications and we tried different prices to find out what the optimum price point is. Prices ranged from free to USD 3.99. We changed prices to see what happnes. We do not develop more "niche" apps and not the blockbuster apps.

Price that work for us is:
  • USD 2.99 for a utility application (such as our PinPointMe app)
  • USD 3.99 for more complex solutions (such as our "Coming Home Soon" app)
  • Free for a platform app that is used to build niche products. We offer FirePin Trip Tracker for free. Then we use the same platform to build more complex but niche solutions we will charge USD 3.99 - 5.99.
  • Would we use USD 9.99 as a price tag. Maybe. Currently, I cannot think of a complex enough application on the iPhone to justify this price.
These prices work us as "normal" iPhone developers that are not producing blockbuster apps. If you are similar then these prices should work for you too.