Wednesday, January 27, 2010

iPad Remote Control for HAL is coming

Now that the the iPad is unveiled there will be a new gold rush in App Development. One area that will be dominated by the iPad will be home entertainment.

One remote to rule them all

jTribe has worked with a home entertainment company to develop a remote control. We are happy to see that the HAL remote will also work in the iPad.

The illustration above shows how HAL remote will look like on an iPad.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Mobile ads or in-app purchase - what works best?

Google and Apple sharing the Mobile Ad Cake

Online advertisement is a model that works so well for the web and is the main cash cow for Google there is no doubt that ads based apps will be a logical extension for the mobile world where freeconomy works just so well.

Google acquired admob which is the biggest mobile advertisement network and Apple acquired Quattro Wireless. Both giants paid a substantial amount for the ad companies. Google acquired admob for $750 million. Rumours say that Apple acquired Quattro Wireless for $275 million.
The recent acquisition of Quattro Wireless did shake up the new world where phones become computers and new tablet devices will even increase the need for apps and ads. What Google and Yahoo where on the web is not Google and Apple on the mobile platforms.

A Business Model based on Mobile Advertisement

It's no news that free apps are much more popular than paid apps. Since Apple has recently fixed their in-app purchase model and extended it to free apps many iPhone developers are upselling additional features, content or subscriptions. Other free apps utilise ad networks like admob to make money with ads in their iPhone apps.

It seems like users are not too fuzzed about ads as long as an application stay free and offers a real value. One good example is "Urban Spoon". The iPhone app is free. I get good value out of the app because it has a large user community providing valuable restaurant reviews. The Google ads don't really bother me much because they value I get outweighs the ad annoyance.

So the three key ingredients for a popular iPhone app seem to be:
  1. The app has to be free
  2. The app has to provide value
  3. The app has a loyal user base
Free and value makes the app user-base grow. More users may create more value for crowd-source or social apps. More value for the user keeps them loyal. A loyal and large user base may generate great ad revenue.

Great apps development is expensive

With smart phones taking over the world and thousands of applications to choose from the world of mobile advertisement has changed. Mobile ads are now everywhere because they are a great model to recoup app development costs and create a large user base at the same time.

Developing a great iPhone app will set you back between $60,000 and $200,000. That is a lot of money for a small developer. Assuming that there is no VC funding involved the only way to recover the costs and keep the business going is to make the app popular - quickly as well as getting some money form the user. These two goals are usually not aligned. Quick and popular apps have a low price point or are free. However a free app does not generate any revenues. So many developers followed the model of lite and pro version.

With ad networks from Google (and soon Apple via Quattro) a viable model for developers could be the ad-supported app but...

Do Users Accept Ads?

Sabre Travel Network has surveyed 800 travellers and found that all travellers surveyed are willing to accept advertising with free use of travel applications.

It looks like Urban Spoon users don't mind the ads either.

We had some less encouraging experience with an Android app that servers admob ads. The revenue was very low and we received some negative user feedback. Finally, we decided to remove the ads and at least keep our spot in the Maketplace.

My recommendation is to use ads only in highly popular apps. Small and medium apps do not benefit from ads.

Do Users Accept In-App Purchase?

In-App purchase seem actually to work well. Users seem to have no problem with in-app purchase as long as it is not an annoying upsell. Fortunately, Apple has some measures in place to make in-app purchase a pleasant experience. Apps that abuse in-app purchase and don't comply to Apples guidelines will be rejected.

Personally as a consumer, i love in-app purchase. It gives me a new product when I want one and keeps the app fresh.

Music apps like Looptastic make it so easy to buy additional loop sets.

Games seem to be benefiting a lot from selling new characters or features. Apps like Minigore are really good examples on how to sell in app.

News magazines haven't quite managed to provide in-app purchase successfully. It looks like Media Companies are still completely relying on advertisement income. They should get more creative and explore the in-app purchase feature without upsetting their advertisers.

So, what works best?

I can recommend in-app purchase to any independent developer or small and medium company. If there are valuable things to sell then sell it via in-app purchase. User acceptance is very high and users are willing to spend more money at they point of value.

Revenue via mobile ad serving seem to work only for large app publishers with "must-have" apps.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Krafty Kuts uses DJ iPhone app developed by jTribe at Summafieldayze

jTribe developed recently an iPhone app for Krafty Kuts.
Check out this video of Krafty Kuts showing off his new Against The Grain DJ Tools iPhone application at Summafieldayze on the Gold Coast during his recent 2009/10 Australian tour.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

iPhone apps re-invent Magazines and News Papers

Paper Magazines and News Papers started to discover the iPhone as a platform to distribute their content. There is a new trend towards custom iPhone apps that complement the paper issue of magazines.

A magazine on an iPhone creates new revenue streams and is an easy door opener into a demographic of users that uses their iPhone for everything lifestyle.

It has already started
Here are two great examples of Magazine that have been converted into iPhone app. Vogue's online version is available as an iPhone app.GQ has just recently released a colourful iPhone app too. Interestingly the sales of GQ will be counting towards their total sales. So paper version and iPhone app count equally. That's very important for advertisers.

An earlier review of the Top Magazine iPhone apps in May 2009 shows some other good examples including Wired, Epicurious, Elle,, OK Magazine, Car and Driver, FHM, People Magazine.

A Packaged Solution for the Media and Publishing Industry
We realise that many media companies and publishers are looking for solutions that could rapidly produce high quality iPhone apps.

At jTribe we worked hard developing a platform for iPhone Magazines and News. Our jellymo for Media and Publishing offering makes development of custom branded iPhone apps affordable and fast. The news and magazine apps allow to present constantly fresh content in a branded iPhone app with social elements and even in-app purchase of content.

Getting your content published on the iPhone just got easier

We've seen a lot of requests for custom iPhone apps over the past 12 months. From fart apps (we passed on that one) to augmented reality (stayed tuned for that one!). However the bulk in the middle tend to revolve around publishing content onto the iPhone and adding a mobile aspect to it, either geolocation or messaging of some kind. We've been working over the past few months to put together a consistent and clear offering around these common requests.

jTribe is introducing

Choose from a selection of popular features your app might need and find the package that fits your budget. Then show us where you content lives and we'll do the rest. It won't be long before you have a live version to test on your own phone and once reviewed by Apple it will be live in the App Store!

If you're interested in getting your content onto the iPhone then drop us a line and we'll make it happen.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

jTribe developed DJ iPhone app for Krafty Kuts

jTribe is proud to announce our first music related iPhone app. The app was developed for award winning DJ Martin Reeves AKA Krafty Kuts. We worked closely with Against the Grain and we had a lot of fun when playing with the app prototypes in our office.

The DJ-Tools app is simple and effective, and is targeted towards DJs who want to use an MPC-Style device for their performances.

"I wanted to produce a sampler style app which could actually be used by DJs in clubs, on radio or even at home", says Krafty Kuts.