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Weather HD 2 is a spectacular-looking weather app for iPhone and iPad which includes amazingly detailed 3-D maps, animated “Quickview” forecasts, data from different providers for extra accuracy, beautiful animations, severe weather alerts and easy social sharing. There is also a free version available.
In today’s Developing Minds Want to Know, we talk to Amr Ramadan, CEO of vimov, the creators of Weather HD for iOS devices and Mac. He tells us what inspires him, which apps he loves, how he overcomes technical constraints, and where he sees the mobile app sector in the future.
Key Company Facts
Name: Amr Ramadan, CEO
Size: 25 people
Primary Apps/Platforms: Weather HD 2 on iOS and Mac
APPOLICIOUS: What inspired you to become an app creator?
AMR RAMADAN: We got into developing apps once the App Store was announced. We saw the iPhone as a great opportunity to build up new software solutions in the mobile space and had to be part of it.
APPO: How long have you been developing apps, and what is the most significant difference between now and when you began?
AR: We've been developing apps for about four years now. The biggest difference is definitely the more complex the market penetration becomes through time. Back in the first days of the App Store, you'd only put the app on the store, and that was it. The few number of new apps had everyone discovering apps by just reviewing a list of what new apps were released today. It was much easier for both developers and users.
APPO: What apps (outside of those that you develop) inspire you the most and why?
AR: I must say these would be the services apps that make a service or a task much simpler to use; like Hipmunk or Uber's apps. With a few clicks in Hipmunk, you get a very quick answer to what flight you should take, or with Uber, with a few clicks, you get a cab right where you are. They remove the hassle, frustration and uncertainty of whether it would work or not. It just works.
APPO: Where do you see the most innovation in the app sector?
AR: Early on, the biggest innovation was in location-based and social applications, but that area is increasingly stabilising. The biggest splash in the water has, and still is, games. What is up there to look out for the most has to be how much can mobile games take away from console and PC games industries in the coming years.
APPO: In such a crowded space, explain how you generate awareness and drive downloads to your applications.
AR: In such crowded space, there is no other way but to build great apps. Most developers cannot afford paying for building awareness through marketing campaigns, and it's viral marketing coupled with a great product that is probably the most efficient way to drive downloads.
APPO: What are the biggest technical constraints that exist today in the app sector?
AR: While many say attack Apple's platform for being "limited" and "constrained", Android is not much different. In fact, all mobile platforms are quite limited and you have much less freedom to innovate as you've for example on the Mac or Windows. This becomes quite frustrating at many times when we either have to drop something due to API limitations or we have to spend much more effort than we'd have ideally wanted to put in had the API been richer.
APPO: How do you (or will you) make money from your application?
AR: So far, direct sales has been our primary method for monetization.
APPO: What advice do you have to those working on their first applications?
AR: You probably have a 100+ competitor already, so you need to know what makes yours different, and also know, and be able to, send out the message that this difference is valuable for the users to switch.
APPO: Where do you see the app sector one year from now? Five years from now?
AR: So far, one can say that today's smartphones have converged into one the phone, media player, navigation device and the portable gaming device. One of the most exciting things I am looking for is when, and not if, the smartphones start converging more devices. Specifically, the television (both set-top box and screen), game console and PC. It's only a matter of time. Just the right amount of advances in projection technologies and input devices, and we can very much look at having one single device for all our needs. And besides the extreme convenience, this would open a myriad of opportunities and new unprecedented room of innovation for app developers.