First question. Waaaaatz up? Nothing much is the answer. Been busy with work and a bit of studies. It's been really busy few months trying to get another startup kicked off. This time it's all about mobile applications. Best part about the job is the team and the freedom to bring your ideas into a reality.
I feel there is an exciting future for mobile apps. It's an exciting field to play in and challenging too. You constantly have to work to keep up with ideas and technology. Best of all you get to be part of exciting stuff/time. Working with a team of talented developers/designers is really fun but at the same time a lot of pressure. You need to ensure the right products are delivered and you manage to get them out by the set time lines. I am struggling on that now. We started off with a few big ideas that needed research and time to develop. Things have started to come to life now and I am excited as I see them come alive.
Simple ideas that involve getting data from users and storing them on to a DB with a fancy web page does not excite me anymore. There is a lot of fun apps and exciting productivity / utility apps/tools that you can work on. Thats what we are working on now.
Developing apps for iPhone/iPad is really a challenge. There is the limitations setup by Apple vs. the ideas you have. You need to ensure that your ideas get implemented within the boundaries and developer guidelines set by Apple. However I think the iOS is the way to go considering the apps market factor (for now). We are also exploring into the Androids, which is I guess more appealing for developers cos of the freedom they get. I think for any mobile apps company like us, we need to keep up with all the environments and cater to the demands. It's not good to limit to just iOS, Android or Windows Phones.
I've always enjoyed working on localized (thaana/dhivehi) apps. Published an iPad Dhivehi News reader a month or two back. Initially the work was done for my dad while he was visiting me and he got a new iPad. Later with some minor changes I published it. It's a very simple app the idea that is to help people view Thaana on websites. So far I had around 250 + downloads of the app. I have no idea who they are, but I think not all will be Maldivians as the app is FREE. I did work on an iPhone version too but did not publish it as it needed some polishing. Together with a colleague of mine from work we plan to publish the iPhone version. This will be more an experiment, I wanna have an idea of the iPhone app usage in the Maldives. A news reader might be something that might attract most of the users so it will be easy to estimate the figures. One problem with having an app for FREE is that anyone might download it (not just Maldivians). So this time will not make it FREE.
As for the Maldivian market, it's not worth developing mobile applications targeted to Maldives. The market is too small. Example if you position your app around $ 1.99 with 500 downloads you would only make $ 995 of which you'd only make $ 696.5. This only applies if you develop applications specific to the Maldivian market, but it's always good to know the numbers and have an idea on the market. If anyone is thinking of developing an app specific to the Maldivian market I guess they won't have much choice but to price it a bit higher or just do it for FREE for the fun of it. Anyway I hope we see more apps coming out of Maldivian developers. I feel it's time we explored outside the web apps also start thinking global. Think of ideas that will appeal to the mass market and get them rolled out. My guess is when Windows Phones come out we'd see a few developers publishing apps as we have a lot of good/talented Windows developers in the Maldives.
One of the other ideas that I have is to get an open source OCR tool published for the Dhivehi Langauge. We have been working on a similar project and once we are done with it, I think it would be easy for us to publish/port a Dhivehi/Thaana OCR framework. Already I've seen some demos of Thaana OCR Windows application on the Web. I guess these will be commercial tools though. This might take us a few more months to publish, once we do I guess it can be taken up by the community and improved on.