Ever wonder what it's really like to develop an app? Meet Amit Barman from Apollo Software. In this interview, he shares his experience creating translate+, getting it released into the App Store and how using the Google and Bing API's affected his pricing model.
AC: Tell us a little about you and your company. What is your background?
Amit Barman: Indie Software Developer concentrating on various platforms, including iOS, Windows .NET Web, Mobile, Standalone, Java, Android, HTML5 and Web 2.0+. Developed over 30 apps for iPhone, and 5 apps for WP7. Have had 6 top 200 apps in the iOS AppStore over the past 6 months.
AC: translate+ is your first app. Why did you want to start developing for the iPhone and iPad?
Amit Barman: Mainly to get familiar with the iOS platform, and learn Objective-C. I am originally a .NET/C#/VB developer for many years, and I am curious about platforms I don’t have prior knowledge with. I have been in the development/IT field for over half of my life (I am 30 now), and am on an everlasting quest for knowledge. Mobile Apps seem to be the wave of the future, and for indie developers to achieve marginal success.
AC: Tell us about your app. How did you get the idea?
Amit Barman: I found the Google Translate API, and the Microsoft Bing Translate API, and wanted to explore the ideas of developing a translator app with good sharing options and explore languages that are more obscure that aren’t found in every other translator. The use of both API’s in conjunction assure that the most accurate translation is found for a given phrase.
AC: How is this app different from similar apps?
Amit Barman: This app has sharing options that aren’t found in Google Translate, also it gives you the ability to save spoken translations in .wav or .mp3 format. You can e-mail the spoken TTS dictation of translated phrases, transfer to your hard drive in iTunes, or share on various social media platforms. Also the ability for quick languages detection, copy & paste, and texting allows you to translate and have a conversation as seamless as possible with a person in other than your native tongue.
AC: How did you choose your pricing model -- ad-supported vs. freemium vs. paid? What influenced your decision?
Amit Barman: The cost of the API for Google is 20.00 per 2 Million transactions, and at the rate of download I have to charge 1.99 to make a profit. At first it was .99 then as soon as the app started blowing up, I moved to a higher price range. Ads are very unprofitable in comparison. Most clicks for my 2 apps in the AppStore that are free apps are accidental.
AC: Do you have experience developing for other platforms? How does it compare to the iOS development process?
Amit Barman: Windows Phone 7 is easy for me and it’s much easier to do simple phone tasks such as texting and e-mail. But there are substantially more libraries with iOS that make it far more powerful. WP7 is familiar to me since I have done .NET for over 10 years. Also you can submit WP7 apps without a actual device, which you can not do with iOS apps.
AC: How long did it take to get your app from idea to App Store?
Amit Barman: It took approximately 4 weeks since this was originally my first major app.
AC: What was the biggest challenge you faced while creating this app?
Amit Barman: Biggest challenge was getting the TTS and utilizing the technologies. I was new to xcode and the platform. Also getting the devices certified, and getting proper mobile provision profiles was arduous.
AC: What was the best advice you received while developing your app? Where did it come from?
Amit Barman: From a coworker/friend. He advised me to read over the certification process for my app and be sure to follow the directions to a T or else my app would get rejected.
AC: Looking back on this experience, if you knew then what you know now would you do anything differently?
Amit Barman: I would choose a better name for the app. App Name is key for results and searching in the AppStore App and iTunes.
AC: Do you have any future plans for this app? Where do you see it a year from now?
Amit Barman: I am going to continue to add languages and add native connectivity with Graph API to Facebook. I see it continuing in a steady pace of downloads and users.
AC: Besides your own of course, what is your favorite app right now?
Amit Barman: My favorite app is Instagram. Very cool and lots of features for free!
AC: What apps do you consider essential to your day-to-day life? Why?
Amit Barman: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, iJango, Netflix, MLB At Bat, nutrition+.
AC: Do you have any new apps in development? What can we expect to see from your company in the near future?
Amit Barman: I have 2 apps currently being developed right now. Once is college+ and patent pro. college+ is a college finder, and patent pro is a patent/idea finder and search engine, where you can view drawings and tifs and share it. A must for any entrepreneur.
I am also porting my iPhone Apps to WP7 and targeting iPads in the future. Eventually I will port over to Android.
AC: Any last words? What else would you like our readers to know about your company?
Amit Barman: I would appreciate users to give some of my software a chance. I think they are some are specialized and some can become critical tools. I am very appreciative of all my customers over the last 6 months, and hopefully they stay tuned and come back!
Contact Amit Barman of Apollo Software
Amit offered some interesting insight into his development process. Please take a moment to thank him by sharing this article to spread the word about Apollo Software and translate+. If you have additional questions, ask them in the comments and we'll get you the answers!
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