Last year Telerik sponsored the WP7 Unleashed Events – a series of hands-on lab events organized by Microsoft and the local communities. 25 apps of all applications submitted at the end of each event were selected and one of them won the Telerik Grand Prize – $5000. The winner of the big prize was Jack of Tools - the app that turns your phone into a virtual tool belt.
We are talking with Jonathan Isabelle from Digitalmason.net, the company that created Jack of Tools and a few other Windows Phone apps, about his observations on the Windows Phone app market, his success recipe and expectations for 2012.
Telerik: What got you into Windows Phone development?
Jonathan: I initially wanted to do games for Windows Phone. It was clear that it was a really good platform and I spent about a month working on a 3D fighting game. With months left in the game’s development, a friend took me to the WP7 Unleashed Event in Phoenix and I left convinced I should try writing a couple apps.
Telerik: Jack of Tools is very popular. It was in the top 5 positions for several consecutive weeks in the tools/productivity category. What do you think contributed most to the app’s success?
Jonathan: It seemed to me that Jack of Tools’ rise in top downloads was exponential. I first noticed it when it was around position 60 and, as it went higher, it got more attention resulting in more downloads.
When you first release your app, it’s highly visible as a new release. I think this is your best chance to draw in enough attention to get into the top downloads. We also noticed individuals posting about it, writing reviews, and even found a video review.
Telerik: According to your users’ feedback, what is it that they liked most in the app?
Jonathan: I noticed many users were concerned with the consistency with the Windows Phone 7 look and feel. The use of a pivot was a natural fit for the type of app and the RadControls made doing normally complex things like gauges very simple.
Telerik: Did your experience with the monetization from the Marketplace stimulate you to build more apps?
Jonathan: Yes. My first was a trial/pay app. Despite the trial version being fully functional, I noticed it got little attention and was a bit discouraged. It seemed there was a lot of activity around the free apps so I decided to make my second app, Jack of Tools, entirely free with advertising. So far, my free apps have proved much more lucrative than my paid apps.
Telerik: The Windows 8 Marketplace Beta is expected in late February 2012. What are your plans for porting your Windows Phone apps to WinRt? Are you planning to be among the early movers?
Jonathan: I think there’s a huge potential for apps on Windows 8 given the number of users and to get in on the ground floor is an opportunity I don’t want to miss!
Telerik: How do you think the Windows Phone market will evolve next year?
Jonathan: More and more people seem to be noticing Windows Phone and, with the release of Windows 8, more people will get a chance to experience the look and feel first hand. The superior development tools draw a lot of developers like me so there are lots of apps appearing all the time. I think that Windows Phone will soon get the market attention it deserves.
Telerik: Thank you Jonathan for this interview.
Jack of Tools is built with RadControls for Windows Phone. If you haven’t tried them yet, you can download a free trial here.
Check out more than 110 apps built with RadControls.