By: Hillel Fuld
Developing an app is far from an easy task. As app consumers, we always hear about the success of apps like Angry Birds, Cut the Rope and others. However, as someone said last week at an event I attended, “For every Angry Birds, there are a lot of angry developers”. This is not a post about the challenges of app development, but if we were to sum up two of the major issues developers face, it would be discovery and monetization.
To address the second one, monetization, a common misconception in the app ecosystem is that the only way to generate revenue from an app is to charge users per download. However, what most developers don’t realize is that by charging $.99 or $1.99 for your app, you are creating an unnecessary barrier for users that will ultimately be detrimental to your app’s success. What if there was a way to let users download your app for free and generate more revenue from the app than if it had cost users money? Well, the truth is, there is and it is called inneractive (Disclosure: I do marketing there). I am talking about in-app advertising and by now, everyone who is anyone in the developer community has figured out that this method is the way to monetize mobile apps. To sign up and start generating revenue from your apps, click here.
Moving along to app discovery, in this case, the solution is not as simple as with monetization. There are many app discovery services out there, and I recommend trying them all. Having said that, this issue of getting your app discovered needs some “outta the box” thinking, and there is one solutuon that has it. Appboy (Disclosure: I work with the company on its blog and social media. Yes, I work a lot!), a company that was originally a social network for mobile developers has released an SDK (software development kit) to add “checkins” to mobile apps. Think Foursquare meets Angry Birds. When a user opens your app and checks in, they notify all their Facebook friends and Twitter followers that they are using the app. How is that for discovery? Sign up here.
Moving along, when it comes to discovery, nothing beats some good PR. As a blogger, I get the chance to see many new mobile apps before they are released to the App Store. Over the years, I have been a beta tester for some of the most awesome apps out there. In addition, I get tens of emails every day pitching me a new mobile app, and some turn out to be pretty amazing.
The developers of these apps have worked long and hard to create a superior product and have also taken the initiative to reach out to bloggers and do some marketing for their apps. All the developers I am going to mention are independent and do not have large marketing budgets, so I thought I would push their apps a little for them. However, I chose ten of the best apps I have seen and deserve to be pushed. I hope you like them as much as I do.
The following are ten iOS apps you most likely never heard of and are worthy of your download:
1: TalkBox (Free); This app brings texting to the 21st century. Instead of typing your message, you speak it into the phone while pressing the Talk button and the message is immediately sent to the recipient. The app works flawlessly and the UI is beautiful. The developer is Green Tomato Limited and the app is also available on the Android Market.
2: netTalk (Free): There are many VOIP apps out there such as Viber, Skype, Vonage, and more, but netTalk is different. With netTalk, you can dial any phone number in the US or Canada over Wifi or 3G and talk for free. Completely free. Other international locations are also very cheap. I have had and used this app for years. Can you think of any reason not to download it? I can’t! You can read more about the app and the developer here.
3: Mooniz ($0.99) : It has been said that Mooniz is the next Angry Birds. I am not sure I would go so far, but I will say that this game is designed as well as the best games out there, if not better. It is also equally addictive, but I am not sure the developer has the marketing capabilities that Rovio does, otherwise it might very well become the next Angry Birds. The game costs a buck, but it is a buck well spent! Check out the developer’s awesome website here.
4: 360 Panorama ($1.99): If you follow Scoble on Twitter, you might have heard of this app, but otherwise it is pretty unknown. With 360 Panorama, you can take a panorama photo of your location and easily share it online. The app allows you to geo tag your photos, save them to your camera roll, and email them to contacts who can view them with nothing more than a Web browser. Microsoft released a similar app called Photosynth, but this developer, Occipital, deserves all the downloads he can get, despite the $1.99 price tag.
5: ToonPAINT ($1.99): This app definitely makes my favorites list along with apps such as Dropbox, Flipboard, and QuickPix. ToonPAINT is also one of those apps that will amaze people when they first see it. Basically, the app enables you to take a photo or select one from your library and transform it into a high quality and professional cartoon. I have been having a lot of fun with this app and my Twitter followers can attest to that. You can read more about the developer and watch the app in action here.
6: Responsive ($0.99): It has happened to all of us. You are in a meeting and get a call that you want to answer, but can’t. This app enables you to easily and immediately send a text back to the caller and set a reminder for yourself to call back later. The templates are predefined and include things like “I am in a meeting, call you later” and are also able to be edited. It is a pretty simple concept, the app is designed well and works as advertised. The developer is a friend and you can see his Facebook page here.
7: Pah ($0.99): I am sure you have heard of laugh therapy. Well, save yourself the money on a therapist and download this app, I guarantee you, it will make your day better. With Pah, you are playing a very basic game in which a ship is flying and needs to shoot the obstacles in its way. What’s the big deal? Well, all that is done with your voice, and no, I am not kidding. Watch the video below. The developer is also a friend of mine and definitely deserves the hype for creating the first voice activated iPhone game. Check out their Facebook page here.
8: Maha ($0.99) : If you are on Twitter, you have most likely tested out a whole bunch of iPhone Twitter apps. Maha is not the best one out there, but it is definitely the most interesting. If you have tried out the new Windows Phone 7 OS, Maha brings that UI to iPhone. The app is full of features including integrated lists and much more. It is worth the download if you like well designed apps. I don’t know this developer (found the app via Twitter), but judging by their site, they are independent.
9: Daps’em (Free): When it comes to the Web and specifically the social Web, there is never any knowing what will take off next. Daps’em brings the important value of gratitude or appreciation for a person to social media. It is really quite simple. With this app/service, you can easily give a friend or contact a shoutout for something specific and let others know that you dapped that person. The app is designed beautifully and will surely contribute to your good Karma. You can check out the developer’s site here.
10: Showtime ($1.99): This app provides a much needed functionality in an elegant and well designed interface. With Showtime, you can easily view your iPhone’s photos on a big display. The app is packed with awesome features and works flawlessly. The developer is Aptogo and you can check them out here.
There you have it, folks. Those are some great apps that I hope I helped you discover. The developers of these apps did some fantastic work and deserve to be recognized for that, so check em out, and as always, I appreciate your feedback, which you can leave below in the comments, or on Twitter. Follow me here.