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So we continue with Part II of our Developer Series this week. For those who have yet to read Part I, I urge you to do so as Part II continues from where Part I stopped. Also, a reminder that if you have yet to submit your questions, this week would be your last week to do so. Your questions could be directed to any or all of the developers and could cover any topic. All you need to do to leave a question is to leave a comment below.

Also a quick recap, each representative will be represented by their company’s name. So you will see my questions and replies as Eten Blog, Alex Kac’s will be WebIs, Amit’s will be SBSH, Ellen’s will be Ilium, Victoria’s will be Spb and DinarSoft’s will be DinarSoft.

Eten Blog: Oh yeah I heard about that. I’ll try to do a review on them soon. Would you mind sharing with us what you learnt in 2007 that impacted you or your company the most?

Ilium: I think that rather than any big new insights, we were reminded over and over how important it is to have attractive, simple and robust products.

SBSH: Most of our main developments that were invested during 2007 are still in final development stages, so it is a bit hard to reach conclusions at this stage. We’ve learned, once again, that the mobile market is one of the fastest growing and changing markets and we’ve been working hard to enlarge our team in the best possible way that will allow us to remain the best innovative company on the mobile sphere during 2008 and onwards.

DinarSoft: Early in 2007 most users started to ask about VGA support (in terms of hi-res icons and graphics), later in 2007 many users started to focus on the one hand operations (mainly using the hardware keys), now with the introduction of iPhone and HTC Touch things will be different in 2008.

There is also a big demand for localization which is something we’re looking at right now.

WebIs: Friendlier software and more device types. Users are really look at both Windows Mobile and BlackBerry today. It used to be it was between the PPC and Smartphone - now its between Windows Mobile as a whole or the BlackBerry.

Eten Blog: Those are really useful lessons and I think you guys really know your customers very well. It can only mean that we can expect even better software in time to come. With that in mind, what was your best selling software for 2007?

Spb: Our best selling software for 2007 was the best selling WM software in the world for the same year, and it was Spb Mobile Shell.

DinarSoft: MemMaid

Ilium: eWallet is consistently our top-seller, and is in fact the best-selling program of its type for Windows Mobile handhelds.

SBSH: Our best selling application during 2007 was SBSH PocketBreeze for Windows Mobile Classic/Pro.

WebIs: Pocket Informant

Eten Blog: Those are really great software and it’s no surprise there I guess. And it’s also no surprise that those same software are also in our list of Recommended Software.

We, the consumers, know why these software were great. But in your opinion, why do you think you did so well?

SBSH: I believe that the Mobile community these days wishes to get from us Mobile Software companies 2 things: 1. Solution to an existing need 2. Simplicity in activation. SBSH PocketBreeze was originally created in order to help the WM users to manage their different needs of their devices in one simple application. PocketBreeze answers needs such as reviewing SMS’s, browsing through upcoming appointments, handling tasks and so on. As our activity grow bigger, we released more applications to the market that were aimed to the user who wanted to gain more from his device, such as SBSH PocketWeather, SBSH iLauncher, SBSH MyList and more. The great thing about PocketBreeze, and the reason I believe it was the best seller for 2007 was that it easily integrated with each of the titles I’ve mentioned, so by having it you are able to manage all applications from your Today screen.

Eten Blog: That really goes a long way to ensuring customer loyalty. What about you Ellen? Why do you think Ilium did so well?

Ilium: I think eWallet is the most popular password manager/wallet program because it’s the most functional, but still remains easy to use and robust. Everyone’s tired of software they can’t rely on or can’t trust, and everyone’s tired of software they can’t get reasonable support for. eWallet does what it should - makes it safe for people to keep confidential information on their handheld, and easy for them to find and use it.

Eten Blog: That’s true. I think one thing that sets you great developers from other average ones is that you provide reasonable support. Not everyone knows how to use the software and for times like that, support is really important.

WebIs: Yes I do agree about support. Because we listen to customers and we have built, for a small company, an impressive back-end system to handle customer needs via forums, support, and so on, we did well.

Eten Blog: That’s so true. What about DinarSoft and Spb? Why do you think you did well?

DinarSoft: Intuitive, all in one, easy to use and yet very powerful memory manager. That’s what made MemMaid a great software.

Spb: The Mobile Shell did so well because it really does neat things to your device, it changes the way you interact with it.

Eten Blog: So what would you say to potential customers who have yet to try your products?

Spb: Try it! :) At least for the 15 days of free trial.

DinarSoft: They would never be disappointed. Over a million of MemMaid downloads could not be wrong. (We invite everyone to try our 15-day fully functional demo available at here).

Ilium: I would urge them to try it. We have 30-day, unlimited trial versions of all of our titles. It gives people a completely risk-free way to see if our products are useful to them, and are what they want. If they decide they don’t want anything, they can just uninstall it; if they do, all they need is a code to unlock the 30-day restriction.

SBSH: If you wanna maximize your pleasure from your device and keep it simple - take our applications for a trial - its free!

Eten Blog: The developers are asking you, the users, to go and try them out. They have a free trial and you have nothing to lose. So what are you waiting for? What about you Alex? Are you going to give them a free trial too?

WebIs: Well we do have the free trial. But I’d say we know that we have to really be better than what’s on your device because you already have PIM and email. Considering that we have over half a million users who found us to be better than what’s on the device, what are you waiting for?

Eten Blog: Well said. And I could not have done it better myself. Well I think we have covered 2007 pretty well. Be sure to join us next week where we will cover 2008 topics and more. If you have a questions for these developers, be sure to leave them below. And if you have yet to do so, do subscribe to our site (email option here). It’s the only way to keep track of the many happenings like this series and many others on Eten Blog dot Com. Till next week, goodbye and have a great weekend!

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26 Comments

Comment by spmwinkel Subscribed to comments via email
2008-02-09 02:46:01

Very nice. Not really surprising though, because of course we can assume that the only people who are going to participate in such a blog interview are the developers that really want to interact with the customers. It’s also good to see that indeed these companies try to respond to the user trends like Dinarsoft mentions.

Free trials are pretty much required these days, for example the racing game K-Rally was reviewed with pretty good comments, but people were very annoyed that they could not try it themselves. I don’t know if they had (have) good sales, but I think that if they do, they’ve partly got Werner and other people who advertised the game to thank for it.

Comment by Tariq Bamadhaj
2008-02-09 11:17:28

If a company does not offer free trials, then it’s going to be really hard for them to get more customers. I guess some of them do that to try and combat piracy but I wonder how effective it would be versus giving trials when it comes to the all important bottom line.

Comment by spmwinkel Subscribed to comments via email
2008-02-09 13:51:34

I´m not sure to what degree not having a trial could prevent piracy. A product will be pirated, with or without trial. The only thing that might overcome this (maybe, don´t know) is internet activation. But products with internet activation often also have a workaround: sending a text file to the developer, who sends a key in a text file back to the consumer. And again, these can be pirated.

So for the main public who doesn’t know of care about piracy, this only makes it harder for the developers to reach those customers. And for the people who do know their ways to piracy, not having a trial might tempt them to use the pirated version as “trial”, and then they only have their own consciense which tells them to pay the developer, since they already have the full version (illegally) on their device.

Anyway, we agree that developers should have trials, so there’s no REAL need to have a debate. :wink:

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Comment by PJMDS
2008-02-09 10:34:14

:shock: :???: I expected something useful from Developer Series but it turns out to be only cheap talk to advertise products, I’m sorry but this time I wont waste precious time writing questions, sorry Tariq but I’m disappointed with your Developer Series, I was expecting to read things that can’t be found using google, best regards.

Comment by Tariq Bamadhaj
2008-02-09 11:24:52

I do agree that a certain part, where I asked what the top selling software were, might come off as advertising but do keep in mind that not everyone might be following the companies as close as some of us. When I was talking to some users in forums and chat rooms, there were people who have never even heard of some of these companies. And they have been using Windows Mobile for some time now. Can you believe it? As such, I want to try and reach out to as many levels here as I can which is why certain questions are there.

I am not trying to defend myself or saying that it is good or so forth. In fact, I am happy that you aired your views and gave reason for it. It would only help to improve things in the future. As for not asking questions, I can respect your wishes but also, if you do not ask good questions that you want answered, then others might ask questions that you might already know the answer and you would find it sub-par again.

On that note, I hope you can share with me what you mean by finding out something useful from the Developer Series. What would like to take away from these series of posts?

Comment by spmwinkel Subscribed to comments via email
2008-02-09 13:59:08

I’d like to “take away” some knowledge about their strategies behind process decisions they make. When talking about philosophy it’s getting vague already since most companies will want to serve their customer and help them make better, more productive, or easier use of their mobile devices (and earn money with it if possible). That’s why I asked about beta testing (lower in the threaded comments), that’s the kind of questions/answers I’m interested in. I also liked the one in the last episode about 2007 where WebIS said that they’ve not done a major release in 2007 and SBSH said that they’ve done a lot behind the scenes which will soon start appearing to the public. I’ll have to agree that I liked the previous episode better than this one, but then again the first question of this weeks episode immediately was a question I liked. :smile:

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Comment by maceyr
2008-02-09 12:40:35

My question to the developers (as I’ve already mentioned in part I’s comments) is if they would consider developing a QWERTY button launcher app where I can press and hold a QWERTY key and launch a program similar to what Standalone’s TypeRight offers for the Palm OS. I’m surprised that no developer has yet developed such an application.

I agree that having the trial is HUGE. I normally don’t buy unless I get a trial. The only apps I purchased that didn’t offer trials were Kinoma Player which I was very happy about and The Core Player, which was a HUGE disappointment. It does take a lot for me to take the risk to buy something without trying it first.

 
Comment by spmwinkel Subscribed to comments via email
2008-02-09 13:39:06

I’m wondering how they think about the large software store (Handango) versus the smaller stores (Mobihand, ClickGamer/ClickApps). Lately I’ve been asking around a bit to see if game developers would add their games to Mobihand stores, but they’ve been saying that it’s just not worth it: not really generating significant sales. Paypal also plays a role, since Handango doesn’t accept Paypal outside the US or something like that (I don’t have a credit card and live in Europe, this limits me).

 
Comment by spmwinkel Subscribed to comments via email
2008-02-09 13:45:15

Another one jumps to mind - testing products before release (betatesting). I know from SBSH that they have closed beta groups on the forums but people can see that those forums exist, so regularly people ask if they can be added (which happens when new releases are to be tested and there are only few testers). WebIS has a similar strategy but they require things to be submitted differently: not the entire beta team can see the bug reports (if I’m informed correctly). So there’s a difference in the discussion that arises in both beta processes. And as far as Ilium, Spb and Dinarsoft are concerned, I’m not familiar with theit beta testing at all, so I’d like to know their thoughts on that.

 
Comment by maceyr
2008-02-09 15:22:41

Not a question but just wanted to share my thoughts on purchasing software.

Being like everyone else, I have limited funds for purhasing software. If provided with software discounts, I will go to wherever that has the discounts. Although bundles are a great deal, most times, I can’t afford to pay the huge sum upfront $60 or whatever), especially if I haven’t tried all the bundled software. What I think may be a good idea (at least I am more than willing to support) is if the developers can provide a special discount for previous purchasers of software for the other bundled software. So, for example, if a bundle cost $60 for 5 programs, they could get the customer to pay the regular price for the first program and then, a discount for each additional program so that in the end, if they bought all 5 programs that it would also amount ot $60. Of course, you don’t get the $60 upfront, but you end up getting it anyway.

I have no problems paying via PayPal, again, if the developers sell at a discount to the big guys like Handango, etc.

Just wanted to share my thoughts.

 
Comment by zntfdr Subscribed to comments via email
2008-02-09 17:47:55

Hi to all!
I’m Federico and I’ve followed you since more or less 3 moths!
This blog is very useful for me!! Thanks a lot!! :)
My question to the developers: What program do you use to develop your softwares for Windows Mobile? I use Visual Studio 2008 but I want to know what you use :)

Comment by Tariq Bamadhaj
2008-02-09 17:56:54

Hi zntfdr

Welcome and thanks for your compliments and question. Are you a developer and if so, what applications have you developed for the Windows Mobile platform? Maybe I could do a review of it?

Comment by zntfdr Subscribed to comments via email
2008-02-10 02:53:21

Hi Tariq, thanks for your attention! :grin:
I’m only a beginner! :P I’ve bought my first ppc @ 24th december! (Eten Glofiish X600).
At school I study c#,c++,java (and others…like php, html, asp.net) and i’m interested to program for ppc.
By the way, as I said above, I’m only a beginner and i don’t own any program to show to you :P. :oops:

have a nice day!
Federico

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Comment by Tariq Bamadhaj
2008-02-10 11:54:05

No worries Federico and good luck with your programming.

 
 
 
 
Comment by Tariq Bamadhaj
2008-02-09 17:54:42

Hi guys

Some really great comments that you have left. While I would like to reply to each one individually, I’ll instead consolidate my replies and thoughts in this one comment.

Firstly, I am no expert. I never claim to be one nor will I ever. I started this blog to help users out based on what I know and have researched. As such, from time to time, you might read articles that you might consider below par. I don’t mind the feedback (be it positive or negative) because it helps me better myself and the site and in the end, we all win. Feedback with suggestions are the best because you provide me with a solution that I could implement to solve it.

As for trials, I think we can all agree that having a trial really helps increase the sales because you let users have a go with your software. Whether it helps with combating piracy I am not really sure, all the developers on this panel provide trial but I will pose the question and see if they know why other companies do not offer it.

True, there will always be a way to pirate products, and I guess no matter how you combat it, there will always be a way around it. There has to be a way and hopefully we can help these developers in one way or another.

With regards to the purchasing strategies, I guess this is more up to the stores though there are always ways to get around this. I will definitely propose your ideas to the developers and see what they say.

Beta testing: I am definitely interested in this and will also bring it up.

Keep the questions coming. They are really great and even I enjoy reading about them.

 
Comment by PJMDS
2008-02-09 20:50:42

I have the same question as Federico, any tip about developing software is useful, I use visual studio 2005 to build simple programs, just some text boxes and menus in C#, math and electric engineering stuff, I would be happy to know about any useful info from those developers, books, web links, forums, etc.

Now about the trials of those programs and beta testing, that info can be obtained in search engines or just emailing the software companies, beta testing is boring and time consuming, I’m beta tester and believe me that is a boring thing :(

Comment by spmwinkel Subscribed to comments via email
2008-02-10 02:30:27

I’m a beta tester as well, and believe me it can be really exciting at times! I’m a tester for Astraware, which means I get to play their new games before the general public knows about them. I’ve also been a betatester for Brain School when it was developed, and I´m a tester for all PPC applications from SBSH, and in both the beta testers have a real significant influence in the design decisions developers make. So instead of calling it boring, I myself find it dynamic, since it’ s often fun to see what a developer came up with, and see if we can “break” it or have other suggestions. Are you betatesting for any PPC applications :?:

Comment by PJMDS
2008-02-10 09:49:39

Hi spmwinkel , I’m beta tester for this guys www.fon.com , we test their software, firmware and hardware. In the PPC world I’m beta tester for my own programs :cool: . Beta testing takes much time and I prefer to learn how to make software by reading and writting code.

best regards

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Comment by spmwinkel Subscribed to comments via email
2008-02-10 13:26:19

Ah that’s cool, you actually write your own stuff. I agree that must be better than betatesting since you can just fix and implement your ideas instead of proposing them to the big guys who make the decisions. :mrgreen:

 
Comment by PJMDS
2008-02-10 21:03:56

spmwinkel there’s just a little problem, I don’t know how to implement most of my ideas :oops: :cry: I make very simple stuff and C# isn’t what I expected so maybe switching to C++ will help me implementing some ideas.

 
 
 
 
Comment by maceyr
2008-02-10 12:00:06

I’ve done a bit of beta testing for some developers including Astraware for their Palm OS game but I really don’t have the time to devote to doing it because it takes quite a bit of time. Either I devote to beta testing or I stick with my blog. It was fun but I hardly do much anymore.

 
2008-02-11 09:45:33

[…] interview with representatives of a few of the major mobile developers being published by Tariq at Eten Blog dot Com. The interview is being published in 4 parts - Part II went live yesterday, and provoked some […]

 
Comment by Ellen
2008-02-11 09:55:04

Hi all,
I started to respond to a few of these questions, but then I remembered that Tariq had written that he was planning some followup posts with questions raised here, so I should probably wait and not steal the thunder from that. But I did want to be sure to say - we do have a beta program, just send an email or fill out the Contact form on our site if you’re interested in joining. I’m going to make sure there’s info about that on our site; I’m not sure there is. And we do offer software bundles, but if anyone wants a combination of our products that’s not available on our site, just call or email us. We’re always happy to work something out.

Comment by Tariq Bamadhaj
2008-02-11 11:23:06

Hi Ellen

Thanks for your reply. Yeah you are right about the questions, I will be consolidating and forwarding them to you and the other developers some time this week.

 
 
Comment by spmwinkel Subscribed to comments via email
2008-02-11 10:18:51

Thanks Ellen for your reply here, and looking forward to your upcoming comments. I indeed never found any info about betatesting on the website so I just sent an e-mail. :grin:

 
Comment by maceyr
2008-02-11 13:28:38

Thanks, Ellen, for taking the time to address our questions. As I’ve said before, I think I can at least speak for myself that to shell out a big lump sum for a bundle may seem too much. I normally purchase them over a period of time by taking advantage of special coupons or discounts. If more developers are willing to provide a special discount for previous purchasers, then it could really do a lot.

 

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