Some thoughts on Mobile

If you are reading this then you probably know me, in which case you probably know that I am a computer programmer and that I spend my days doing android stuff for Andromo. Most of my job has been writing code that ends up in the apps that people build using Andromo, I’ve also written large parts of the builder code, and recently learnt some Ruby and helped out with the website redesign.

Another part of my job that I have really started focusing on since late last year was trying to help promote Andromo to a wider audience. The theory being that a larger audience for the product means more subscribers, which means higher revenue for us. A simple equation but I’ve found getting attention for Andromo to be more difficult then I originally thought.

I thought that this post was about mobile?

I’m getting there. One of the areas I targeted to help grown Andromo’s business was the non-English speaking world, specifically China to start and broadening my targets over time. Because of the population of China, and the dynamics (Google Play and many of Google’s services are not allowed in China) I thought that the Chinese market would be very interested in the apps that could be created with Andromo.

I was also interested by charts like these:

Photo by: charlesarthur
Photo by: charlesarthur

What I found, exploring the Chinese market, really surprised me. I found a mature ecosystem that had developed independently of Google Play and Google’s influence. Instead of one app store I found hundreds of app stores and companies like XiaomiWandoujia, and Tencent doing things in very western-startup sort of a way (especially Xiaomi <Looking to future growth, Xiaomi will build its own campus> and Wandoujia<Wandoujia, One Of China’s Leading App Stores, Lands $120M In New Funding Led By SoftBank>). Of course I had heard of these companies before having put a concerted effort into following the mobile tech world since we launched Andromo in 2011, but this was the first time I really looked at Huawei and ZTE and the rest.

Of course my interest and focus is late, people have been talking about China and smartphones for years. I’m focusing on it as the growth is actually going to be slowing down, only a 30% (I cannot remember when I read that) growth projected for 2014. But still look at the above graph and compare the yellow bar for China (or India) with that of my home country of Canada, we’re still taking about massive growth and massive potential. But how can we tap into that potential with a product like Andromo? I’m still trying to figure that one out.

Working on this at work has taught me a lot about the different markets around the world, but I still haven’t been very successful at getting things to happen. I’m not sure why exactly, it could be a language issue (our website is not translated into languages other than English neither are portions of the resulting app), it could be my approach, our product, or some combination of all three. I have managed to have some interesting email conversations with some of these companies, as well as the odd Skype meeting (which has been very interesting) but nothing concrete as of yet.

I close with a tweet that I think is great and sums up much of my feelings on the matter:

The astute among you will recognize both the chart and the tweet from a blog post I wrote a few weeks ago at work.

 

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Mark Mruss

Mark Mruss is a computer programmer by nature and by profession. He's written Android apps, win32 apps (we called them applications back then), apps in python, and even a website or two. He is currently fascinated by all things mobile. He likes computers, beer, and his family (not in that order). Find him on twitter @MarkMruss

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