Android App Development
Whilst learning Java in 2010, I was interested in applying my skills by creating some simple Live Wallpaper applications for Android OS. Little did I know they would go on to accumulate over 5 million downloads with a 4.3 average rating! I think I got lucky finding a niche in the market before the Google Play Store became oversaturated with competition, but nonetheless I am proud of what I achieved and like to think I maintained a high level of quality whilst looking after my user base. The income generated from these apps allowed me to focus on my masters degree without having to find a part time job.
Unfortunately, after selling the source code and rights to the apps to help fund my wedding in 2014, the new owner hasn’t done much to maintain or update them, instead opting to maximize profits with advertisements whilst removing some of the free versions altogether.
Anyway, here are the apps…
Snowflakes Live Wallpaper
Two Live Wallpapers roughly translated into 13 different languages, with a free version linking to a paid version via it’s limited settings menu. Swiping left and right acts as a gust of wind, blowing the snowflakes sideways. The full version is highly customizable - users can change the speed, shapes, size, colors of the snowflakes and backgrounds, choose from a set of colorizable background textures or use a personal background image, save and load presets, change the FPS, and more. Why wouldn’t you want to upgrade, right?
By clicking on the banner images below, you can see the apps as they appeared in the Play Store during my time of ownership in 2013 (thanks to the awesome WayBack Machine):
What did I learn?
- Android SDK debugging and development.
- Design, Development, Art (sort of), QA, Strategy, Marketing, PR - I had to do it all and enjoyed every minute of it!
- Maintenance challenges (backwards compatibility, fragmented userbase).
- Combating piracy was a constant battle, not just people downloading illegally but also rogue developers encroaching on my IP.
Most of the other apps I released were modifications of the Snowflakes Live Wallpaper idea. Some were real flops whilst others went on to achieve more downloads and higher ratings (but less income). I consider them experiments in Marketing more than anything else, as the code and options are fundamentally the same throughout, just with different shapes, presets and physics. Unfortunately, the new owner has since removed all the free versions from the Play Store. Here are some notable mentions:
I learned a lot from my experiments with Android, it was a great way to learn Java whilst having some fun. I don’t think I could recreate the early success I had today as the market has changed so much - it’s virtually impossible to get noticed in the Play Store without a vast amount of luck as there are big businesses dominating the rankings with hefty marketing budgets. I believe the key for me was to get in there early with a simple, quality product.