What do you do for an encore after your mobile app has already been downloaded more than 11 million times? If you are Psiloc, the Warsaw, Poland-based developer of the World Traveler app for Nokia phones, you develop a new version for Nokia’s just-announced Asha Touch phones — the Nokia Asha 305, Asha 306, and Asha 311.
‘It was an easy decision for us’, says Wojciech Nowanski, Operations Director at Psiloc. ‘We want to be on as many Nokia devices as possible and to reach as many consumers as possible.’
World Traveler, one of several popular apps offered by Psiloc on Nokia Store, offers both business and leisure travelers an all-in-one suite of free mobile services: global weather forecasts, currency conversions, and a world clock. In addition, World Traveler users have the option of purchasing two premium services: Flight Assistant, which lets them search the flight schedules of major airlines for information on flight delays and other changes; and Safe, which lets them securely store sensitive numbers in a ‘virtual vault’.
World Traveler was originally developed six years ago, after Psiloc executives found themselves stuck in a Hong Kong airport, waiting for a delayed flight to Hamburg. ‘There was no information about what was going on with the plane’, Nowanski explains. ‘So we decided to create such an app for travelers.’
Then, about three years ago, Psiloc added new features to World Traveler and ported the native C++ app first to Nokia’s Symbian 3rd Edition, then to Symbian 5th Edition, and then to Symbian Belle. With that, the app has, well, taken off. In addition to the afore-mentioned 11+ million downloads, World Traveler now has approximately 2.1 million users who rely on it every day. In addition, Psiloc earns revenue whenever users opt for the app’s premium services.
To move World Traveler to the new Nokia Asha Touch phones, Psiloc has essentially recreated the app in a new development environment. The new Asha Touch phones are designed around Nokia’s Series 40 Developer Platform 2.0, so Psiloc’s development team opted to create the new version of World Traveler in Java.
The Java version of World Traveler took Psiloc about four months to develop, and the work was done by a small team of developers. Psiloc’s developers were pleasantly surprised by how easy it was to do using the Nokia SDK 2.0 for Java. The Light Weight UI Toolkit (LWUIT) helped them speed development by offering a wide range of UI-ready components and the Java APIs let them offer rich applications. They also made use of the emulator included in the SDK and the settings to test in-app purchasing.
Watch this video to find out more about Psiloc’s experience developing for the new Asha Touch devices:
The Asha Touch version of World Traveler initially offers the most popular free services of the Symbian version: a world clock showing local time for specified locations; currency conversions for nearly 185 currencies; and the premium Flight Assistance service, available using Nokia’s in-app purchase service. Psiloc is also prepared to offer other free and premium services to the app’s Asha Touch version in the future. ‘We will watch how the market responds, and then we will decide which other features to move’, Nowanski says.
World Traveler for Nokia Asha Touch phones will be offered on Nokia Store in 18 global languages, among them French (both European and Canadian), Italian, Portuguese (both European and Brazilian), Russian, Spanish, and Ukrainian. With the Asha Touch phones playing an important role in Nokia’s campaign to reach the next billion consumers, that should create quite an encore.