Meet Pikura, the photo challenges app that is getting 10x more downloads on Windows Phone

By fpatton

November 20, 2013   Comments

Pablo Moncunill and Joe Fernández are recent graduates of Computer Science with a passion for software development. They met at university, where they first began working together on software development projects. Since then, they’ve shown no signs of stopping.

Pikura creators

Pikura creators Joe Fernández (left) and Pablo Moncunill (right)

Their app Pikura won our first Nokia Create Mini Mission, which challenged developers to add exciting new features to their app using the Nokia Imaging SDK. We caught up with Joe and Pablo to find out more.

First things first. How did you get into developing?

We were both fascinated when our first computers appeared in our homes. Back then, it was a machine that seemed to have limitless possibilities, and it still feels that way today. In order to understand the computer, and make it do everything we wanted it to, we needed to learn programming.

Development allows anyone from anywhere in the world to develop all types of cool ideas, ideas that have the potential to be used by millions and even disrupt industries. That’s probably the aspect that we enjoy most.

Next up: tell us more about Pikura

Pikura is a photo challenges app. Any user can create a challenge, and anyone can complete a challenge - all they need to do is upload a photo that proves that they dared to complete that challenge. The photos can be voted on, and the photo with the most votes wins the challenge. We’re adding gamification to mobile photography, and we also believe it’s a great way to get photos on demand.

So what inspired Pikura?

We were looking to build an app in the photography space. Photography in one of the most popular categories of mobile apps, and one where we see constant innovation.

Instagram made photo sharing on mobile easy, and started a new trend with photo filters. Snapchat introduced instant temporality to photos. Now DualShot is innovating by combining photos from the front and the back camera. And of course Nokia has some pretty unique innovative photo apps like Nokia Camera.

We wanted to bring another innovative concept into photo mobile apps, and believe we’re doing so by adding gamification to photos through the challenges structure.

Tell us about the update you did for the Mini Mission.

In Pikura there are hundreds of creative challenges, and photos were generally being uploaded to those challenges without any effects or enhancements. We wanted to test if photo filters could be a popular feature for the photos uploaded to the challenges, which we did by adding a few filters from the Nokia Imaging SDK.

After a few weeks of measuring, we can say that filters are indeed a popular feature of Pikura, and we’ll be adding many more in the near future. We also use the Imaging SDK to offer image cropping and resizing.

Why did you choose this Mini Mission?

Mini Mission 1 seemed as though it was designed for us. We’d just released Pikura on the Windows Phone Store, but didn’t have the time to add features from the Imaging SDK to it. The Mini Mission was a great incentive to power the app with some of the great features and capabilities offered by the Imaging SDK.

How are you finding the Nokia Create contest so far?

It’s an amazing contest! We love the Mini Missions’ structure because it gives you the incentive to add cool features to your app to make it more appealing to your users. We also like that the prizes contains components to help your app grow, like promotion or advertising credits.

You are now a finalist for the Grand Prize. Which of the Grand Prize components are you the most excited about?

The tickets to Mobile World Congress 2014. We had the opportunity to attend Nokia’s App Developer Conference at Mobile World Congress 2013 and it was a great event to get inspired about Windows Phone app development and network with fellow Windows Phone and Asha developers.

We are also especially excited for the advertising credit prize, which would give Pikura an important promotional boost now that we’re starting this journey.

Will you be entering any of the other Nokia Create Missions?

Yes, we hope to! We are looking to add support to Pikura for the new Lumia large screens and we are translating the app into additional languages.

Why did you choose Windows Phone?

Pikura is an innovative concept in the photography app space, one we wanted to test with a high number of users, and especially with fans of mobile photography. Getting noticed on the iOS App Store or Google Play can be especially hard without a marketing campaign because of the enormous numbers of app found there. We saw on Windows Phone the opportunity for new, quality apps like Pikura to stand out.

Windows Phone devices, especially Nokia, have the best camera technology on smartphones, both on the hardware and software sides, attracting a large number of enthusiastic mobile photographers.

We have a large number of quality users on Windows Phone, providing us with some really valuable feedback. We also released Pikura for Android, but the numbers of downloads on Windows Phone are more than 10x higher than on Android.

Developers relations teams both from Nokia and Microsoft have been superb, making the development process easier and providing us with useful feedback along the way.

Last but not least, tell us: what’s the one dev tool you couldn’t live without?

That would be Visual Studio. It’s the perfect IDE to unleash your creativity as a developer. It’s become even better with the latest update, Visual Studio 2013.

We are also heavy users of notebooks where we can jot down inspirations or ideas for the app, draw and quickly prototype their structure.

Find out more about Joe and Pablo and their app Pikura via the website.

Stay tuned for an interview with Martin Zikmund, winner of Mini Mission 2 with his app Counter-Strike C4, and don’t forget to check back next week, when we’ll be announcing the winners of Mini Missions 3 and 4!

Excited and inspired to work on your own app? Mini Missions 5 and 6 are still open for entries, closing 29th November. For full details about all our Nokia Create Missions - including how you can get involved and win all sorts of exciting prizes, click here.