2012 was a slow year for me as a developer. This is primarily because any app development I do comes after my family and my day job, both of which required some extra attention over the past year. We were blessed with the arrival of our new baby girl, a move from Austin, Texas to Menlo Park, CA in May, and a new role at work. I also attempted a less than successful transition from webOS to iOS development, which killed my excitement for building apps at the time.
I find myself itching to get back in the game for 2013.
A Little Luck in the Past – webOS
In addition to the Hot Apps contests, I was making ~$1k each month on webOS apps for about a year. Today, the nearly dead platform has a similar revenue stream, yielding only a hundred bucks or so every few months.
No So Lucking Moving to iOS with Appcelerator
Thinking it was extremely clever and certain it would succeed, I spent several weeks developing it and getting it just right for this untapped market. A market from which I extracted less than $100 before making the app free. This is when I realized that many of my apps on webOS got traction, simply because they showed up in the “What’s New” feed for a couple days and the ~2 million Palm Pre owners happened to frequent that section in the app catalog. On iOS, you have thousands of new apps each day. You are immediately buried in a sea of nearly a million apps.
So, I quit. My $99 iOS Developer Membership expired and I decided not to renew it.
Is BlackBerry 10 the next webOS?
For 2013, I have a few options
- Learn how to market iOS apps and compete in that bloody ocean. Maybe learn Objective C.
- Take a chance that RIM will provide a platform with enough users and few developers/apps
- Develop for Android… for some reason this option is not attractive to me
A quick peak at developer.blackberry.com makes it look like I could leverage some existing, but rusty, C/C++ skills or web dev tools. Learning the tool chain and their API framework would be the heavy lifting of course.
By “the next webOS”, I mean will there be so few apps that creating a hit will be worth the time sink in a possibly dead platform?
Ramping up on a new platform is a pain, but spending time developing apps that no one ever finds is not so stellar either. Not sure what I will do yet. What do you think?
On a related note, here is an entertaining graphic about the downfall of RIM that someone shared with me (click the image for the source).
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