An unexpectedly warm reception
I have to say that I’m very surprised at how warmly received Solar Explorer was on the Playbook.
In the 36 hours since the app went live, Solar Explorer has been downloaded approximately 150 times for the Playbook, with about 100 of those in the last 24 hours.
All I can say is: “wow!”.
Android Market sales never came close to that level in the 10-or-so months it’s been available. The best day it ever had was back in early December 2011 when about 45 sales resulted from a huge update to the app that included a major overhaul of the graphics.
Sure, I know it’s probably just the honeymoon period of a new app and sales will settle down once it’s disappeared off whatever “Just In” list App World has, but it’s still a stunning result to see it sell more than twice the copies on it’s first full day on App World, compared to it’s best day on Android Market.
Then again, it may not be too surprising. Android Market has been set up to focus on ad based revenue and deter outright app sales. Google has limited the number of payment methods that can be used to buy apps, they’ve designed the market interface to constantly promote the same high profile apps over and over, at the expense of smaller developers with new ideas, and they are particularly unresponsive when problems occur. Solar Explorer is not the sort of app that Google wants to promote in their marketplace because it’s not suitable for generating on-going ad revenue.
My second app, Exoplanet Explorer will be making an appearance on App World as soon as I get a Playbook. It’s a slightly more complex app than Solar Explorer and I really need to be able to test this one to make sure it works before submitting it for review.
I had a comment today from a Playbook user who remarked how fast the app runs, which is great to hear, especially since I was unable to test it.
One of the reasons why it would run quickly is that Solar Explorer isn’t really an Android port, it’s actually been recompiled into native code for the Playbook. This was the result of developing the app using Shiva, which has a function to export executables for many different platforms, including Android and iOS. In the most recent update of Shiva, Stonetrip added a new button to produce Playbook apps, which turned out to be excellent timing as a few weeks later, on Feb 3, RIM decided to offer a free tablet to app developers that ported an Android app to the Playbook. I’m just glad that RIM expanded the scope of their offer to include native apps, otherwise Solar Explorer wouldn’t have qualified because it’s not really a port.
Another reason why it would be quick is that It’s been optimised to run on my Samsung Galaxy Tab which has pretty much the same hardware as the Playbook. I’ve been told by Stonetrip, the company that makes Shiva, that in their testing the Playbook significantly outperforms the Galaxy Tab, despite them being so similar. Part of the reason for this would probably be the Sasumg crap-ware that’s bundled into the Gingerbread Android ROM. It’s well known that the Galaxy S phone was unreasonably laggy despite having strong hardware, and the Galaxy Tab is just a Galaxy S phone with a 7″ screen.