Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Weather Channel 2.0, great brands, and why the long silence....

Wow, a long time since I last wrote anything in this space!

Lame for a blog, yes I know, but all I can say is that its been an incredibly busy six months for me and for my company Bachmann Software. Bucking the current economic trend, we have literally been inundated with great iPhone application development projects, as well as BlackBerry work and even Android seems to be coming up more and more.

At times I feel like we are trying to drink from a firehose, but one good thing about seeing so many potential projects cross my desk is that we are fortunate to be able to choose some really cool ones. One client in particular, The Weather Channel in Atlanta, has partnered with Bachmann Software now for three years, and during that time we've created most of their native mobile weather applications for BlackBerry, Windows Mobile, Palm and other platforms.

About 6 months ago, TWC tapped us to create their first iPhone application, and while we worked hard to complete it, it was a great experience, and both we and our client were so pleased with the results. TWC for iPhone even enjoyed some time in the top 10 download list on the App Store, and enjoyed excellent reviews.

Last week we completed version 2.0 of The Weather Channel for iPhone, which adds animated radar maps, traffic cams, improved graphics, and many other improvements. It also featured integrated advertising banners (which predictably elicited howls of protest from many users, which I will talk about in an upcoming blog post!)

Seeing great brands and great content like The Weather Channel make their way onto mobile devices is a fairly recent trend, and my belief is that its an important one. For years, third party downloadable applications for mobile devices have been a hodgepodge of titles from companies with unfamiliar names and even individual programmers.

While this has resulted in lots of innovation in the market, from the consumer standpoint my observation has been that finding a good software product is a confusing process. How is a consumer to know that XYZ Software's mousetrap is better than ABC Company's mousetrap? Often it comes down to trial and error, and unfortunately a few bad experiences is enough to sour some smartphone users on the whole idea.

Seeing well known brands and popular content come to market as mobile applications by no means guarantees a quality experience for the user, but its a familiar face in the crowd, and I believe it encourages more users to take the plunge and try out both unfamiliar as well as familiar titles. If an iPhone user has a good experience with The Weather Channel, I think they will be that much more likely to go back to the app store and try out some less familiar titles.

Anyway.....the bottom line is we've been crazy busy and thats a Good Thing, but its high time I recommitted myself to writing my thoughts down on this wonderful crazy insane mobile industry. Expect to see much more activity here!


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