Apple store: Local firm’s facebook app makes $90,000 in a week

Published: January 29, 2012

The free version of the app launched in July 2011 got 2.5 million downloads. PHOTO: FILE

KARACHI: 

For Apple’s App Store, country of origin for an application does not matter, which gives Pakistani IT companies a level playing ground for capturing a market share while competing with developers from rest of the world without being concerned about the country’s negative perception in the West.

The best example for this is Islamabad-based IT company Smart Web and Mobile (SWAM) Technologies which grossed $90,000 in just one week from its Facebook app with chat for iPhone namely Friends Planet Pro. The figure excludes the 30% cut which goes to Apple.

The firm specialises in creating, developing and designing mobile applications particularly for iPhone and Android-powered phones.

SWAM Tech’s founder and CEO Shahryar Muhammad Khan said it earned $90,000 between December 23 and December 30, 2011, a time when downloads significantly increase because of Christmas and New Year fever, he said.

The development of this software – which Apple featured in its “New and Noteworthy” category – was supervised by Khan who graduated from NUST School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science in 2006 and worked at Stanford University in the US as research scientist for about two years. Muhammad Idris, a FAST graduate, and Naveed Iqbal, a NUST graduate, worked on iPhone and Android versions of the app, respectively.

The free version of the app launched in July 2011 got 2.5 million downloads, Khan said. The paid version of Friends Planet, which was launched a month later, received more than 200,000 downloads for the app that cost $0.99, he added.

The paid version of the software on October 16, 2010 topped the best charts list of iPhone apps in social networking category on topappcharts.com, a third party website that creates charts for best selling apps at Apple’s App Store. It is currently ranked 11 in the same category.

The company’s Facebook app with chat for Android launched earlier this month is currently ranked 37 – up from 70 a couple of weeks ago – in social paid apps category in Android marketplace.

The company, which is hell-bent on upgrading the app – has earned huge success in the highly competitive market of United States for its innovative approach.

Facebook has got an official app for iPhone since 2008, according to Khan, some people still prefer a more user-friendly Friends Planet over the official app because the official app has got lots of problems, for example if a user clicks on one picture  a different picture opens up sometimes.

Facebook had released its official app for the iPhone in July 2008 – when App Store was launched – but did not develop its iPad version until Oct, 2011, Khan said. “So there was a huge opportunity for app developers,” Khan said.

SWAM Tech developed an interface that supports iPad tablet making it easier to use Facebook, Khan said. “We released Facebook for iPad – Friends Planet in April, 2011,” he added. The $0.99 app grossed $30,000 in revenues, he said.

The company is currently working on the universal version of the Facebook app that will cater to both iPhone and iPad. The lite version of the app has already been developed while pro version will be released in a week’s time, Khan said.

“We are constantly updating and adding new features,” Khan said adding, “we want to integrate Twitter in 2.0 version of this app.”

Since Facebook has got 800 million users of which 350 million access it through mobile phones, Khan said, they have got a huge target audience. “Social Role Playing Games for iPhone,” he said, “is next on the list.”

Published in The Express Tribune, January 29th, 2012.

Correction: In an earlier version of this article, appannie.com was erroneously mentioned in place of topappcharts.com. The correction has been made. 

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Reader Comments (21)

  • Lobster
    Jan 29, 2012 - 4:32AM

    Wow!! great guys, wish you luck!

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  • CK
    Jan 29, 2012 - 4:35AM

    Keep it up boys. You make this country proud.Recommend

  • Skin Taj
    Jan 29, 2012 - 4:40AM

    Nice one . Good to know.
    STILL Many people in Pakistan can do it, but they don’t know how to start and tap into this highly paid and lucrative field !!!!!!!!!!!!

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  • Bhatti
    Jan 29, 2012 - 4:52AM

    Way to go boys… Keep it up!! As a Pakistani MAKE THE APPLE GREEN ;)

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  • Jan 29, 2012 - 5:04AM

    WOW. this is some great stuff and inspirational news!

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  • Jan 29, 2012 - 6:26AM

    Well done!

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  • Jan 29, 2012 - 9:17AM

    Great going guys :)

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  • ABC
    Jan 29, 2012 - 9:32AM

    Way to go. There is a huge market for games in apps. I think our software houses need to focus on that too. Just for example where is my water , cut the rope , angry birds probably have millions of downloads for the paid version.

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  • Ali
    Jan 29, 2012 - 10:45AM

    Please go and look at user comments on the app store.

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  • KH
    Jan 29, 2012 - 10:47AM

    Great job….Pakistan surely has got talent and courage, after so much playing on their mind, just perform better and better. Alhamdulillah. It looks like worst situations work as a catalyst for us.

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  • antanu g
    Jan 29, 2012 - 11:10AM

    pakistan has the talent and resources to back on prosperity lane if peace prevails in the region. come on guys….this is the millenium of EAST…. consider What it would be able to achieve if conductive atmosphere is provided to its people…if they are doing so well betwee. the crisis.

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  • Kiosk Hassan
    Jan 29, 2012 - 12:20PM

    Click the app name and read the user comments. This app is a scam. All that money is gained by victims who didn’t read the comments and accidentally bought this horribly defected app and got ripped off, because it doesn’t work and has much more problems than the free version of Facebook. All the comments and reviews of this app have given it a 1/5 star rating. I mean literally every single review has flagged this app as a scam.
    Please go read the reviews for this app and see for yourself.

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  • irfan
    Jan 29, 2012 - 10:21PM

    good job farooq..

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  • xnt
    Jan 30, 2012 - 11:03AM

    wow amazing their app gets 2.5 million downloads, but only 24 likes on their facebook page,

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  • xnt
    Jan 30, 2012 - 11:33AM

    please do some scaming for your fb page as well

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  • Jan 31, 2012 - 10:24AM

    Hey! nice to hear that..keep rocking Pakistanis!

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  • Junaid
    Jan 31, 2012 - 3:08PM

    MashaAllah :)

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  • Cool
    Feb 1, 2012 - 1:43AM

    i am jealous

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  • wasim
    Feb 2, 2012 - 3:29PM

    Great keep on going!

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  • Ali
    Feb 7, 2012 - 11:51AM

    Great mashaAllah. Wish you more success!

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  • taimur
    Feb 21, 2012 - 12:43PM

    @Kiosk Hassan: I haven’t read the reviews yet or used the application (which I will) but i have a gut feeling that these negative reviews have been planted by competitors. This practice is rampant in the mobile app market nowadays as some of my friends who are also in the same business have suffered quite a lot from this practice. So I recommend that you use the app first (if you are willing to pay a dollar) and then form an opinion.

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