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.