Those that believe an idea can not be re-invented need to see Cloud.TV’s work. With HD Widgets, this developer was able to push aside well-established competitors like Fancy Widgets and Beautiful Widgets to become one of the most popular and acclaimed Android apps in its category.
This was accomplished by mixing variety, aesthetics, customization and flexibility. HD Widgets offers a flurry of clock, weather and settings widgets in different sizes, colors and looks. It is definitely one of those must-see applications for every Android user. We could not pass up the chance to sit with one of the Cloud.TV developers with our 10 Burning Questions, so let’s dive in!
Phandroid: How did you get started with Android Development?
Michael: We started because we wanted to build a music player and android was the only viable platform to build a 3rd party music player.
Phandroid: What phone do you personally use?
Michael: I use HTC One X and Radley uses a Samsung Galaxy S3 (both white). We change every few months though to keep up with the latest and greatest.
Phandroid: What was your biggest challenge in developing HD Widgets and Cloudskipper?
Michael: The biggest challenge developing HD Widgets and Cloudskipper is fragmentation. Thousands of different devices with vastly different specs, different android versions, custom ui layers, and screen sizes from tiny mdpi screens to 10″ tablets is not easy,. HD Widgets has the additional challenge of dealing with making things look great on all the different manufacturer created and 3rd party launchers (see http://cloud.tv/blog/2012/why-do-my-widgets-look-so/). After the HD Widgets 3.0 launch it took us about 2 weeks to get a handle on most of the fragmentation issues.
Cloudskipper has it’s own challenges. Dealing with all the different media types and the weirdness of android media management sucks up a lot of time.
Phandroid: Cloud.tv is very well known for its great support team. How did you manage to get such reputation? Do you spend much of your time responding to your users’ e-mails?
Michael: User feedback is integral in making our products what they are. We read and try to respond to all feedback ourselves. Lately, we’ve had a large influx in email because of the HDW3 release. We get about 100 emails a day. It takes us a few hours to get through them.
Phandroid: Monetization – In terms of driving revenue, can you tell us about your experience, your strategy, and the overall potential?
Michael: The advice I would give to those looking to make money on Android is to understand what users pay for on Android. Beyond games, most of the top paid apps take advantage of features unique to android or offer a large amount of customization (or both in our case). The paid market is full of early adopters. We’re seeing 45% ICS adoption of HD Widgets, while the market average is 7%. Take advantage of that.
Phandroid: What do you want to see in future versions of Android?
Michael: ICS was a huge improvement, but I still think Android could use more polish. There are certain details like a decent dialer that iOS users take for granted, but Google and the manufacturers still haven’t figured out how to get right.
Phandroid: Do you develop for other platforms and how does Android compare to those platforms?
Michael: Just Android ATM.
Phandroid: If you could give one tip to fellow Android Developers, what would it be?
Michael: Listen to your users.
Phandroid: Tell us one thing that most people don’t know about you.
Michael: I got a D in handwriting when I was in 3rd grade.
Phandroid: On your sidebar, do you use weather or power control toggles? ;)
Michael: Both! We both have a dozen device in front of us with various configurations =)
We know you guys love all these awesome widgets, so please support Cloud.TV by checking out its apps in the Google Play Store. These are very good applications, so you might end up being one of the many fans. HD Widgets continues to be my go-to widget app, so we definitely recommend it.
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