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Google Developers Group

Hi all,

Ron May, creator of the infamous May Report http://www.themayreport.com is still trying to understand the basics of Mobile Apps and he asked me a few questions about what is involved. I can answer many of them but I thought I'd pose these questions to the Chicago Android Community to see if we can get some experts to weigh in. I'm going to take your answers and send them to Ron for publication in the report. Please feel free to give me your name and a link to your website or Linkedin Page for inclusion also. Many thanks to this community for your opinions. 

-Melanie Adcock melanie_adcock@msn.com

1. What are the steps involved in "launching an app"?
2. Specifically, does the app reside on a server or in the cloud?
3. How is the word disseminated that the app has been launched?
4. Does the person launching the app have any on-going responsibilities after the app is launched such as troubleshooting and maintenance?
5. Does the person or company launching the app make money on it and if so, how?
6. How many apps are there now for the Droid and the iPhone? Where can one get a list of them?

Tags: App, cloud, launch, maintenance, questions, server, troubleshooting

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Prelude:  I'm answering this with the android / iphone / w7 platforms in mind, as those are the largest and most widely available today.  (Well except the Windows 7 Platform, but I feel like that's gaining popularity).
Native Apps vs Web Apps:

Native apps are apps that are bought from the specific manufacturer's online marketplace (Described below), installed into the phone's OS and run from the phone.  These apps have a wider set of features that they can access compared to Web Apps because they are running within the OS.  
Web Apps are created in HTML / PHP / JS (Doesn't have to necessarily be PHP server-side)  and are hosted completely on the web server.  To access the app, the user needs to hit its URL in the phone's browser, or create a shortcut icon on his phone to access the URL.  These apps are usually limited in what phone resources they can access, (accelerometer, location, etc).
1. Launching an App:

Launching a native app" means submitting it to Apple's App Store (For Iphone), Android Market (Android Phones) or Windows App Hub (Windows 6.5 /7).
The application approval process and guidelines for each of these are pretty rigorous, and you can read about the submission process and learn some development here:
Launching an app successfully also requires marketing.  During the submission, you need to write up a nice description and have marketable screenshots to entice people to buy the app.  I will get into other kinds of marketing on 3. 
2. Specifically, does the app reside on a server or in the cloud?

The app itself (if it's a native app) is hosted in the marketplace (for whichever system it's developed for), then downloaded and installed on the phone's OS.  From that point on, it can still be heavily reliant on the internet (Think Facebook App) or not need internet access at all (Think video games with no multiplayer).  Usually apps that move a lot of data to and from the web interact with a cloud server for scalability and stability purposes.  
3. How is the word disseminated that the app has been launched?

I'm no expert at the marketing, but I would say the usual ways:  Twitter, Facebook, Phone specific blogs, etc.  It's also nice to have a landing page about your app that you can direct people to, that way you don't have to fit into the Market's design to market your app, but just port the user when he is ready to download it.  
Eventually, once your app hits a certain amount of downloads, you will have reviews and rating of your app that you can show off, and will fuel further purchases.  If you're lucky, you get into the top 25 apps, and then you're golden :)
4.  Does the person launching the app have any on-going responsibilities after the app is launched such as troubleshooting and maintenance?

If it's an app that works with a cloud server online, man you better make sure that infrastructure is smooth and flawless.  Mobile users don't like to wait, and don't always have the best web connection.  So you need to get your stuff together server side, and keep it smooth.  As for updates, you want to update your apps to work with the newest version of the OS and be backwards compatible, but I don't think any updates are required (unless you have a big security hole in your app for some reason).
 
5. Does the person or company launching the app make money on it and if so, how?

Not sure about Android or w7, but for Apple there is a certain fee to get a developer account and submit apps.  Apple also takes a cut of your sales in the App Store.  But beyond that, you can make money though charging a price for the app, or running ads in the app. (Admob).  Or you can have a free version that runs ads and a priced version that doesn't.  This is more of a business plan discussion.
6. How many apps are there now for the Droid and the iPhone? Where can one get a list of them?

This is an estimate:
Great questions by the way!  
-Maksim Pecherskiy
-MAKSIMIZE.com

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