Interview with Michael Hill CEO of PrimoSpot Parking
Oct 26, 2009 7:32 AM –
When I first saw the description about PrimoSpot Parking in the Android Market, I thought… what a cool idea that can be very useful! In an interview with founder and CEO of PrimoSpot Michael Hill, we’ll learn more about the company, service and app for Android!
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I have been a developer for over 15 years. This project was my own idea and has been ongoing for over 2 years. I worked on most of the code for primospot and still make changes all of the time. My background is working in various IT roles for non-profit and for-profit ventures. I have been part of many start-up companies, but this is the first one I have started on my own.
Why did you create your app?
This app is an extension of my web site (service), primospot.com. It helps people park in a more efficient way. The great thing about Android and smartphones in general is it allows us to take our service to the next level of convenience. Utilizing GPS for current location and memory store to remember things like where the customer parked, make these mobile applications a big key to our success.
What technology did you use in creating your App and why?
Google Maps SDK for Android
We need an interactive map to show our on-street and garage data in the best way possible. Showing our dataset is just not as useful.
We are using flurry to track bug / crashes and user usage trends. We are undecided on using Skyhook to non-gps location searches.
About how long did it take to create your App?
We worked on this app part time for about 3 months.
What is a cool uncovered tip or trick you can do with the App?
The google maps API provides us searching with history which was a feature we had to manually implement on the iPhone and the back-end web service.
What other interesting uses can come from the App?
Since the GPS gets a fix so much faster on the Android phones, we decided to make current location on startup ON by default. Other than that we tried to replicate our iPhone offering as much as possible.
Can you tell us about future feature enhancements with your App?
We plan on adding in SMS (and maybe push) reminders. This would allow the users to get a reminder when its time to move their cars. We will also be adding in discounts for the parking garages once we get the contracts in place with the operators.
What did you really like about creating Apps on the Android platform?
The ease of testing out the code on the phone itself. The code signing / provisioning is much easier to deal with than the iPhone platform. Also publishing to the market was a breeze.
What are some things you would like to see improved with Android?
The google maps API needs alot of work. More animations and UI elements offered in the SDK.
What is your opinion of the Android App Market’s distribution method? In comparison Apple’s model (strict control over the iTunes store) or the Windows Mobile model (no store at all).
So far the Android Market distribution model is my favorite. My least favorite part of the iTunes distribution is the wait time for publishing and the reporting is horrible. I like the fact that google checkout lets you see your stats in real-time. We do not currently support WinMo.
What is your Opinion on the state of the Rating/Feedback system in the App Market?
Seems good to me so far. Our app has not been out long enough to form a good opinion.
Do you have plans on releasing Apps for other markets (i.e. iPhone, Windows Mobile, Blackberry, etc.)?
We are planning a BlackBerry version of our parking app next.
Your app is a paid app, why did you choose this model over the free model, and how to you project its success?
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We have a unique offering with our information (hand-built dataset).
A paid app is part of our business model. Our users are willing to pay for the convenience features the mobile apps provide, which helps us to continue adding features and expanding the service to other metropolitan areas.
Must-have Android Apps?
Google places. Very useful.
What advice would you give to another aspiring mobile application developer?
Release early and update often! Test out your app with as many people as possible before releasing.
Can you tell us what future Android Apps you have brewing?
We have a bicycle only version of our app in the works. This new app will be map driven and show the bike lanes, bike racks, and places to get air or a repair.
Thanks Mike for your time and a cool and useful app! Don’t forget to check out the PrimoSpot Parking app for Android we’ve reviewed!!