Interview with the Creators of Wertago Android App
Dec 31, 2008 7:36 AM –
Are you a night-lifer and have a T-Mobile G1 or Android powered device? Then Wertago should be in your arsenal! Find hot venues, meet up with friends and find other party-goers like you with this app. We caught up with the busy ADC winning team to interview them about their Android App Wertago.
AndroidTapp.com: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
We’re a group of friends who got together to compete in the Android Developer Challenge (ADC). It’s amazing to realize it’s now been over a year since we got the ball rolling…
AndroidTapp.com: What did you do with the money won from the Android Developer Challenge?
We actually haven’t received the winnings yet, but we’ll distribute most of it to the ADC team members and leave the rest in the kitty for operating and development costs.
AndroidTapp.com: Why did you create Wertago?
Originally we were taking our time brainstorming ideas for the ADC. One night, while thinking about where to go for the evening, we started talking about how there’s no real way to know whether a party or venue is good on a given night, how dynamic and changeable nightlife can be from one hour to the next, and how it would be great to have a real-time window into what’s going on at venues throughout the city… It wasn’t far into that conversation when the idea of Wertago was born.
AndroidTapp.com: What technology did you use in creating your App and why?
We used the features promised by the Android platform… Location-based services, Google Maps API, rich UI libraries, touch-screen interface, etc., etc.
AndroidTapp.com: Can you tell us about future feature enhancements with Wertago?
We’re keen on giving users what they want or need in order to have a good time. So we pay attention to what they have to say. We reply to pretty much every email or feedback sent to us. So in some sense we’ll go where our users want us to go or where we see that we can offer them a better experience.
AndroidTapp.com: What did you really like about creating Apps on the Android platform?
A somewhat parochial answer might be the simple fact that Android development is java-based. That made it much easier for us to jump into ADC, since we were all experienced and comfortable with java. More generally, it’s the sense of possibility more than anything else that excites us. These new mobile platforms like Android and iPhone are so versatile and powerful, and their very new-ness means the playing field is wide open and level. That’s incredible. There are now very few limitations regarding what you can offer users, and it’s fun to see what people are coming up with. And it’s exciting, too, because everything is moving so fast.
AndroidTapp.com: What are some things you would like to see improved with Android?
You’d probably get a different answer from each member of the group. Looking backward, I think we’d all agree UI layout/development was kind of painful and time-consuming, and the default appearance of some UI widgets is sometimes uninspiring (and that’s a substantial improvement over the early SDKs).
Looking forward, sure, there are some areas for improvement, but really we’re just focused on what we currently have to work with, which is more than enough to keep us busy. We pay attention to the improvements that are coming to Android, but otherwise we just don’t spend too much time wishing for this or that.
AndroidTapp.com: 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). Certainly a store is better than no store. The fact that everybody is moving in that direction makes that clear. The difference between Android Market and iPhone’s App Store, in terms of control issues, is less important than other salient differences between the two platforms generally. The coming availability of Android on all carriers, the openness of Android with respect to who can stick it on a new device, show the strengths of the more open model. But Apple has its own strengths, which are equally impressive. We’re glad they both exist and that they’re trying different things. I have an iPhone and a G1, and I use and enjoy both.
AndroidTapp.com: Do you have plans on releasing Apps for other markets (i.e. iPhone, Windows Mobile, Blackberry, etc.)?
Other than Wertago, no plans…
AndroidTapp.com: What is your Opinion on the state of the Rating/Feedback system in the App Market?
The fact that you can’t access any of it except via the phone is a little frustrating. I guess we’re fine with the basic Rating since ours is pretty good (solidly in the 4-star realm, I believe). The popularity ranking is, to say the least, opaque. But without knowing more, we won’t criticize it. But we’ll note that Wertago suffers a little in the popularity calculation because, even if those who do use it love it, we appeal to a narrower demographic–nightlifers–than, for example, a weather app.
AndroidTapp.com: Must-have Android Apps?
Wertago, obviously… We’ve gotten great feedback from our users, a lot of them absolutely love it, and we ourselves have been pleasantly surprised at how helpful Wertago can be when you’re looking for a new place to try. In NY recently, I used Wertago to find Blue Owl, a small E. Village spot that turned out to be just right for the occasion. Obviously, Wertago isn’t for everyone, but for those who do like nightlife and give us a try, I think we provide a lot of value already and show a lot of promise for the future as we get more and more users. We’ve already heard of people finding DJing gigs or getting dates using Wertago, and that’s all in addition to helping people simply figure out where to go.
As for other apps, I don’t use many, to be honest. Gmail and gtalk are great to have at your side, of course, but generally speaking, on both Android and iPhone, I haven’t yet seen anything like a killer app to get excited about. It might well be that no stand-alone app will produce that level of excitement or revolutionary user experience (at least for me). That might have to wait for more interconnectedness among apps. When things mature and settle a bit, I can imagine intents being used more widely to stitch together a truly revolutionary user experience, not organized from the top down by some omniscient meta-developer, but rather by the bottom-up growth of apps that leverage the excellence of other “neighboring” apps to create a seamless user experience that is far greater than the sum of its parts.
AndroidTapp.com: What advice would you give to another aspiring mobile application developer?
First, recognize that it’ll probably take longer than you think. Related, remember that polish takes time; the difference between an app that works and an app that’s ready for release can be substantial. Second, just do it and try to have fun. Don’t get discouraged, and recognize that working on one idea will lead to more ideas, and from there, it’s an endless cycle of creativity. You’ll lament that you don’t have the time to pursue all your ideas.
AndroidTapp.com: Can you tell us what future Android Apps you have brewing?
We’re just focusing on making Wertago better right now. Any other projects we might have thought up just aren’t on our radar right now.
Thanks Wertago team! Don’t forget to check out our full Android App Review of Wertago! Also visit them at Wertago.com