Gizmodo's Developers Cubed series offers a behind the scenes look into Australia’s up and coming dev scene. This week: We chat with Perth-based Adapptor, about Kinect, Android, playful apps and how to make sure you get some work done when there's a microbrewery right downstairs.
Developers! Developers! Developers! It's not just Steve Ballmer’s favourite sweat-laden catchcry! If you'd like to be featured in Developers Cubed, shoot a note to alex.kidman at alluremedia.com.au. I'd love to hear from you.
Who are you and where do you work? I'm Richard Giles from Adapptor. I work for a mobile development firm based in The Old Swan Brewery in Perth. It's a hard life having to develop fun and useful mobile solutions while working above a microbrewery and on the edge of the Swan River, but we're a dedicated crew!
Why do we know you? What have you created? We recently launched Currently Tech News which is shooting up the Android Market Place chart. It's a mobile app that analyses Twitter to determine what the breaking news headlines are and displays them in a pop-chart, and includes notifications for really popular headlines that break quickly.
Another recent project we helped develop is Experience WA for Tourism Western Australia and HOST in Sydney. It's not your average tourism app because it uses user preferences to provide inspirational suggestions for things to do around the whole of Western Australia. It uses location and takes into account the day's weather when it determines the suggestions.
We've also done some really fun things with the Microsoft Kinect that include replacing people's heads with light globes and controlling a Chuditch by running as fast as you can on the spot. You can see action shots for these in our projects page.
What are you working on right now? Right now we're developing more fun and useful Kinect apps that include trying on clothing and another that allows someone to fly through maps with simple gestures.
We're also adding some additional features for Currently that we think will make staying on top of the latest tech news a lot easier for people.
In amongst all that we're working with a bunch of other Android and iOS apps for a range of different companies in industries like health, telecommunications, and government.
How did you get into development? Our whole team has been involved in development in a variety of ways. Our engineers all had their own projects building apps before they even started working at Adapptor. We all live and breathe technology, and we all see it more as a serious hobby than work. So we've been involved in it in some way our whole lives.
The company itself was formed when Marc Loveridge, our Managing Director, realised that mobile was an important part of everyone's day. He'd recently sold his web development company, and decided to channel his energy into Adapptor.
What do you think about the rise and rise of App Stores? How has it influenced your titles? That's a great question, and to do it justice it really requires a very detailed answer. Essentially though, the rise of app stores has provided a way for companies to monetise the networked world, and also offered consumers a much simpler way to access what they want where they want.
However, the greatest influence that app stores have had are on intelligent design for useful or playful applications. I read a great quote a few months back by Ted Shadler, who said, "As consumers of business applications, we now expect them to be as simple as Angry Birds, as useful as WebEx on iPad, and as convenient as Google Maps or the American Airlines iPhone app." That's true of much more than just business applications.
So the app store has allowed the public to expect apps to be simple, useful, convenient and even playful. That's a powerful thing for tech consumers, and it now drives everything we do at Adapptor.
What’s your favourite app that you didn’t create? I find Flipboard ultra useful. When I get some downtime I usually refer to it like I would have a magazine a few years ago. I get a great snapshot of what's going on in the tech industry and amongst my friends by adding in feeds from my Twitter and Facebook accounts.
Another new app I discovered the other day for my iPad is Shuffler.fm. I love music, and it lets me discover tunes in a variety of genres and play them while I read about the songs or artists; it's a pretty awesome way to surf music.
What phone do you use? Why? Personally I carry a HTC Desire, iPhone 4 and an iPad 2 around with me most days. Everyone in our office usually has at least two devices they have with them all day.
What advice do you have for budding Aussie developers out there? I usually give the same advice to everyone, which is to make something happen. The major difference between success and failure is that the successful few have actually gone and made something happen.