Gaining ground in the app market

[media-credit name=”Bryan Butterfield and Jake McIntosh | The Signpost” align=”alignright” width=”600″][/media-credit]

Senior Matthew Rice displays screenshots of three of his five apps.

According to Robert Hilton, a computer science professor at Weber State University, many people have ideas for mobile phone apps, but to create one takes dedication and knowledge of computer programming.

One student, senior Matthew Rice, said developing his first app was a frustrating experience.  The first four apps Rice developed have been modestly successful within the Android market. However, with the launch of his latest app, “Audio Control,” Rice has generated close to 3,000 downloads in one month. The app allows users to create profiles with their phone’s volume settings.

“So maybe you have a profile when you’re at the gym, when you’re driving in the car or when you’re sleeping, and you don’t want your phone really loud,” Rice said.

Although there are other apps in the market that allow downloaders to manage their audio settings, Rice said he believes his will be successful because it provides tools that other apps do not.

Despite its uniqueness and large number of downloads, Rice said the most difficult part is marketing and advertising the app.

“He figured out a lot of that on his own to try to figure out the best way to make money on these apps,” Hilton. said “He kept records on them and so forth.”

For developers who do not have funds to market their apps, Rice believes that one of the best ways to inform consumers about an app is to be mentioned in a blog.

“I just had a guy commit to doing it, and he will review my app,” Rice said. “It’s really about that. If you can get it on a popular blog, you can get 100,000 downloads in a day.”

Senior Jake Wilson was enrolled in an app development course with Rice and was impressed with his apps.

“Some of the internal code is pretty advanced,” Wilson said. “He did a really good job, especially with the user interface work.”

Rice will graduate with his bachelor’s of science in software engineering this spring.  Although he said he is one and a half semesters away from receiving a bachelor’s degree in psychology, Rice switched majors because “it was a better fit.”

Rice said he loves developing and will stay in Utah once he graduates although he does not plan on creating apps independently to make a living.

“It would be extremely unlikely to make your own apps and make money at it,” Rice said. “[I want to get] a consistent high-paying job and then do this kind of thing on the side for fun when I have time.”

For those who have ideas for apps and have money to invest but do not have experience in programming, Rice recommended to go to a website such as where developers can view requests.

“Post your information; what it is, and what it’s for. They are side jobs for developers, a way to make 2,600 bucks or so.”

Rice advised those who would like to learn how to develop apps to “be persistent.”

“It’s a lot of trial and error trying to figure out how things fit together,” Rice said. “You really have to stick with it and push through.”