Developer Interview: gReadie app developer Chris Sainty

TB: Are you planning to build gReadie for Windows8? Any sync possibilities being explored between the phone and the desktop?

CS: I am very interested in pursuing gReadie on Windows 8. gReadie v1 was available at launch for WP7. gReadie v2 was available at launch for WP7.5. I would be very happy to keep this trend alive. From my early investigations of the Windows 8 APIs, it looks trivially easy for a developer to share settings and state for their app between devices.  Hopefully, this leads to some interesting sync capabilities.

TB: How is the freemium model working out? Would you do it any other way? Can you talk about the number of users you have? Trial vs Paid?

CS: Currently gReadie is provided free with ads (trial), or ad-free for $1.49 USD. Revenue-wise, the ad model really doesn’t work very well for gReadie. In a year, ad revenue has been less than $100. Only in the last few weeks has the Microsoft advertising been made available outside the US; hopefully, this improves revenue. There isn’t a very good alternative for trials at the moment. As a user, I find functionality-crippled trials frustrating, as you need to take the developer’s word that those features will work as advertised once purchased. In addition to that, there are still many markets in the world that have no capacity to purchase full versions, notably China, so you cut those users off from functionality in your app.

Trials aside, the paid version sees a conversion rate of just below 20%. This has actually dropped a little since the release of Mango, but in raw numbers we are doing much, much better with Mango. It has certainly sparked new interest in the platform, and I believe in apps generally. It would seem that a lot of users used the upgrade as an excuse to go out and see what else was out there in the marketplace.

TB: Have you seen a pattern of what brings in your users? Being featured in the marketplace, for example? Has Mango helped distinctly?

CS: To my knowledge, gReadie has never been featured on the marketplace anywhere in the world *Though*, I know from one of my other apps (QTV, an Australian TV Guide), which has been featured here in Australia, that being featured does wonders for your downloads. I find any notable press coverage translates to downloads. gReadie was one of the first Mango apps released. This was picked up by a number of the main WP7 news sites, and resulted in the biggest single day downloads and sales that gReadie has had yet. Another spike was caused by a Brandon Watson retweet that mentioned gReadie. Anything that gets the name of the app in front of peoples faces will tend to result in them at least giving it a try.

[Ed: There are a couple of times where I have in fact seen gReadie featured in the US marketplace, although not as the showcased app with the custom background and prominence.]

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Romit Mehta

Romit writes about mobile news and gadgets, and is currently a Windows Phone owner (Nokia Lumia 920). Find him on twitter @TheRomit. Personal site is