Interview with 2ergo, Developer of The Guardian iPhone App

The iPhone App Review recently spoke with Chris Brassington, Group Managing Director of development studio 2ergo. He shares his experiences developing one of the most successful paid news apps on the App Store – The Guardian.

1) How long have 2ergo been designing apps for the iPhone?
We’ve been in the iPhone app development business for over a year.  Our first application was launched in Australia in February 2009.  Since then, we’ve developed iPhone applications for Rightmove, Arsenal Football Club and The Guardian in the UK, as well as FOX Business in the U.S., and Cricket Australia in partnership with Vodafone Hutchison Australia, with quite a few more on the way.  Most of these apps went to the top of their categories in the iTunes App Store within the first week of release and were selected as “Featured Apps” at release.  The Rightmove and Arsenal FC apps were also featured in the “Best of 2009” chart.

2) 2ergo has partnered with big names in the past like FOX News, National Geographic and The National Guard to bring apps to mobile platforms. What were the initial successes that lead to these deals?
We’ve been working with large media companies for many years now helping them to extend their reach to mobile phones through mobile websites and interactive messaging campaigns.  Creating applications for the iPhone and other smartphones is the next step in a brand’s evolution to mobile, and we’re excited to be able to provide these services to our clients. As well as designing and developing iPhone apps, 2ergo’s product portfolio includes an innovative suite of mobile publishing, content management, interactive messaging, ticketing and couponing, mobile payment, and security solutions to deliver a comprehensive, 360 degree approach to mobile marketing and mobile customer communications.

3) How much work is involved in bringing an app like The Guardian to the App Store? Can you give an indication of the number of developers on the team?
Each application is different, but 2ergo has an in-house team for design, development and QA of smartphone applications.  This allows us to leverage our past experience to create effective designs that are technically scalable and 100% reliable.

4) Some high-profile magazines recently brought to iPhone such as GQ and Esquire have chosen a pay-per-issue distribution method, whereas The Guardian has adopted a once-off fee – how did you come to this decision? How do you think this decision has affected your sales?
The decision regarding how to monetize the application was made by The Guardian.

5) 2ergo develop iPhone apps on behalf of other companies – to what extent are you also involved in the promotion and marketing of your products for your clients?
We offer marketing and PR support to the extent that it’s required by the client.  We’ve had success getting our clients’ iPhone applications mentioned in the press by working in close partnership with our clients’ PR and marketing teams, throughout the launch and beyond, depending upon their individual requirements.

6) With over 100,000 apps now available, what do you believe it takes to succeed in the App Store? Do you have any advice for developers new to the iPhone market?
With any application, it can tough to break through the clutter, but it’s important to develop an application that is useful, easy and fun to use for the end user. Our clients typically have strong brand names, and we can help them leverage that to bring their audience to the mobile channel.

Apps have put brands straight into the hands, hearts and minds of their core customers, their popularity proven as more than 100,000 apps are now available in the iPhone App store. This is only set to rise as more and more consumers choose smartphones. Brands have fallen over themselves to create buzzworthy apps, but the best apps – and those that will achieve cut through as the market grows – will be those that deliver the best consumer experience and give the end user something useful rather than gimmicky.

7) Where do you see the app market in 12 months?
We expect to see more advanced applications as enabling technologies from the carriers and device manufacturers become available, and brands will take advantage of this to drive more consumer attachment and value. Consumers will be willing to pay for useful applications, but they’ll become more selective about which apps they maintain on their devices. App stores will become better at helping users find and share the best and most useful apps. Finally, we expect to see more devices enter the market which support apps but are not necessarily phones.

8) Are there any new titles from 2ergo in the pipeline?
Yes! We have a few in the works that we’re developing for our clients, but we can’t talk about them just yet.

The Guardian is available now for download on iTunes.

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