Winkpass Creations goes from top-selling iOS application to the latest MeeGo* app
Savvy programmers create applications that solve problems and fill needs. Successful programmers reach a broad audience and find ways to monetize their app. Winkpass Creations, Inc. has done both with their top-selling iPeriod*, which debuted in September 2008. Leon Atkinson-Derman, president, and Cheryl Atkinson-Derman, director of product development, co-founded Winkpass Creations, Inc. with the mission to empower women and help them better understand their bodies and recognize health trends. Their app, iPeriod, has been a top healthcare fitness app on the iPhone* since the Apple* Store launched, and the free version of the app gets more than 6 million ad impressions per month.
Their early success has driven them to focus on expanding their audience base by porting iPeriod to more operating systems. This case study provides a look at their experiences porting to Qt, their perspective on the advantages of MeeGo, and their opinions about working with the Intel AppUp® center.
Porting the application over multiple OSs. The original plan was to port the application to Windows*, but early on the team decided to target Linux* as well.
Ensuring a quality user experience on a mobile platform. The team wanted to be sure as they ported the application from Windows to MeeGo they could either maintain or improve the app experience.
Switching to Qt*. Winkpass chose the cross–platform development framework Qt to save time and effort in porting from the iOS version of iPeriod to other platforms.
Joining the Intel AppUp® center. Winkpass joined the program to take advantage of the online tools and developer support to port their application for multiple devices.
Ease of porting. Winkpass targeted Windows with their first release of iPeriod, but Leon Atkinson–Derman says they found that with Qt, "the amount of work to go from Windows to Linux was almost zero. We just basically had to take care of a few little issues in the look of the app."
Great user experience. The company was pleased with the performance of their application on netbooks with MeeGo. "Running the MeeGo version of iPeriod on a netbook is a pleasure as far as responsiveness," says Atkinson–Derman.
Expanded reach. The Intel AppUp® center is the next step for Winkpass to make their apps available to more users. "For us it’s all about getting our products out on as many devices as possible in a forum that’s appealing to users," says Atkinson–Derman. "It has to be a compelling platform for consumers, and MeeGo is."
"There’s a huge amount of content in that app," says Winkpass president Atkinson–Derman of iPeriod. "It’s more complex than some missile guidance programs. It touches on nearly every aspect of computer science.
iPeriod’s visual calendar allows users to view their cycles at a glance. Colorful icons representing mood, flow, cramps, love connections, spotting, notes, and customized icons appear on the calendar as indicated by the user. "The more information you enter into iPeriod, the better it gets in predicting when your next period will be and when you’re fertile," he says.
Porting iPeriod to Windows was the next logical step in growing the business, but the team quickly decided that they wanted to expand to Linux as well. "I’m really more of a Linux person myself in terms of my past experience," says Atkinson–Derman. "Qt was a natural place for us to go." With the depth of in–house experience in Qt, he says the process was smooth and it saved the team unnecessary work.
"We took the iPad* form factor version of iPeriod. The screen resolution there matched up really well with the netbook screen resolutions and the tablet screen resolutions as well." Starting with those views, they recreated them with Qt. "The port was pretty quick. We got the first version into the market within three months."
He says the only tricky part in going from Windows to Linux has been getting the fonts correct and adjusting the imagery of the jpeg screen skins. "We went through and converted them to pings because that plays nicely on both architectures. The only other tradeoff there is that pings tend to be larger in size than jpegs, so we had to go through and tweak the imagery so that they weren’t a memory hog."
Winkpass decided to become an early adopter of MeeGo, the Linux–based open source mobile operating system, and turned to the Intel AppUp® program for the tools and support they needed to make iPeriod available for multiple devices, including netbooks, tablets, handhelds, and more.
"Intel AppUp® was a great opportunity for us," says Atkinson–Derman. "We developed in all of the other major platforms and nobody else has been as responsive. I was really impressed with the ramp–up speed with Intel AppUp® center and the whole development system. Everyone involved has done a miraculous job in pulling it together and making it a competitor in a short period of time."
The Intel AppUp® center support team helped Winkpass navigate the process and answer questions along the way. "There was absolutely zero delay," says Atkinson–Derman. "Intel made it very clear how to package it together and how to hit the different form factors. The engineers there have been really supportive."
Atkinson–Derman says the community forum also played a part. "Every time we had a Qt question, we’d post it and people would answer. It was a nice, targeted community to get the answers we needed to get our app ported to Intel AppUp®."
Winkpass has a simple goal: get their products out on as many devices as possible in a platform that is appealing to users. "MeeGo is that platform," says Atkinson–Derman. "It’s a nice OS. It’s super–responsive. It’s Linux. It can run anything. It’s an open source platform that’s great for everybody."
The early success of iPeriod helped Leon Atkinson–Derman decide to quit his day job and launch Winkpass Creations, Inc. with co–founder Cheryl Atkinson–Derman. "Thanks to iPeriod I’m no longer working for the man," he says. "Now I’m working for the woman." Winkpass currently offers multiple applications, including iPeriod, Knot Guide, Friend Mapper, Running Log, and more. Their newest app is eyeD*, a biometric authentication app for smartphones.
"We see MeeGo as an opportunity to hit a ton of gadget markets all over the place. Over the long run it’s going to be the sensor that’s doing your home automation or it’s going to be [in] your vehicle."
— Leon Atkinson–Derman
President, Winkpass Creations, Inc.
"We developed in all of the other major platforms and nobody else has been as responsive. I was really impressed with the ramp–up speed with Intel AppUp® center and the whole development system. Everyone involved has done a miraculous job in pulling it together and making it a competitor in a short period of time."
— Leon Atkinson–Derman
President, Winkpass Creations, Inc.
The Intel AppUp® center offers the ability to beta test your application before you submit it for validation. Once you’ve uploaded your application and its assets, you can send emails to your beta testers.
"It was like an extra check," says Atkinson–Derman. "Especially with the packaging, it can be easy to make a mistake. It runs through the whole process that the user goes through in downloading and installing your app."
Become a member of the Intel AppUp® center for the free tools and resources you need to develop and sell applications for netbooks and tablets, with support for more devices coming soon. Join today at http://software.intel.com/en-us/appup/join.