Birding Apps – Part 1. Too Many Choices?

I’m often asked what is the best birding app to get? The question was easy to answer in 2008 when there was just one app for the iPhone. Today typing “bird apps” into the Google search box will get over 41,000,000 hits. Typing “bird” into the Apple App Store and you’ll get hundreds of results. Does the world really need so many apps for birding? Are there that many birders and do they really care?

The answer to both questions is yes. Recent figures put the size of the birding industry at over $68 billion. This includes travel, optics, camping equipment, books and yes, birding apps. The number of people interested enough in birds to call it a hobby is in the millions.

With so much money being spent would you think the price of an app matters to birders? Let me tell you about the background of our app and how arriving at its price was such a challenge. This little history should be of interest to not just birders but any company that develops apps for smart phones or tablets.

Are 5,000 Apps Too Many?

When we launched iBird in December of 2008 the iPhone had only opened the gates to app developers for 6 months. In that short time there was rumored to be around 5,000 apps in the Apple app store. The majority of these were either free or sold for 99 cents. I was coming off a depressing experience of having launched our first birding app, Winged Explorer (WE) for the Windows Mobile platform, the dominant player in 2008, at $99. It launched in July of 2008 and a month later its sales were dismal. I was ready to give up.

 Tune in tomorrow to learn how to price an app.

Hello iBirders!

I’m happy to welcome you to our new iBird Blog.  The idea for this blog came out of my frustration. Let me explain. First in case you’ve been sleeping under a rock (some birders I know actually sleep in what I bet you would agree is a cave) a “blog” is a way for a blogger (that would be me in this case) to write about stuff, publish it on the web, and have people leave comments about that stuff. So maybe now you can guess my frustration came from not having a good way to talk with our iBird customers. Its my hope this blog will allow me to communicate all kinds of interesting topics about iBird including:

  • Cool things we are working on for future updates to iBird
  • Answers important to all iBird customers
  • New technology in birding, what I call “naturetech”
  • The best places to bird, the best birding books to read, etc.
  • What to do if you get a ticket for J-walking

Okay that last bullet was not serious but I want to make sure you are reading this, otherwise what’s the point?

I’ll publish this message to the blog and ask you all to leave comments. To give some direction to the comments, here are some of the things I would like to hear from you:

  • Is this blog a good idea?
  • What would you like me to post on the blog?
  • What do you love and hate about iBird (when I say hate I mean it tongue in cheek; I will delete hate mail but I do want to know what you don’t like as well as what you do like.)

Thanks for taking the time to read this and hopefully leave some thoughts.

Mitchell Waite
Publisher, Mitch Waite Group