Thursday, January 12, 2012

AppAware powered by 42matters: from research to business practice

In 2010 Andrea Girardello presented AppAware for the first time at MobileHCI 2010 [1]. The idea of logging mobile installations on one's Android phone and share it with others was well received but kind of hard to sell to the research community. Thus, the next step was to evaluate and prove that by measuring app installations we actually could get more precise quality information about the long-tail of apps than the Android market provides by user reviews [2].
Driven by the idea of research in the large (see also other's experience here [3]), several ideas of predicting successful apps, applying recommendation systems, and learning app usage in the wild emerged but could never pursued as a research project: the continuous user growth (from 30k to 100k) pulled down our server, AppAware had to move to the cloud and emails flooded Andrea's inbox when the service was not available.
Struggling with how-does-all-this-maintenance-related-to-a-PhD and how-do-fund-this-project a decision was made: Andrea Girardello, Andreas Budde, Ivan Delchev and Bo Wang founded 42matters AG.
Focus on publications and research questions was substituted by the driving thrill of user growth and business exploitation. Together with Dani Arielli the old app has been completely re-designed and learning and sharing about apps with friends has become the new focus (download here).
Today, the endless nights of development and hard work have been rewarded by "The best business ideas" award of Venture.
The ceremony was opened by a keynote of Peter Brabek-Lemathe, chairman of Nestle. He gave some advice to the young entrepreneurs: understand societal trends, envision what consumers will want, think global straight-away, innovate and renovate your products every year, stop thinking you can do it yourself, and be competitive within your team or throw a stone.
Good luck to 42matters AG, Android users unite on AppAware and let's conduct research with even more data!

[1] A. Girardello, F. Michahelles, AppAware: Which Mobile Applications Are Hot? In demonstrations at Mobile HCI 2010, September 2010, Lisbon, Portugal. [PDF]
[2] A. Girardello, F., Michahelles:Explicit and Implicit Ratings for Mobile Applications, Best Paper at "3. Workshop Digitale Soziale Netzeʺ an der 40. Jahrestagung der Gesellschaft für Informatik, Leipzig, September, 2010 [PDF]
[3] Niels Henze, Martin Pielot, Benjamin Poppinga, Torben Schinke, Susanne Boll: International Journal of Mobile Human Computer Interaction (IJMHCI), 2011. [PDF]