Mac App Store

donnacha

Member
Bluestack looks very interesting, thanks for drawing my attention to it Mike. That could be a great solution for a lot of people if I understand your licensing terms correctly and it is possible to use an iOS license to run the Android version. My main argument for a "real" Mac App Store version, however, is that it would be a more visible solution, resulting in more sales on both Mac and iOS. In particular, one of the recent device announcements makes me think that running Pleco simultaneously on both platforms could become very popular, I will explain why further down.

Yes, I can imagine that, despite being able the use the same underlying code, the Mac UI would need to be radically different from the touch interface. Given the amount of developers who cross between both platforms, I wonder if commercial libraries or services exist that make porting easier?

I'm not sure if Windows Phone 8 can be described as a coup quite yet. The design looks interesting and, as a consumer, it would be extremely beneficial to have a third major player in the mobile OS market but, so far, they haven't managed to make a dent - usage figures released today (http://allthingsd.com/20120920/the-smartphone-os-race-broken-down-by-carrier/) shows Windows (all mobile varieties combined) remaining stubbornly at 1% and we still don't have prices or release dates for the much-anticipated Surface tablet or even Nokia's upcoming phones. Between iOS at the high-end, the heavily-subsidized Kindle Fire at the low-end and Android at all points in between, I am not sure where Windows Phone is going to gain traction - the corporate market, perhaps? But, then again, even that market has radically changed in the past five years, with most businesses now giving their employees a choice of mobile or running BYOD schemes, scuppering BlackBerry in favor of iOS.

Obviously, Windows on the desktop/laptop is going to remain a huge market but, until they gain some sort of traction in mobile, the ability to recompile between the two seems to be a rather empty gain. Also, I question the logic of using the same OS for two such radically different form factors, rather than maintaining two separate, specialized OSes as Apple has done. I suspect that is a decision that will haunt Windows UI and performance for many years to come and, surely, as a developer, you would end up spending just as much time dealing with UI issues to cater to both form factors anyway?

I have just finished reading your wonderfully detailed February Announcement post, that is a valuable insight into just how many considerations you have to juggle and the best explanation I have ever read of the benefits of having an Android version, something that is all too easy to lose sight of in an iOS-dominated city like mine. I hope that, 7 months in, the Android version is selling well and reaching those markets for whom iOS is a barrier.

I am very glad to hear, though, that you are still busily adding new features to the iOS version. For me, the most interesting announcement last week was the new iPod Touch which will be extremely thin, feature the same impressive screen as the iPhone 5 and include advanced features such as Siri. From a Pleco perspective, it has a very good autofocus camera and a fast A5 chip, the same as the iPhone 4S, so, for the first time, you've got a relatively cheap, contract-free and extremely light iOS device that is ideal for running Pleco's OCR feature. I am convinced that this will be the best-selling iPod yet because it is so capable, because it has matured as a gaming platform and because it is finally technically comparable to the latest iphone but cheaper, less complicated to buy and much more widely available. Previous generations of iPod Touch have sold 82m combined and there are no comparable non-phone Android or Windows Mobile devices.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, I think that this new iPod Touch might lay the ground for high sales of an official Mac version of Pleco, because I guess that a lot of people would choose to use it as a hand-held ancillary to the work they are doing on their Mac, especially if iCloud, Dropbox or WiFi sharing makes it easy to fling data between the two. There is also the dark horse of the rumored iPad Mini, I suspect that will have the same camera, a faster A5X chip and a similarly low contract-free price, so, that too could become a popular hand-held ancillary to a Mac version of Pleco.

Anyway, keep up the good work, you've clearly got an amazing product on your hands :)
 

mikelove

皇帝
Staff member
donnacha said:
Yes, I can imagine that, despite being able the use the same underlying code, the Mac UI would need to be radically different from the touch interface. Given the amount of developers who cross between both platforms, I wonder if commercial libraries or services exist that make porting easier?
They do, but every previous attempt we've made to outsource anything beyond a relatively-confined subset of our design (like typography or icons) have proven unsuccessful - Pleco is just too complicated and subtle for a designer who hasn't spent years working with it to properly juggle it all.

donnacha said:
I'm not sure if Windows Phone 8 can be described as a coup quite yet. The design looks interesting and, as a consumer, it would be extremely beneficial to have a third major player in the mobile OS market but, so far, they haven't managed to make a dent - usage figures released today (http://allthingsd.com/20120920/the-smar ... y-carrier/) shows Windows (all mobile varieties combined) remaining stubbornly at 1% and we still don't have prices or release dates for the much-anticipated Surface tablet or even Nokia's upcoming phones. Between iOS at the high-end, the heavily-subsidized Kindle Fire at the low-end and Android at all points in between, I am not sure where Windows Phone is going to gain traction - the corporate market, perhaps? But, then again, even that market has radically changed in the past five years, with most businesses now giving their employees a choice of mobile or running BYOD schemes, scuppering BlackBerry in favor of iOS.
I don't know exactly where their market is either, and it'll most likely be better for Pleco if WP8 crashes and burns - if people aren't buying Windows Phones then they're buying some other platform we already support.

But I think Microsoft may have an opening in that it's much easier for them to bribe cell carriers / electronics stores / etc to push Windows Phone than it is for Google to do so with Android - if your typical Verizon clerk is getting a $100 check from Microsoft every time he sells somebody a Windows Phone, he's going to push a whole lot of Windows Phones, even more so if his bosses are also being well-compensated (as it seems like they will be) and if they're similarly pushing WP on the front page of their website / in their TV ads / etc. The carriers push Android over iPhone now largely for financial reasons, and that means their loyalty can easily be bought.

donnacha said:
Obviously, Windows on the desktop/laptop is going to remain a huge market but, until they gain some sort of traction in mobile, the ability to recompile between the two seems to be a rather empty gain. Also, I question the logic of using the same OS for two such radically different form factors, rather than maintaining two separate, specialized OSes as Apple has done. I suspect that is a decision that will haunt Windows UI and performance for many years to come and, surely, as a developer, you would end up spending just as much time dealing with UI issues to cater to both form factors anyway?
They've basically stuck a tablet UI on top of Windows, from what I can tell - it won't be a great desktop UI, and for some applications it'll be downright silly, but it seems like the upshot of it is that if we simply optimize around Windows phones and tablets, we can cover desktops too and offer something that holds up fine against the also-needlessly-tablet-optimized Win8 versions of Office et al. They're making Windows desktop apps a bit worse in order to compel developers to write Windows tablet apps. But the upshot is that we can make a ported tablet UI on OS X and have people complain that it feels like a cheap iPad port, or we can make a ported tablet UI on Windows and have it look just as nice as Microsoft's own apps.

donnacha said:
I have just finished reading your wonderfully detailed February Announcement post, that is a valuable insight into just how many considerations you have to juggle and the best explanation I have ever read of the benefits of having an Android version, something that is all too easy to lose sight of in an iOS-dominated city like mine. I hope that, 7 months in, the Android version is selling well and reaching those markets for whom iOS is a barrier.
Not as well as we'd like, though we're optimistic that our now-in-beta-testing Android-4.0-optimized update will kick loose some extra sales (more polished = more expensive-looking).

donnacha said:
I am very glad to hear, though, that you are still busily adding new features to the iOS version. For me, the most interesting announcement last week was the new iPod Touch which will be extremely thin, feature the same impressive screen as the iPhone 5 and include advanced features such as Siri. From a Pleco perspective, it has a very good autofocus camera and a fast A5 chip, the same as the iPhone 4S, so, for the first time, you've got a relatively cheap, contract-free and extremely light iOS device that is ideal for running Pleco's OCR feature. I am convinced that this will be the best-selling iPod yet because it is so capable, because it has matured as a gaming platform and because it is finally technically comparable to the latest iphone but cheaper, less complicated to buy and much more widely available. Previous generations of iPod Touch have sold 82m combined and there are no comparable non-phone Android or Windows Mobile devices.
I'm not sure if it'll be enough to counter the general trend of everybody getting smartphones - this may be the last major redesign of the Touch, in fact - but it should be an interesting option in the near term at least. Certainly looking forward to seeing what it does for OCR sales.

donnacha said:
As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, I think that this new iPod Touch might lay the ground for high sales of an official Mac version of Pleco, because I guess that a lot of people would choose to use it as a hand-held ancillary to the work they are doing on their Mac, especially if iCloud, Dropbox or WiFi sharing makes it easy to fling data between the two. There is also the dark horse of the rumored iPad Mini, I suspect that will have the same camera, a faster A5X chip and a similarly low contract-free price, so, that too could become a popular hand-held ancillary to a Mac version of Pleco.
Perhaps, but I don't think that necessarily has to involve a desktop - more and more people are switching many of their computing tasks over to iPads, so getting iPad/iPhone sync working well (as we're in the process of doing) is much more important. Just in general, aside from easy document sharing (which really just requires us to add support for Dropbox or somesuch) I'm not convinced that there's all that much that one could do with Pleco on a desktop that one can't already do with it on an iPad, and I suspect that most of the people who would potentially be interested in a Pleco for Mac already own iPads.

donnacha said:
Anyway, keep up the good work, you've clearly got an amazing product on your hands
Thanks!
 

donnacha

Member
Your point about not necessarily needing the desktop - on reflection, I think that is probably true; I have noticed how much more I am doing on my iPad than I ever assumed would be convenient, I obviously haven't quite shaken off the desktop mentality but, no, you're right, a Mac version of Pleco is not necessary, it would merely be a convenience that, as you say, could be provided just as well through improved document sharing.

I predict that the Touch or similar "iPhone-without-the-phone" will be around for as long the current carrier-subsidy model continues, allowing Apple to charge an artificially high premium for their phones. The Touch allows them to clean up at the low-end and snuff out hand-held gaming competitors, while charging double the price for the iPhone, whose only real differentiator is the ability to use cellular networks. It will be interesting, though, to see how they price the iPad Mini in relation to the Touch.

Yes, I've heard that the Android app market is very tough but it does seem that Google are starting to call the shots more, hopefully resulting in less fragmentation, faster upgrade transitions and a more cohesive marketplace, although I believe that the Android demographic will always be less inclined to pay for software.

Thank you for engaging with my questions and I look forward to becoming a happy customer just as soon as my next credit card billing date rolls over :D
 

Bendy-Ren

举人
For those of us who don't have iPads, a reader/flashcard/dictionary combo for OS X would be a godsend.

I'm continually frustrated with the limitations of OS X's built-in dictionary app, and have yet to find a good flashcard app to rival Pleco's system, tailored to Chinese as it is. Wenlin is the only thing comparable that I know about, and it's $180. No thanks.

Other than making a new GUI for mouse instead of touch, is there really that much in the way? You could have a program that does everything Wenlin does, but better, and WAY cheaper, and steal their entire market overnight. You could put it on the Mac app store for $20 - $30 and make a killing.

I think you are making a mistake if you assume everyone with an iPhone/iPod Touch also owns an iPad. There is a huge untapped market there.
 

mikelove

皇帝
Staff member
Bendy-Ren said:
Other than making a new GUI for mouse instead of touch, is there really that much in the way?
It's still a lot of work, and we're behind schedule on so many other things that the last thing we need now is yet another new product to do. And everything I've heard suggests that Mac App Store sales are scarcely a blip compared to iOS sales for most of the developers who use both.

Bendy-Ren said:
You could have a program that does everything Wenlin does, but better, and WAY cheaper, and steal their entire market overnight. You could put it on the Mac app store for $20 - $30 and make a killing.
There are a lot of things Wenlin does that we don't do (and couldn't easily do), but beyond that, we actually have a great relationship with Wenlin - like Skritter, they're kind of a "frenemy" in that we're technically competitors but are generally happy to collaborate on things when we can. We license both the ABC dictionary and our stroke order diagram data through Wenlin, and while that would not by itself bar us from doing a desktop version, it certainly doesn't make the prospect of "steal[ing] their entire market overnight" sound enticing.
 

Bendy-Ren

举人
mikelove said:
There are a lot of things Wenlin does that we don't do (and couldn't easily do), but beyond that, we actually have a great relationship with Wenlin - like Skritter, they're kind of a "frenemy" in that we're technically competitors but are generally happy to collaborate on things when we can. We license both the ABC dictionary and our stroke order diagram data through Wenlin, and while that would not by itself bar us from doing a desktop version, it certainly doesn't make the prospect of "steal[ing] their entire market overnight" sound enticing.
Sorry if that came across wrong, I don't actually have it out for Wenlin. I just meant that you could potentially have a very successful product without much effort on your part. It would certainly be very useful for a lot of people, myself included, who love your iOS app but don't have the big bucks to shell out for Wenlin or an iPad.

I understand that the timing is right and you have a lot on your hands, but I really hope this is something you'll consider.
 

baillies

Member
Has anyone tried bluestacks on the surface pro? I know it is early days but I would be interested to know if it works.
 
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