Back in May 2010 I wrote a blog post “Why Zain/Bharti should launch an App Store“. It was my belief that creating a mobile app economy in Kenya could catalyse the growth of software for export in East Africa especially for young mobile developer like myself. At that time many of us (developers) were pushing Safaricom to open up the MPesa API or create an app store where we could upload our mobile applications and presumably directly access their huge subscriber base.
The problem was, though developers such as James Mwai of AroundMe were getting thousands upon thousands of downloads on app stores such as the Nokia
Ovi store it was quite a challenge to monetize the applications and therefore there was no incentive for developers to publish applications.
Well a lot has changed a year later developers now have various methods of monetizing applications through platforms such as InMobi and Google Admob which provide local facilities for integrating Ads as well as integration with offline mobile payment solutions like PesaPay(@CrowdPesa).
Things got much better when Virtual City Ltd winners of last year 1 million dollar Nokia Challenge launched among many other things their Hewani Life App store www.Hewani.co.ke. During their live launch event at the Fox Theatres in Sarit Center C.E.O John Waibochi unleashed the platform with a suite of 400 applications that will change the way we live.
This is a good move as its bound to localize this lucrative and untapped market and lower the barrier to entry for upcoming developers.
You can follow HewaniLife on @HewaniLife on Twitter.