App developers in Uganda developing quality apps

March 23, 2014

Entrepreneurial university students in Uganda are filling a void of mobile developers in the country by building and selling apps to the business community and government. While having a chat with an app developer who sought my advise on app he’s working on, I came across plenty of good apps in the kitchen ready to be served in the market in coming months. On average, an app has grown from receiving less than 2,000 three years ago to 10,000 downloads on average. The developer’s community in the country is full of young and well educated male and females whose aim is to take the country IT industry to another level. According to a senior developer I spoke to, various organizations and government institutions have approached them with the view that they would like to buy the app and the IP associated with it, and also hire them both to continue developing it to get it to a first commercial release state. One of the blokes informed me that he has since gone on to work with a local mobile development company, while his fellow teammates have stayed on within the community’s tech hub.

Interestingly and uniquely, an app developer was recently paid more than $20,000 for an app that I must admit will revolutionize the farming sector in Uganda and across the region while another budding app developer has built an app that integrates with the school’s systems, an absolute phenomenon. I loved it but at that time I were looking into a web-based system and one of the features the developer is looking to adopt is a mobile version. My advise beyond technical was that those willing to start companies should overlook the expensive cost to consider applications as a marketing cost rather than software development. One of the challenge young app developers face in Uganda is that some clients compare the cost of a mobile app to a basic website. In my opinion, I think it should not be seen as that because in app marketing and advertising and the presence it can create, if you look at apps with marketing glasses return can be immense. Most of the apps are based on Google’s Android operating system that powers the most popular smartphone brands in Uganda and other parts of Africa where Nokia and BlackBerry used to dominate. In my tutorials, I took the “future Contador Harrison’s” through graphics performance and better rendering of shapes and text.

For the games developers, taking them through usage of images and animation, Khronos OpenGL 3.0 2D and 3D graphics platform proved more popular with developers as most of them have been experiencing challenges with JellyBean OS because its an optional feature that can be used if the underlying device hardware supports it. In addition to the above, I took them through modular digital rights management framework and Google’s VP8 media encoder. Having tutored more than ten features, I wound up with restricted profiles, which allows administrators restrict access to apps and content. An app developer will now be able to finish his development restriction of his app with parental controls targeted at over 18 years to prevent access to mature content to the underage who may download the app from Google Play. I also showed them an app I have been developing for a supermarket and plan to use restrictive control to help deploy tablets as point of sales systems in retail shops and will show product information only.

Contador Harrison