Smule co-founder and CCO Dr. Ge Wang opines on iOS development

Wed, Jan 26, 2011


With apps like Ocarina and I am T-Pain to their credit, Smule has been behind some of the biggest and most popular iPhone apps to date. Smule’s most recent effort is an app called Magic Fiddle.

Not too long ago, TUAW caught up with Smule co-founder and Chief Creative Officer Dr. Ge Wang to glean some information regarding the direction Smule is headed and what projects they have in the pipeline.

With a bevy of popular apps under their belt, Wang explains, quite interestingly, that Magic Fiddle was actually the fastest app they’ve released to reach #1 on the paid iPad app chart. “We saw off the charts engagement with the app,” Wang said, “So it’s been really positive.”

When asked about the complexity of Magic Fiddle and where apps on the iTunes App Store are headed, Wang explained:

“Part of it is that we are learning, and so we can apply to what we’ve learned to build more sophisticated apps. The other part of it is just the changing landscape of the App Store. You can still make these very minimal apps where you get the one thing right and have it do very well. But we not only want to get people on ramped to our product, but we want to keep them engaged. And so sometimes by fleshing out the experience more with additional features, additional interactions or various modes, like having a tutorial in Magic Fiddle for example, we can really ensure people not only download the app, but they have fun with it and have fun with it for a long time.”

As we’ve reported before, Smule has no current plans to port their line of popular apps over to Android due to monetization concerns. On the contrary, Smule has been doing just fine with the paid-model approach on iTunes. Still, the company isn’t completely closed off to the idea of experimenting with the freemium business model.

“We think there’s definitely some goodness in freemium,” Wang said. “We’ve actually started experimenting with that idea, and while nothing’s concrete yet, I can say stay tuned.” A while back, Smule offered its Ocarania app for free as part of a 1-week promotion, an initiative which Wang says “worked out well.”

And as for what Smule has coming up in the pipeline? Well, Wang wasn’t too forthcoming, though he did admit that the app will be big on “the community angle.”

Given their current catalogue of apps, it’s a safe bet that whatever Smule comes up with will impress and surprise us all.


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