IDEAS hosted Orlando’s first Corona SDK meetup last night, presented by Carlos Icaza. Corona SDK is a development platform which can create apps and games for iPad/iPhone along with Android, Kindle, Nook and soon, MacOS. The biggest draw of Corona is perhaps the simplicty of use. One of their best examples of this can be seen in their “Physics in 5 lines” example on youtube:
After a few rounds of questions, there was talk of some upcoming features (shaders, bitmap manipulation, performance increases, etc.) along with some comparisons to other products out there. The topic of Adobe Flash (and perhaps AIR by proxy) also came up, and it was interesting to hear that for Adobe Photoshop’s 20th anniversary it was actually Corona that was used to make their Photoshop 20th anniversary mobile app (and not Adobe’s own Flash/AIR).
We got some background on Ansca’s history (complete with some interesting stories), along with their ideas for the future. He also shared quite a bit of insight into the world of mobile apps. One of the most striking points for me wasn’t necessarily Corona related – the average iOS (iPad/iPhone/iPod) user spends over $500 per year on apps/accessories/etc while the average Android user spends under $20. The market certainly favors iOS development, and even if Android begins to catch up with Nook and Kindle making headway… they still have a ways to go.
Carlos also went on to explain some ways that in-app purchases, or “freemium” apps are also becoming more popular. The concept here is that instead of charing $1 for a download, and instead of charging for ads, the first level of the game is free and the rest of the levels can be purchased. Or for a non-game app, there could be basic features enabled for free, and then additional features that you pay to unlock. This gives users the ability to play with an app without feeling like they are using a “trial” version. It also opens up for “consumable” objects that can be purchased (like virtual currency).
The meetup went on for around 3 hours, and a lot was covered. It ended on an inspiring note about how mobile development is a new frontier, much like internet development was about 10-20 years ago. Right now their is a pretty level playing field – top apps can be made by anyone from a team of 40 people, to a single 14 yr old kid. To quote (or rather paraphrase) Carlos, “you have to think and act like you are Google or Adobe or EA.”
It seemed somewhat obvious that most of the developers that showed up were already familiar with Corona, so perhaps another more advanced Corona meetup or “hackathon” could be scheduled in the future. It would certainly be a great experience to get some of Orlando’s Corona developers together again!