Melon Mobile: Year 2013 in review

By | December 20, 2013

year in review_bigIn 2013, the main focus in our own mobile portfolio was on the Travel & Navigation apps: GPS Voice Navigation, Hotels 4D and Speed Cameras. All three grew significantly in features, downloads and popularity.  On the custom development front, we also had exciting and successful projects, most notably the fun winter-sports focused app MAPtoSNOW.

Let’s have a look back at Melon Mobile’s most memorable moments this past year. Many of them involved you, our friends and partners. These interactions are what really brings meaning and satisfaction to what we do and this is why we are happy to reminisce.

GPS Voice Navigation – Life stranger than a soap opera

This year brought a number of ups and one very big down for this leading Windows Phone app. It all started at the beginning of March, when GPS Voice Navigation was already at the top of the Navigation category and was about to go much higher. We released the Windows Phone 8 version, which included the much-awaited offline maps, 3D maps and night mode. The app started receiving even more appreciation, good reviews and feedback from our customers and was climbing up the Top Overall list.

However, a few months later, in September, it was unpublished from the Windows Phone Store due to the terms of use of one of our map providers. GPS Voice Navigation was off the shelf for close to two months. In order to release the app again, we had to remove the content from one of our original map and routing providers. With it, also went the map caching, 3D maps and night mode options. We were ready with this new version at the end of October. On the plus side, it included another much requested feature, “Insert via,” which allowed adding intermediate points on your route. After the release of the new, a little humbler version, we made the app free for some time to be fair to everyone who had previously purchased it.  It was then that we realized just how useful our app was to the Windows Phone users, as it was downloaded over 100,000 times in just two weeks.

After this “deal” ended, we also released a new, free version of the application, GPS Voice Navigation Free, with a limited, but still very useful, set of features.

During November and December, GPS Voice Navigation spent almost three weeks as the #1 paid app overall in the Windows Phone Store! Today it is the #2 paid app, preceded only by the Facebook app. Besides a tremendous number of downloads, the app has also earned a 4/5 star rating.

Last but not least, GPS Voice Navigation made its way to some of the most prestigious tech sites: Gizmodo and WPCentral.

Hotels 4D – More than just an app

Launched in 2012 as a Windows Phone app, Hotels 4D expanded to iOS (iPhone & iPad), Android (phones & tablets) and web at the beginning of this year. We also fully integrated four hotel-booking partners and added Google as an information provider. Our database has more than tripled since the beginning to its current offering of over 770,000 hotels worldwide.

In October, Hotels 4D won The Best Travel operators & Booking apps award at the Australian Mobile Awards 2013. What’s more, the application was featured in the Best of the Best selection of the same awards as Best Windows app.

Earlier this year, Hotels 4D also won the Tourism, hotel and restaurant management and Functional design and usability awards, as well as the special jury award for Best Website at the 2013 Bulgarian Web Awards. 

A major Hotels 4D update for Windows Phone and iOS is scheduled for release in the final week of this year. A new design, hotel deals, user profiles, landmark information, rate and review option, community info and helpful tourist tips are some of the features to come with this version. Next in line is the update for Android expected at the end of February 2014 and the first release for BlackBerry 10.

Speed Cameras – more powerful and better looking

Launched exactly one year ago, Speed Cameras proved to be one of our most successful products in terms of user interest (downloads and usage). Less than a month after its initial release, the app was at the number 6 place in the Top Free Overall category at the Windows Phone Store, right next to WhatsApp, Facebook, YouTube and Skype.

Speed Cameras was updated back in June with an option for users to add alerts. Every user can now insert new cameras and vote for existing ones, which greatly increases the reliability and accuracy of the app’s data.

Two new releases are expected between Christmas and New Year:

  1. Speed Cameras Pro – the new app for Windows Phone 8 will include offline cameras, offline maps and a complete redesign.
  2. Speed Cameras (an update) –completely redesigned, this new version will be launched together with Speed Cameras Pro.

Support to remain just as friendly – but other things will change

Yet another major change happened this year in the dynamic mobile world. At the beginning of October, Nokia announced developers will no longer be able to update or submit new app releases for Symbian as of January 01, 2014. BlackBerry OS was also discontinued following the release of the new Blackberry 10 platform.

After many years of being a devoted Symbian and BlackBerry developer, the moment to say a final goodbye to these two platforms has come. We will stop offering technical support for our Symbian and Blackberry applications via e-mail and all other channels from the beginning of next year (January 1).

With over 7 million downloads worldwide, our Symbian apps will remain a wonderful, powerful and positive memory in Melon Mobile’s history. However, it is time for us to move on and focus on providing the best software for Android, iOS and Windows Phone.

Custom development projects

This year, our mobile teams took part in a number of interesting mobile projects for a variety of clients, from start-ups to established businesses. One of the most exciting projects we took part in was developing the MAPtoSNOW app for Android and iOS for the energetic and inspiring German start-up, MapCase. MAPtoSNOW’s main goal is to add extra value and enjoyment to practicing winter sports. It has already acquired a vast community of satisfied users and partnering resorts.


happy holidaysThank you all for an amazing 2013! We wish you a wonderful holiday season and a 2014 full of happiness!

Let’s stay in touch next year, too!

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