CIO East Africa (Nairobi)

Kenya: Nokia Targets APP Developers With Imaging SDK 1.1

Kenyan developers are set to benefit from the introduction of the latest version of the Nokia Imaging Software Development Kit (SDK) which will enable them to create imaging-based apps that will run from devices to tablets as well as desktop PCs, with the same code.

With the Nokia Imaging SDK 1.1, developers will have access to a powerful library of exciting image manipulation tools, which makes creating the next generation of imaging apps for Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8.1 devices quicker and easier. Designed from the ground up with performance and a low memory footprint in mind, Nokia's Developer Relations lead in East Africa, Moses Sitati, said the library's functions don't put a strain on the user's device, which makes editing high resolution images swift and engaging.

Since the company launched the first SDK in July last year, the company says more than 1,500 apps soon appeared employing the technology. With the new update, developers will be able to embed features usually reserved for 'higher-end' Lumia devices which means zooming and rotating will be much more fluid fashion on devices such as the Lumia 520. Sitati challenged the Kenyan developer community to take advantage of the new imaging software development kit to bring local consumers truly world-class imaging experiences.

"It's the same technology used in Nokia's own apps that we're bringing to the SDK. Our team has really been able to optimise the technology so that the kind of image-centric functionality seen on higher-end Lumias is now possible in a very fluid fashion, even on a device like the Lumia 520, which is quite remarkable in this industry when you compare to some of the competitors. This tool blurs the line between products such as the Lumia 1020 and the Lumia 520," said Sitati.

With the new update, even more Lumia owners are in store for increased photographic potential, as outlined by its key features below:

Support for Windows 8.1 - desktop and RT

The shared API now allows Windows 8.1 desktop computers to create compatible software using the SDK.

Optimised performance = smother running

Thanks to the SDK, developers can now embed features usually reserved for 'higher-end' Lumias. This means, zooming and rotating in a much more fluid fashion on more affordable devices.

The ability to add Lens Blur (or 'Bokeh') and 'Single Image HDR' effects to images

The same Nokia technology is used by all imaging apps.

From the team that created apps such as Nokia Storyteller and Creative Studio, this library brings the same underlying technology to developers. With a single API call, developers can build similar 'wow' experiences such as the Lumia's ability to effortlessly reframe and freely rotate pictures taken with a 41MP camera.

Kenyan based app developers make millions out of Windows and Nokia app store

Mobile app developers under the Windows and Nokia platforms are finally making money out of their creations with top Kenyan apps seeing over 5 million downloads to date.

These are apps such as tuvitu which has by developer 5 million downloads with only one year on the app store while most surprising is Shoot Scorpion on the series 40 which in just one quarter has almost clocked 1 million downloads.

According to Nokia's developer engagement, innovation and corporate relations manager Moses Sitati this has been made possible by assisting developers to recognize interest areas for users while at the same time focus on a global user audience.

"When most developers join us many have a local focus with apps mainly meant for the local audience. However with the mentoring that we give them we help them identify areas they can easily monetize and apps that will interest more people," he says.

Sitati says that the Windows app store currently has hundreds of Kenyan apps from about 100 developers who were invited to build apps for Nokia through partnerships with Mlab, universities and independent developers.

He adds that the Nokia apps merchandising and promotions have made it easier to find them in the app store has also increased the downloads.

"We have developers who are making as much as $5000 a month easy through creating their apps for a niche market. We are however noticing a challenge in creation of games up that require more training and higher skill level," he adds.

Normally training for games development takes between 6 and 10 weeks as compared to other apps that takes less than 6 weeks.

Sitati says that the area has a lot of potential with one of the few developers who has been creating such apps making about $600 a day.

Most of this money is received from advertisement revenue while some is made from charging for apps as well as endorsement from various partners.

One such app that has benefitted from endorsement was the Mdundo music app which was made available in all Huawei 4 Africa Windows devices following a partnership between Huawei and the startup.

Above all Nokia's general manager Bruce Howe says apps on Nokia app store will continue to have an edge over others in other platforms as the company continues to encourage high quality apps especially with the company launching more phablets into the market.

"We unlike other platforms are more focused on quality more than the volume. We have about 200,000 apps in the Nokia app store which by no means is a small figure but above all they are all top notch," he says.

A majority of downloads have been from apps targeting Asha devices although a sizeable number is from Lumia devices as well.

Of the most downloaded apps include those that offer news and entertainment while games top the list.

Nokia has partnership with a number of incubation hubs in Nairobi including iHub and M-lab which help it engage developers for critical projects as well as for competitions.

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