iOS or Android? And Accessible Systems


iOS or Android? Most aspiring application developers I meet have one question on top of their Q&A lists - iOS or Android? Steve Marks, a Stanford graduate who built the simple, elegant Shotgun app, claims that the key question is who are you selling to? In many markets where phones and data plans are bundled together, android phones are much more affordable than the iPhone and it's customers less likely to spend on apps. The logic breaks down in India where bundling is still rather rare and is encouraging a large number of young developers to explore the Android platform.

Android development booming in India: One such team is Gaurang Kanvinde and Saurabh Gupta, both IIT Bombay alumni who started Accessible Systems last year, which aims to make information more accessible to the sight-challenged. It's often said that for a true entrepreneur, there is no other road visible but the one his idea leads to. This definitely holds true for Gaurang, who launched a web-based news service for the blind in 2006. Primarily due to the lack of a developed market for it, Gaurang had to close it down but remained convinced of its significant value.

How ideas morph over time: The core of the algorithm was software that identified and separated different components of news (html, pdf, jpeg, doc, etc) and decluttered and simplified them into a format that could be read by screen readers for the blind. By mid-2011, they realized that decluttering was valuable to sighted users too!

DocPort was launched in May allowing users to convert documents to ePub format to read on their phones and tablets. Meanwhile, they also partnered with Ideal Group. Their next product, Ideal ePub Creator is a powerful app that enhances reading experience on phones and tablets - it converts the cumbersome pdf and doc format files into eBooks in the widely used ePub format.

Accessible Systems recently won the Ncpdep Mphasis Design Awards 2011, awarded to those who have been working to increase accesibility for disabled people and have reached 5K downloads within a month of launching their new ePUB creator.

Barriers to scale - smart people with a passion!: "We are looking for creative people who enjoy solving problems and programming. They must also share our passions to make the world more equitable and accessible!" said Saurabh Gupta when asked what they were looking for next to scale up.

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