A few decades ago, the popular adage was ‘Don’t judge a book by its cover’. It warned us not to prematurely judge something based on appearances. The modern equivalent of that adage, extrapolated to smartphones, could very well be ‘Don’t judge an app by its screenshots’.
With limited real estate and storage on a majority of low-end smartphones, most users make quick decisions on whether to install an app based on the screenshots and descriptions that an app developer includes on the Google PlayStore or the iOS App Store. While this is a good quality control mechanism to weed out bad apps, some app developers who aren’t photoshop maestros or don’t have the budget to hire graphic designers are placed at a disadvantage. AppLaunchpad aims to level this playing field with its free tool.
AppLaunchpad was founded by the duo of Kamal Kant Kosariya and Neetu Kumari, colleagues at Intel, in August 2016. Being in the app development ecosystem for over three years, the duo knew first-hand that developing app screenshots was the most tedious task that developers faced while trying to launch their app. Kamal noted,“Sometimes, we paid designers and other times, used paid tools. As a developer, building apps was easy for us, but just getting app screenshots was costing us a lot.”
They spoke to others in the app development community and realised that there was no real economical solution that all developers sweared by or could recommend to them. So after much contemplation, Kamal and Neetu decided to develop a solution themselves, and thus, AppLaunchpad came into being. Kamal said,
App release iterations are such frequent tasks that we felt there should definitely be some simpler and cheaper way to do this.
In its essence, AppLaunchpad is a web tool that helps users create visually appealing app screenshots for App Store and Google Play. The founders had got good inputs from their close network of beta testers, and officially launched the tool in mid-September. They then got a lot of positive feedback and suggestions after AppLaunchpad was featured on ProductHunt.
Some of the features of the tool include:
Custom devices- AppLaunchpad’s screenshot builder provides a wide range of original and custom devices for iOS and Android platforms.
Designer Filters- Similar to Instagram’s filters, AppLaunchpad includes different filters for app screenshots to help novice designers select the best combination of colour, device and text style in a few clicks.
Export in all devices- Using AppLaunchpad, developers can export their screenshots in different resolutions as required by App Store and Google Play.
Kamal estimates that over 40,000 screenshots have been created and downloaded on their platform, with about 1,800 app developers actively using AppLaunchpad. Kamal also noted that three Fortune 500 companies- Alibaba, Wal-Mart and Reliance (JIO)- use their tool.
There are over one million apps each on Google Play and App Store, and according to market estimates, over 4,000 new app releases and app updates happen every day across both platforms, but most developers face difficulties uploading or updating high quality screenshots.
Google recently acquired Launchkit, a paid screenshot builder tool, and the founder noted that they would be shutting down their service in July 2017, as a part of their transition to the Developer Products Group at Google. Kamal hence noted that their launch window for AppLaunchpad was ideal as they have been able to get many Launchkit users onto their platform. Fastlane, which was acquired by Twitter in October 2015, also operates in this space. Positioned as an automation tool, Fastlane helps developers release their iOS and Android apps quickly by generating screenshots, dealing with code signing and releasing the app.
AppLaunchpad is currently a free tool without ads, and Kamal and Neetu aim to keep it that way for the near future. Their long term aim is to release a freemium version, with all the basic functionalities free and premium features being charged for, once they have sufficient traction.