I'm back in Florida now after visiting the Mother Ship in Golden. We spent a couple of days meeting and plotting, and we've nailed down my marching orders concerning our mobile strategy. Some pretty big news really, so brace yourselves!
First, there will be no "Pro Upgrade" in app purchase to the existing "TheSky HD" that is now available for the iPad on the iTunes store.
Wait just a second on that "flame" button... instead the "TheSky HD" IS going to be the Pro feature set. Customer demand for the pro feature set has been overwhelming, and it IS what we do best, and we have SO MUCH MORE planned for this platform than I can't even talk about right now. So, we've had a little strategy shift and we are going to devote most of our cycles in this direction for the immediate future. For our current core customers, this is exactly what they want to hear.
What about a "star gazer" edition for the non imager/advanced crowd? No, we aren't giving up on that, and we are looking forward to winning over a lot of new converts to the Software Bisque product line. We have a plan for that effort, and it will be rebooted as a separate stand alone product with some input from other partners. Meanwhile, the biggest voice we are hearing is from our advanced users wanting a sophisticated mobile product with features and data sets they are used to on the desktop.
This means, the price of TheSky HD on iPad is going to increase with the next update to the iTunes store, which is planned to be before NEAF in a couple of weeks. The new price will reflect the additional features, and of course our plans for future features, etc. If you already understand how the iTunes app ecosystem works... you've already figured out the next part. Early adopters will actually get the upgrade for free. In fact... this window remains open until we get the new version posted on the iTunes store. Anyone who buys between now and NEAF(ish) at the introductory price of $4.99 will automatically get the upgrade when it rolls out. The biggest new feature is WiFi scope control... and support for this on the Paramounts is being completed as well and will be available by the NEAF time frame as well.
I did say "astro-imager" in that target market didn't I? Tools for imaging and planning, etc. are going to be in the next release, and year's worth of features along those lines are planned, and are actively being developed. Stay tuned...
Android... on the back burner... has been "proof of concept(ed)" (I actually have star charts up on a Kindle Fire HD and a Samsung Galaxy)... and is now going from "warm" to "medium heat". More cycles per week will be going into getting this out the door as well.
As the TV huckster would say, "But wait, there's MORE!"
Yes boys and girls, there IS an iPhone version of TheSky as well, and it also (if all goes well) will be on the iTunes store by NEAF! The iPhone version will also feature telescope control, but will be scaled back a bit from the iPad HD version as necessary due to the smaller screen.
I am beside myself with excitement for the future of our mobile products, and NEAF is going to be very exciting!
Oh... and as an industry icon used to say... "There IS just one more thing...".
But you have to come and see us at NEAF to find out what it is ;-)
03-17-2014 9:47 AM