Meet the Makers: Q&A with Graham Carter of Toddler Teasers

Location: Boise, ID

Notable apps: Toddler Teasers Quizzing ($1.99), Toddler Teasers Shapes (Free), Toddler Teasers Words ($1.99),and Toddler Teasers Sorting ($1.99).

Platforms: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad

Specialty genres: Educational Toddler Games

Company size: 3 in house employees.  Contract graphic designers and developers.

Short description of company: Toddler Teasers came about when two parents realized their 2 year old could use their iPhone better than most adults. Toddler Teasers currently offers many quizzing games and a sorting game for the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. Each game is simple yet visually stimulating and entices the pre-schooler to continue playing by offering rewards as they progress.

How did you and your firm get into the iPhone/mobile app development business?

We started Toddler Teasers when we realized our 2 year old could use our iPhones better than most adults.  I have a background in computer science and my wife has a background in graphic design. Together we designed and coded our initial Toddler Teasers Quizzing app.  I did the voice overs and we used our 2 year olds voice in the app also.  We hoped other parents would share their iPhones and iPod Touches with their toddlers too.We were one of the first to market with educational toddler apps. There have been many companies competing with us since.  There have been hundreds of toddler apps submitted to the App Store since. Many of the apps blatantly copied our apps while nearly all of them copied some of our ideas like our sticker page.  We are still highly competitive and rank well in the app store.

In your opinion, how has the iPhone and Apple’s iTunes App Store changed the media industry?

Apple has created a mobile app market that wasn’t there before. Other platforms that offered apps didn’t see the enthusiasm in their customers that iPhone users have. The average iPhone user downloads many apps.  People had their shiny new iDevice and wanted to use it. When Apple opened up the App Store for developers, they had a great platform with an enthusiastic customer base.

Mobile applications are relatively easy to develop.  They usually have a very specific function which limits the scope of developing a mobile app.  Apple also provides good tools to quickly develop apps.  I believe the vibrant app economy along with the relative ease of development is the reason that there are 100,000+ iPhone developers.  You get mom and pop shops like us competing with Disney and Nickelodeon.

Describe the differences between developing apps for the iPhone, iPad, and other platforms.

Focusing on toddlers as users limits the differences of developing for iPhone vs. iPad.  I believe the iPad, with its larger screen real estate allows for much more in depth applications to be developed.  For example, Apple didn’t develop its iWork suite for iOS until the iPad came out.  For toddlers though, we focus on simplicity instead of depth of applications.  The main difference for us in developing for iPad vs iPhone is you can display higher quality artwork and more icons on the screen.

What factors go into how you ultimately price your apps?

We try to divide our apps up into small chunks so that toddlers can focus on one subject at a time.  This allows us to price most of our apps at $0.99.  We bundle the individual quizzes into related categories with 4 quizzes in each and price them at $1.99.  We try to focus on pricing our apps as competitively as possible by dividing them up like this.

Describe what your dream app for the iPhone/iPad would look like.

I would love to share it with you, but it is currently under development.  🙂  One dream app that I would like to see that I am not currently pursuing would be a personal assistant app like Siri on steroids.  I would like to be able to say things that I could tell a real personal assistant like “Call in the development team for a strategy session” or “Make me reservations for 2 for sushi tonight” or “Call my kid and make sure they will be home by dinner.”

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