Developing Minds Want to Know: Q&A with Sand Studio’s tech lead about AirDroid

by Brad Spirrison

AirDroid launched on Android towards the end of November, 2011. This notable app not only found its way into our Apps of the Week, it also appeared in our list of Best Android Apps of 2011. AirDroid lets you access the content and apps on your Android device directly over Wi-Fi from a web browser. There are no extra hoops to jump through, or additional software to install.

Sand Studio is still in stealth mode so a little hesitant about offering too much public info, but we were fortunate enough to communicate with the Android Tech Lead there, known only as Camel for now. In this edition of Developing Minds Want to Know, Camel explains the thought process behind the creation of AirDroid, some of the app’s latest features, how the team hopes to make money and what the future may hold.


Key company facts:

Name and Title: Camel (camel@airdroid.com), Android Tech Lead

Company: Sand Studio

Location: California

Size (Revenue and/or Employees): About 10 employees; no revenue yet.

Primary Apps/Platforms: AirDroid (Android only)


APPOLICIOUS: What inspired you to become an app creator?

CAMEL: The iPhone and Android. We see dramatic disruptions and huge opportunities in the mobile industry from the rapid growth of the iPhone and Android.

Here’s a video from the AirDroid team showing the app in action:

APPO: How long have you been developing apps, and what is the most significant difference between now and when you began?

C: Ever since the introduction of the first generation of iPhone. We think user structure may have undergone the most significant changes. Several years ago, most users are more like "geeks", but now, more and more users are the people one may constantly interact with in daily life.

APPO: What apps (outside of those that you develop) inspire you the most and why?

C: We don't remember there are one or two particular apps that have inspired us the most to create AirDroid. Frankly speaking, AirDroid is heavily influenced by iOS, though it's an Android app.

APPO: Where do you see the most innovation in the app sector?

C: The consistent unique features of mobile devices, such as camera, speaker, microphone, always on, always physically nearby, etc. This doesn't exist on PCs.

APPO: How do you harness that innovation in your own titles?

C: We recently added a new feature in AirDroid to enable users to log in by scanning a QR code on web.airdroid.com. It's very cool and fast.

APPO: In such a crowded space, explain how you generate awareness and drive downloads to your applications.

C: Mostly through word of mouth. Our principle is focusing on product and relying on our users to spread it to their friends.

APPO: What are the biggest technical constraints that exist today in the app sector?

C: AirDroid has a global user base and we think maybe the speed of mobile Internet connection is a biggest constraint. The connection speed is lagging behind the development of the hardware and software of mobile devices.

APPO: How do you (or will you) make money from your application?

C: AirDroid is still in its very early stage and there are no business model yet - no paid version and no ads. The team is backed by well known VC and we have lots of patience. We are quite optimistic that a sustainable business model will follow if we can keep the growth rate and maintain the current high user satisfaction level.

APPO: What advice do you have to those working on their first applications?

C: Focus on the product, try to solve real problems and deliver a "WOW!" experience to the users. By the way, beautiful designs are greatly appreciated by Android users.

APPO: Where do you see the app sector one year from now? Five years from now?

C: The diversity of user needs will continue to grow and there will be more opportunities for developers with different background to create great solutions to satisfy those needs.

Download the Appolicious Android app