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DayZipping founder explains why they traveled to Android first

by Brad Spirrison

Check out Webb Brown's DayZipping profileIf you feel like getting away this Memorial Day weekend, but don’t want the hassle of an airport or any extended travel, you should try downloading the new free DayZipping Android app for ideas closer to home.

DayZipping, which offers a user-generated database of nearby day trips, launched earlier this month at Google I/O. In this edition of Meet the Makers, co-founder Webb Brown explains why his company built its first mobile application on Android, how DayZipping manages mobile media memory constraints and creating personalized travel suggestions to users “even when they’re in a new city.”

Appolicious: Walk through with us your decision to launch the first DayZipping mobile app on Android?

Webb Brown: We built our web platform using Google Web Toolkit, which is a great Java framework for building highly optimized web applications. Moving to Android from Google Web Toolkit saved considerable development time by allowing us to reuse lots of code and work with tools we were already familiar with.

We also just exhibited at Google I/O so we knew it would be a great time to get feedback from the Android team and developer community. Combining these factors with now more than 100 million Android device activations made Android as a starting point a clear winner for us.

APPO: In 25 words or less, what does the DayZipping Android app do?

WB: It helps people discover nearby day trips. All trips are user generated and reviewed by our team, so you don't get loads of irrelevant data.

APPO: How does DayZipping differentiate from the hundreds of Android travel apps already available?

WB: We are the only Android app right now focusing exclusively on day trips. By doing this we think we can be more effective at helping people find fun ways to spend a free afternoon or entire day. By stringing different points together and categorizing trips we are able to offer different length day trip plans that work for families and business travelers alike.

Our team also has a combined 20+ years of software development experience and we are obsessed with creating an intuitive and fun user experience. We think that by working closely with our users we will be able to create a great user experience that people will prefer to other alternatives.

APPO: After the initial buzz (including exhibiting at Google's I/O Conference) of a new release wears off, how do you plan to maintain momentum and drive downloads of the app over time?

WB: We believe it starts with building a great product. We also have dozens of new features planned that our agile team can release quicker than larger competitors. By constantly releasing smart features that make our users' lives easier, we hope to deliver traffic growth through word of mouth. Additionally, we have started conversations with several exciting partners for distribution.

APPO: DayZipping is a free app to download. What is your business model, and how do you plan to make money?

WB: We aren't quite there yet, but we've had some great discussions with local venues about working on a referral basis or providing group purchasing discounts. We are mainly focused on getting the product right at this point though.

APPO: Describe how the app integrates with the website.

WB: The mobile app integrates with a powerful REST API that is designed from the ground up for scale. We're currently working on tying in our suggestions engine for mobile users as well. This will allow us to generate personalized suggestions even when you're in a new city. This functionality is slated for release later this summer.

APPO: Do you plan to launch an iOS app (and/or an app on any other mobile platform)?

WB: We have an iOS app in the works and plan to be in the App Store by the end of the summer.

APPO: As a developer somewhat new to mobile media, what are the three biggest things that keep you up at night?

WB: There are numerous glaring differences between web and mobile development that come to mind. The three things that stand out the most are:

1) different specs across hundreds of devices makes it virtually impossible to test all potential configurations (including different DPIs, platforms, etc.).

2) our users need to be able to view rich media, this can be tricky when network connections are often unreliable

3) limited memory relative to desktop development has forced us to consider architecture and memory management much more than we have grown used to over the last several years.