iPhone becomes goldmine for developers


Apple's iPhone offers free and paid applications you can download to use for just about anything -- check the calories in your lunch, map out where you parked your car; currently there about 20,000 downloadable apps, as they're called - a milestone in the mobile phone world.

"It will be hard for a lot of them to catch up with Apple," said MG Siegler, VentureBeat writer.

MG Siegler, a technology writer for VentureBeat - a blog about venture capital and the businesses it funds -- says Apple will likely weather the competition well; other companies, like Google soon Microsoft, Palm, and RIM - the makers of Blackberry, are all launching their own application stores for a variety of mobile phones.

"There will just be a lot of different choices, and the best ones will be able to rise to the top," said Siegler.

And even in the midst of a tight economy - people are still magnetized to buy.

"They're looking for smaller, cheaper, reusable entertainment, so they can download an app for 99-cents and have weeks' worth of enjoyment," said Matt Coneybeare, mobile phone app developer.

Oakland-based developer Matt Coneybeare speaks from experience -- he created a sound application called 'Ambiance' that started selling when Apple's app store launched last summer. Since then users have downloaded a quarter million copies - so far pulling a profit of $175,000 for this 28-year-old UC Berkeley computer science grad.

"I took a bunch of time off in between high school and college to try and be a rock star, and that didn't work out - so I went back to school," said Coneybeare.

And now he recently quit an engineering day job to devote full-time to developing mobile phone applications. He first built Ambiance as a type of background - white noise tool to help him concentrate when studying - now he's helping others.

"I had emails from people who said that this app has changed their life - because they're a soldier and they couldn't get to sleep, or they're trying to get their baby to sleep, or they can't focus at work because of all their rowdy co-workers people," said Coneybeare.

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