April issue of iTechnology.am is dedicated to mobile app development. So we have chosen SocialObjects Software company to learn more about the state of mobile app development in Armenia. The founder, Ashot Tonoyan, agreed to talk to us and to share his experience with our readers.
iTechnology.am: Tell us a little more about your story? How did it start?
Ashot Tonoyan: SocialObjects is a software development company founded in October 2010, in cooperation with a German consulting company, also called SocialObjects. These two are independent companies but share the same name. We act as partners in different software markets, especially in web app and Facebook app development.
iTechnology.am: Who is your team? As we know, Armenia lacks professionals in IT sector. How do you recruit professionals for your company?
Ashot Tonoyan: Our experience has shown that the best way is to hire juniors and train them.
Thanks to our senior staff, we have good track record of getting juniors ready for responsible projects within couple of months. Also, besides skills and professionalism there is one more important aspect: team working capabilities and working culture. The company has a uniqie working culture and we are all part of this culture. It is always difficult to deal with people with stereotypes and ego problems, even if he/she has years of experience.
iTechnology.am: Which are the main areas the company focuses on?
Ashot Tonoyan: We are focused on mobile, facebook and web app development. As mobile devices become popular, the market for mobile apps is getting bigger, and today 80% of our projects are in mobile app development.
iTechnology.am: As you are experienced in mobile app development area, what can you say about the state of this sector in Armenia? Is it developing? Are young professionals interested in it?
Ashot Tonoyan: In Armenia smartphones are not that widespread yet as in developed countries of the world, but it is surely growing. The market for mobile apps is still tiny in Armenia to be a great focus and interest for a development company.
iTechnology.am: What strategy helps you market your products? As our readers are young professionals and start-ups, do you have marketing tips for them?
Ashot Tonoyan: The best marketing is to produce high quality products. The first impression the client gets about you is from your portfolio. We don’t have a specifically developed strategy to market our services. We just try to communicate effectively with clients and do a better job. That is all.
iTechnology.am: What can you say about mobile operating systems (monetization, user base, winners, etc?) Do you have a preference? What the Armenian developers prefer?
Ashot Tonoyan: For me as a developer, the most comfortable platform to work with is iOS. Apart from that it is a very user-friendly platform, and its success is not a casual one. We had a chance to deal with Windows Phone platform, and I would say it was interesting to create apps for it. Android is an open area without any limitations, but in my opinion it is not safe from the view of security. This openness makes app piracy easy and there are many viruses for android out there, which create the mentioned security issues.
iTechnology.am: In this issue we are focused on the mobile industry. Are there any recommendations or trends in App development you can recommend? What about HTML5 or cross-platform development tools?
Ashot Tonoyan: When creating mobile apps we prefer only native solutions. No cross-platform development tools have proven to be effective. After a long and suffering process of fixing all the bugs of cross-platform development process, one switches to mere native solutions.
iTechnology.am: The Minister of education and science has sent a letter to Apple CEO and we here at iTechnology have even started our own online petition for an Armenian Keyboard. As we learned you also have developed an Armenian keyboard web app for iPhone. Is this a temporary solution? And generally what is your opinion on this?
Ashot Tonoyan: I created the app two years ago. Then it was impossible to enter any Armenian characters on an iOS mobile device. It was a web application using Mobile Safari browser features. The app was mostly used by my friends. I myself did not use it much, it was just out of curiosity. Surely there is a great need for it and I hope iOS7 will provide native Armenian keyboard. I myself signed iTechnology.am online petition for Apple.
iTechnology.am: Thanks, Ashot, for sharing your experience with us.