Avatron's Dave Howell on the future of Air Display, Air Sharing and Print Sharing
Last week at CES 2011 we met up with Dave Howell, whose Avatron Software has delivered three apps to the App Store so far. Air Display and Air Sharing are already TUAW favorites, and Print Sharing is a relatively new app targeting one feature specifically: printing to a shared printer directly from your iPhone or iPod touch. Howell walked us through his three apps, then talked a little bit about the future roadmap of each and the rest of what Avatron is up to.
Air Display is still Avatron's most popular app; two different engineers are working on it, with one working on solving connectivity problems, and the other ironing out performance issues. Avatron wants to make Air Display more useful, even away from the computer it's sharing a screen with, so the company is working on allowing users to zoom or scale the display as they use it. Video out is also coming soon, so you'll be able to send a shared display out to a TV or any other display.
Air Sharing's main goal now is to add as many sharing services and document types as possible. The app lets you dive in and view documents from Dropbox and Box.net already, and Howell says Google Documents is next to come to the service. Print Sharing is a much more focused app, but Howell says it's been popular, too. Print Sharing's current goal is to support as many file types as it can; Howell said Print Sharing would get the same updates that the engineers working on Air Display will provide.
I noted that all of Avatron's apps are still paid and asked if Howell was interested in the freemium model that's so popular on the App Store lately. "We haven't figured out how to make any money with the free model," he said. Subscriptions are one option, but Howell says he hasn't heard good things about iAds yet; many ad boxes aren't getting filled, and in his opinion, the service isn't living up to its potential. Air Display is selling well at US$9.99, and Howell says the high price point actually works to sell the app. On a service like screen sharing, customers expect stability, and a higher price usually means there's a significant agreement between developer and customer, one that Avatron works to honor.
Avatron is planning to port Air Display to Windows netbooks and the Mac App Store eventually, but since Howell says the company is only starting to look beyond iOS, both of those are presumably farther down the road. Meanwhile, Avatron seems to be in an excellent place; it's nailed down a few solid applications on the App Store and seems very committed to keeping them updated and supported.
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