Mobile programmer hoping Pozle hits the mark (K.A. Turner)

pozle.jpgHere a look at the Pozle ap screen image.

Here’s a quick quiz: How many apps are available through Apple? A couple of years back, people who like to watch that sort of thing eagerly awaited app No. 50,000.

Today, the number is almost 10 times as large.

As of Thursday, online estimates put the number of apps available for download at 495,516. The “as-of-Thursday” part of that sentence is important. It seems Apple is getting submissions of new applications at the rate of about 702 per day this month.

So you can understand why Jason Phillips is pleased that his newest app creation– a game called Pozle– quickly cleared the Apple app hurdles and is available today for just 99 cents.

K.A. Turner column sig.jpgK.A. Turner writes a weekly column. You may write her at the Press-Register, P.O. Box 2488, Mobile AL 36652-2488, call her at 251-219-5644 or e-mail Follow her on Facebook.

Of course, it’s equally easy to see why he’s hoping friends, relatives, co-workers and the newspaper will get the word out, because there’s plenty of competition.

“You either have to invest a lot in advertising, or it has to go viral by word of mouth,” said Phillips, a Mobile native whose day job is as a research and development analyst forMobile’s Computer Programs and Systems Inc. “And you have to get lucky.”

Pozle pairs the popularity of poker with a hot-selling category of apps– puzzle games. Images of playing cards spin onto the mobile screen, and the player’s job is to quickly identify a string of adjacent cards that make up a designated poker hand – full house, straight, flush etc.

It is the fourth app Phillips has developed and steered through Apple’s approval process. But it’s the first one, he believes, that has mainstreamappeal.

Phillips said that he develops Apple apps because Apple handles the selling process.

Hemakes about 70 cents for every Pozle sold.

“I really do this for fun, never intended tomake a dollar,” he said, adding that it would take a whole lot of app sales to even tempt him to try and do that kind of development fulltime.

As in much of life, ratings are important in the app development game.

As of Friday, Pozle had been rated by 10 Apple users. One novice card player said it would make him think faster. Others called it challenging and addictive. One said the concept was “awesome” but the performance was “buggy” on the iPhone.

Phillips said that all ratings, good, bad or indifferent, are essential to the ultimate success of the app.

Ratings, plus download frequency, he said, are the factors that drive a game toward the top 25 list in the Apple store.

“It boils down to, most of the people who buy apps from their store buy them from the top 25 list,” he said. “The only real chance that I have at any real success with this is to make it to the top of that list. Then it’s our job to capitalize and give a person what they want, or you fall right off.”

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