In our series with Nokia we continue to discuss possibilities of developing for Symbian. This time we interview Kalle Koutajoki of Foodie.fm about their application and why they decided to go ahead with development on Symbian. Foodie provides an online service around recipes and shopping. Their application is able to give you a shopping list based on the recipe and also helps you see where the products are in the actual store and order the goods to your home door. Let's go ahead with the interview!
ArcticStartup: What platforms did you start developing your Foodie mobile application in the beginning for and why?
Kalle Koutajoki: By far the biggest development effort for us when we started few years back was on the backend side. On the front end we initially started with iPhone because at that time we were also doing other customer projects in the iOS environment. We quite rapidly started also the development on Nokia and there we chose webkit as our implementation method due to the wide range of supported devices and good portability.
AS: What were the reasons you chose to work with Nokia?
KK: We knew that with Nokia it is possible to operate on a local level with real persons, something that is not possible with Apple for instance. As we operate on the grocery segment, which is very local business, such transparency and support for local device base is extremely important. With a local face it's also possible to coordinate joint marketing campaigns between the different partners, in our case S group and Nokia.
AS: In what ways has Nokia helped you out in different phases of the application lifecycle?
KK: Nokia has supported us in multitudes of ways. During the development phase we have gotten access to pretty much any device we've needed as well as in case of technical problems they are able to provide expertise. On the marketing phase we've done lot's of co-marketing activities. For instance we've participated local Nokia events and gained good visibility there. When we launched the Nokia version of Foodie.fm Nokia did a great direct marketing push with email and SMS to kick off the install base. We've also been promoted well in Ovi Store. These are just few examples and I can honestly say that what Nokia has been historically lacking on the platform side it has more than doubled on the marketing side.
AS: What's Foodie up to in the future, where will you guys be taking the app and the concept?
KK: We've created an international concept from day 1. One of our core benefits is to hook up the social discovery in Foodie with a real time product assortment and prices of a retailer. This requires this quite a bit of work to enter a new market and I'm happy to say that we're now wrapping this up in UK and start rolling out the service in few weeks. Also you'll see more features that make the service even more personal such as crowd sourcing and revised commenting and so forth.
In the long term you'll see Foodie in most of the regions in Europe helping out consumers in their daily life and retailers in providing better service in social context.
AS: What would you say to other startups thinking of developing for Symbian/working with Nokia?
KK: My advice would be to hook up with local Nokia folks as early as possible as they can provide help and info that no other handset maker can. What comes to tech I'd suggest to make a clear decision that which segment you're aiming at: low, mid or high. For instance our concept is not targeted for the low end devices and hence we selected to focus on the latest touch devices. And off course I'm looking forward to the upcoming Windows based devices.
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