Montreal app creators profit from iPad frenzy
Developers are ramping up production as the demand explodes for "apps," the software programs that give tablet users access to everything from games and breaking news to creative ways to organize their daily lives.
Philippe Bertrand of Montreal's Vortex Solution is closely watching the arrival of the iPad 2 along with similar devices from Samsung, Motorola, Dell and Blackberry.
Fifteen employees at the company work full time designing new apps.
'They know that this is the future.'—Raphael Steinman, Soluteo
"For our business, it is very important. We have been waiting for this new tablet [the iPad 2] to hit the market," said Bertrand, vice-president of strategy and development for the company.
Vortex Solution recently designed an interactive comic strip app using the cartoon character Garfield. It has been downloaded for 99 cents more than 30,000 times.
Demand grows for local apps
Demand is growing for more than just playful applications, said Bertrand. Companies now want customized programs for their internal affairs and interacting with the public.
"Look at the application we created for Sutton, Que. It's an application where you can walk around a neighbourhood and find the homes that are for sale," said Bertrand.
Raphael Steinman, a vice-president at the company, said tablets are not a novelty anymore.
More and more companies are asking developers like Soluteo to create applications for them, he said.
"They know that this is the future."
The popularity of apps is even forcing video game companies to readjust. At Montreal-based Ubisoft Canada, officials say remodelling is the key to survival for high-tech companies.
The video game powerhouse has been turning some of its popular games into apps, including Your Shape Fitness Evolved.
Jeremy Marchadier, a director of online and social media at Ubisoft Canada, said his company has begun developing products for multiple tablets.
"The industry has been very Apple-focused," he said, "but not for long."