It's pretty simple, really: If you like making mobile apps and games, it's probably in part because you like using mobile apps and games. And the apps and mobile games that make the biggest impression either influence what a developer creates, or provide motivation to create something equally great.
Consumers show their preferences by what they download from app stores, but what resonates with other developers is not always as easy to identify. With that in mind, FierceDeveloper recently reached out to entrepreneurs across the country and asked them to pick a few titles that set the standard for excellence. This is what they told us.
Name: Q Beck, CEO & Co-Founder, Famigo
Location: Austin, Texas
Latest App/Game: Famigo iPhone app, which offers child-friendly videos and IAP blocking.
Inspiration: "Words With Friends is one of the games I've played most over years. The actual game--essentially Scrabble--isn't new, but it was one of the first and best multi-player mobile apps on the market. Words With Friends is proof that the old can be new again when done properly on mobile. The game is a great way to stay in touch and reconnect with family and friends. It is much more about who you are playing with than what you are playing."
Name: Jeremy Greenfield, Founder, Divvy
Location: Denver, Colo.
Latest App/Game: Divvy, a photo-sharing app that also acts as its own social network and focuses on user privacy.
Inspiration: "Snapchat jumped into a market that everyone insisted was saturated and created a new way to communicate and share moments with friends, family, celebrities and even companies. The app is simple, intuitive and addressed a need we all have: How do we stay private in today's very social world? Snapchat definitely nailed down privately sharing moments, something we used to have to text."
Name: Chase Curtiss, CEO & Founder, Sway Medical
Location: Tulsa, Okla.
Latest App/Game: Sway Balance, which uses the built-in motion sensors of iOS devices to analyze symptoms of concussions or orthopedic dysfunction.
Inspiration: "The medical, health and fitness field has been severely lacking in apps that are both innovative concepts and well designed. One startup that has an interesting concept and shows that health and fitness apps can also be well designed and functional is ICEdot. ICEdot recently announced a new crash sensor that can be paired with a smartphone app to detect when a cyclist, snowboarder or biker has taken a spill. Sure, some spills you can hop up from and shake it off, but the ICEdot system will send an emergency SOS on your behalf if you are rendered unconscious. ICEdot also stores all of your medical information so when help arrives, they already have access to your medical records. For avid action sports junkies who often travel to remote areas, ICEdot is a must-have."
Name: Andrew Eye, CEO & Co-Founder, Boxer
Location: Austin, Texas
Latest App/Game: An iOS tool for managing e-mail and increasing productivity for users of Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo Mail and more.
Inspiration: Evernote has always done a great job of making a very powerful tool feel lightweight and intuitive on mobile. We're also long-time fans of the simplicity and utility of apps like SayHi Translate. One of the most exciting apps in recent memory has been Quip. We love how they are reimagining traditional productivity software with a true mobile-first approach."
Name: Robert Pearce, CTO, Ridepost
Location: Greenville, S.C.
Latest App/Game: Ridepost, an online ridesharing marketplace designed to dramatically reduce the cost of travel while increasing access to transportation.
Inspiration: "Hi. This recently-released Web app touched a place deep inside which forced me re-evaluate the nature of globalization in regards to understanding other cultures. The Internet, along with Facebook, Twitter and blogging have all made this world a smaller place. They have allowed us to communicate with people thousands of miles away in mere seconds. But what do we really learn, and how connected do we really feel with these people? Reading about somebody's opinion on this and that conflict and seeing baby pictures from somebody in another country doesn't necessarily help us understand what their everyday life is like, nor what their cities or people hold in store. What connects people--what binds people--in real life are stories about people and places, and this is what Hi is accomplishing. Hi is not just picture journalism, nor is it blogging, tweeting or anything of that sort--it is its own category which is most akin to geolocated storytelling."
What about other developers? Which apps from the choices above would make the top of your list, and what killer apps or games should be added to the list above? Share your inspirations in the comments below, and tweet them online with the hashtag #FDInspiration.