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The Premier League of Apps: 4 Rags-to-Riches Success Stories

Premier League is not known only for its heavyweight clubs like Arsenal, Manchester United, Chelsea, Manchester City and so on, but also for the platform it provides for the minnows to showcase their talent. The season is long and there is more to endure than those 38 exhausting matches. Football is not all about money; it has a downside to it which includes injuries, criticism and relegation. Now is there a Premier League for apps, we reckon.


Play Store plays the role of the Premier League for apps where millions of apps compete to topple off their competitors to be in the top search results on Google Play Store. But the journey to the top is not quite easy, knowing that app market biggies are always preying on small and successful apps. Likewise in Premier League, Big clubs pluck the best talent from the minnows and continue their dominance in the league. Sometimes innovation falls short against the lure of big money. Though most of the successful apps end up being acquired by the big sharks in the tank, there are some valiant developers who feel that their idea is worth more than the money offered. One such example is Snapchat that declined a $3bn buyout from Facebook. That amount of trust on the power of picture-led conversation! And it turns out that they are not entirely wrong!


Here are the unlikely success stories of four different apps that made their foray into the PlayStore, and quite uniquely so. While two of them were dethroned by their competitors, the rest of the two flourished to become the unrivalled ruler of the app market.


1. Flappy bird – Leicester City


Leicester City in 2015/16 season of Premier League took everyone by storm winning the Premier League title against all odds. This was a fairy-tale story for their fans, who were shell shocked with their club’s unprecedented success. A season prior, they were battling relegation and achieving such a feat may seem like a one season wonder show to many people. The roller coaster story of Flappy Birds takes similar twists and turns. Within a span of few weeks, Flappy Bird became a global phenomenon and its developer Dong Nguyen experienced a windfall of money due to the humongous response all over the world. It was a simple game, but frustrating and endless. It’s sudden rise and equally sudden fall is hard to pin down. The game was once in top grossing free apps on Play Store, but its fall from grace was difficult to digest for many of its fans and one of its reasons was down to Dong Nguyen’s personal guilt about the app. He developed it as a light-hearted game, but it turned out to be an addiction. This led to the Flappy Bird’s sad demise from the Play Store.


2. Liverpool – Blackberry Messenger


Liverpool is one of the most successful clubs in England but their success has faded away in recent years. They had a glorious past that led to a trophy-laden cabinet at Anfield. Though the recent picture looks blurred for them as they have failed to adapt to the Premier League competition. Their rivals have surpassed them in every aspect, leading to concerns from their fan base. BBM had a similar story, which was one of the first push messenger apps in the market. BBM enjoyed its fair share of success on the Blackberry OS, but the prophecy of its fall came true when the app was launched on Android platform. It suddenly became an uphill task for BBM to shift their customer-base from Blackberry OS to Android, as the latter already had Whatsapp to easily replace BBM. BBM entered the app store with vanilla features adding nothing new to the popular Whatsapp, leading to its annihilation from the app market.


3. Arsenal – Angry Birds


Arsenal,aka invincibles, achieved an unbeaten feat in season 2003/04 and had a squad to fear at that point of time. In 2006, an ambitious move to their new and bigger home Emirates didn’t go down well in the history of this big club. During this time, Arsenal endured a trophy drought due to lack of funds. But they eventually bounced back winning FA cup in 2013/14. Rovio had a same fate like Arsenal and endured the worst when they were close to bankruptcy in 2009. After failing 51 attempts, Rovio finally broke the duck with the title ‘Angry Birds’. Angry Birds has been the best-selling paid app of all time. Angry Birds is the first app that wastes75 million people's time that can be accurately quantified. On an island in the Pacific, the goal is to fling a squadron of kamikaze birds at gormless green pigs. The birds have a just cause: the pigs stole their eggs. Angry Birds goes down in history as one of the best games ever developed.


4. Chelsea – Pokémon Go


Chelsea is known for its recent success with the club splashing money on marquee players and smashing their transfer record with each new signing. They have enjoyed silverware and the club has invested big money on this huge project.


Five years ago, Ingress the world’s first “real world gaming” platform changed the way people interact with the world around them by exploiting the capabilities of smartphones and location technology. With the stage set, JohnHanke took the AR gaming aggression several levels up with Pokémon Go.John raised $25 million from Google, Nintendo, the Pokémon Company and other investors from Dec 2015 to Feb 2016 to grow a team of 40+ to launch Pokémon Go this year. Pokémon GO has broken all records in first week with 10mn+ downloads and has spread like an epidemic throughout the world.


The development of these four apps had a unique idea and a fine strategy to execute them. Some took days, other took years and some even took decades. For John Hanke, the duration of overnight success was 20 years.


If you’ve an awesome idea ready to be turned into an app, you too can etch your name in the premiere league of apps. Instappy is all you need to build your own fully-functional native app – without writing a single line of code.


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