Instapaper creator Marco Arment is an Apple acolyte who pointedly and repeatedly refuses to develop an Android version of his popular reading app. In fact he often takes to his blog to bash Google’s mobile OS, berating its commercial potential and enumerating the woes he would have should he someday have the misfortune of developing for Android.
But last night the guys from Shift Jelly, a mobile development shop in Australia, managed to get Mr. Arment’s attention. They wrote a blog post, “Standing Up For Android“, that laid out how much more money they had made from Android than iOS. They didn’t attack Mr. Arment or call anyone a “fanboi”. Instead they offered this:
Finally, we’d like to publicly challenge Marco Arment to bring Instapaper to Android and drop the negative attitude. We’ll bet you one large cup of our finest Australian Coffee that you’ll be pleasantly surprised by just how great the Google Market is. In many ways it’s a better place to be than iOS, since so many developers are ignoring it, and yet there is a massive install base waiting to give you their money.
We can’t say if it was the dollar signs or the offer for some premium java from down under, but Mr. Arment’s heart grew three sizes larger last night. He still isn’t going to “waste his time” learning how to build an Android app, some of those Google germs might rub off on his Macbook Air, but he did give other developers his blessing to take a crack at making Instapaper for Android:
If you make the first great Android Instapaper client that:
- uses the official API
- contains a significant portion of the iOS app’s features, the details of which we’d work out privately
- runs on a wide variety of Android devices and OS versions including modern smartphones, the Kindle Fire and Nook Tablet, and whichever 10” tablet matters at the time of completion
- is priced at $2.99 or higher in the U.S. with approximately equivalent pricing elsewhere, and satisfies requirements to be sold in the Google Marketplace, Amazon Appstore, and whatever B&N uses for the Nook Tablet
I’ll call it the official Instapaper app for Android, I’ll promote it on the Instapaper site, I’ll drop the subscription requirement for its API access, you’ll answer all support email that comes from it, and we’ll split the net revenue 50/50.