Xische at the UAE Apps Masterclass


Last night, the Shelter hosted an insightful gathering of app-minded individuals in Dubai. Three stories from UAE-based app designers and developers were showcased in pitch sessions of 10 minutes each. On the other side of the ring were 3 judges including our own Danish Farhan, Amir Mortezaie of du, and PJ (yup that’s the full name on his card) of Twelve8.com

What ensued was a raw, interesting and unexpectedly brilliant set of stories that inspired and whetted the audience of over a hundred attendees. We thought it would be cool to profile the apps and the people behind them.

TipBox by Scapehouse

According to their super cool microsite: Tipbox is tip sharing, reinvented for your iPhone. It’s like Twitter meets Quora packaged together in a delightful user-experience. But the real story here is this–Scapehouse is couple of university students by the name of Abdullah and Ali that came up with an idea with no real plan. The lads decide to learn code and built the app in a matter of months, launching it on the iOS store weeks ago. We think with a few minute refinements, this app has real wings to fly.

Stick Swipe by Bored.com

The founders of New York based Bored.com, Jamie Fraina and Kyle Waring presented their seemingly simple but potentially addictive Flash-like game Stick Swipe on iOS that features swiping strategic moves to outdo opponents of all shapes and sizes. It’s a game with serious depth although it doesn’t quite feel that way in the beginning. The UX could be stronger and a lot clearer, but going by the 25,000 downloads they’ve already had so far, we think they know what they’re doing. The big story here is that these New Yorkers shut shop and decided to move their gaming company to Dubai. Strong business acumen, cool geeky ideas and a great go-to-market strategy will definitely see this bunch come back with something new every few months.

Carbon for Android by Dot1ne

Saleh Esmaeili, another UAE-based developer shared a fascinating account of his personal motivation to build a beautiful (and glossy black!) Twitter client Carbon for WebOS first, followed by a hotly anticipated version for Windows Phone 7 and the soon to be released Carbon for Android. A collective wow from the audience only reinforced what industry blogs globally have been saying for a while now — Carbon stands out in that damn-why-didnt-we-think-of-that kind of way. Worth noting was Saleh’s reasoning for a marked absence from iOS devices — stating the market for a beautiful alternative Twitter client was far more potent for the other not-so-design-driven OS platforms. Saleh’s candid attitude and helpful hints to his fellow developers and audience definitely makes him the dude last night.

We at Xische are huge champions of delightful mobile experiences that can impact how much you smile every day! If you have an idea, or an app you’ve already worked on, get in touch with us on Twitter or Facebook and come talk to us if you need any help with mentoring, business planning, fund-raising or just a little marketing nudge. We think it’s an extraordinary time to be in the mobile world.

Don’t forget to check out some great on-going Twitter conversations hash-tagged #UAEapps. Also, the event roundup on Shelter’s blog.

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