Bottle Rocket Apps Celebrates Three Years of Propelling the Mobile Market

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Leading Developer Continues to Redefine Industry Standard for Premium Brand Experience Apps

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Bottle Rocket has been successful because we're truly passionate about mobile, and approach our clients' projects as though they are our own apps.

Bottle Rocket Apps, one of the world’s leading full-service designers and developers of premium brand experience apps for the Apple iPhone, iPod touch and iPad, celebrates its third anniversary today. In just three years, Bottle Rocket has distinguished itself as the agency of choice for major companies seeking to create complex, hand-crafted, “never been done before” apps that will engage their customers and extend their brands.

Calvin Carter, president of Bottle Rocket, founded the company on March 7, 2008, literally the day after Apple CEO Steve Jobs announced that the company planned to open the iTunes App Store and the new iPhone 3G to third party apps. “I knew immediately that the iPhone would redefine the way we live our lives,” says Carter. “It was a game-changing platform that united information, instant access and unlimited range like no other tool in history.”

Realizing the new platform’s potential, however, required experimentation, innovation, careful design—and mistakes. Lots of them. “To learn quickly, we had to make our mistakes fast,” Carter says, “so rather than jumping directly into writing code, we began designing our apps with pencil sketches on graph paper. The ‘pencils’ were fast, inexpensive, and easy to erase and change. And they allowed us the creative space to explore unlimited new ways to make an app both intuitive and emotionally engaging.” The pencil sketch phase continues today as a hallmark of Bottle Rocket’s highly-regarded app strategy and design process.

By the end of 2008, Bottle Rocket had released nine iPhone apps—ranging from productivity tools to utilities to entertainment titles—while most developers had only managed to field one or two during the same period. “We wanted to send a clear message that Bottle Rocket had arrived. We weren't just dipping out toe in the water. We were fully committed, regardless of the outcome,” says Carter.

The robustness and user-centered design of Bottle Rocket’s early apps got the company noticed by Apple—with which Bottle Rocket maintains a close business relationship to this day—and began to generate inquiries from prominent companies looking for apps of their own. Bottle Rocket’s first custom development client, early in 2009, was NPR. “We competed fiercely against eleven other capable developers to win NPR’s business,” Carter is quick to point out. “We were successful because we were truly passionate about the platform, approached the project as though it was our own app, spoke frankly and honestly with NPR, and worked tirelessly to develop something truly remarkable.” The resulting app, NPR News for iPhone, debuted in August 2009 and quickly became the top news app in the iTunes App Store, garnering praise from both critics and users.

The success of NPR News for iPhone brought Bottle Rocket new requests for custom app development, and the company quickly proved to the industry that it wasn't a one-hit wonder. In late 2009 and 2010, ESPN, HD Radio, Disney, PBS, The Seattle Times, the National Science Foundation, SPIN Magazine, AARP, Discovery Channel, BET, Philips, American Express and more all selected Bottle Rocket over every other app developer to bring their brands to Apple’s mobile devices.

When Apple released the iPad on April 3, 2010, Bottle Rocket was ready with not just one, but four original apps designed specifically for the new tablet, including the award-winning NPR for iPad, one of the most popular iPad apps of all time. And later that year, Bottle Rocket brought its disciplined methodology to bear on Android devices as well, with several new custom apps for Android phones and tablets coming to the Android Market in the first half of 2011.

Today, users recognize that the “Developed by Bottle Rocket” label on an app means they are in for an experience of extraordinary quality and depth. Because of their popularity, innovation and user-centered design, Bottle Rocket’s custom creations quickly vault to prominence in the App Store, achieving rankings and accolades such as the #1 Free iPad App (Discovery Channel HD), #4 Entertainment App and Apple’s iPhone App of the Week (PBS for iPhone), #2 News App (NPR for iPad), #1 News App (NPR News for iPhone), #3 Music App (NPR Music), and #4 Business App (AMEX OPEN Forum).

As of its third birthday, Bottle Rocket has completed and delivered more than 50 premium apps, with almost 20 additional titles under development. The company is unique in that it continues to work its magic on its own apps, such as the wildly popular Doodle Bomb physics puzzle game (which reached the #1 Free iPhone App spot in 2010), alongside the blockbuster apps it crafts for its clients. “As we enter our fourth year in business, Bottle Rocket is ready for even more explosive growth,” says David Goldstein, Bottle Rocket’s director of business development. “We have barely begun to explore the potential for these exceptionally innovative mobile platforms. There’s a lot of history yet to be written in this industry, and we feel privileged to have a hand in writing it.”

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David Goldstein
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