As luck would have it, our company had just finished a large project in the mapping world when smart phones just came out. The iPhone was new and there were no real competitors. We decided it would be a good idea to explore this new world and started making some minor apps for iOS. Nobody at our company had any experience working with Objective C (the iOS development language) and it was a hard slog. The resources for iOS were rather scarce and the language itself was difficult to understand and work with. This was about May, 2009.
I attended Google IO in 2009 and Android was all the rage. Everything that year at IO was about Android. Google gave out a free Android device, the HTC Magic too. It was a rather crude device compared to today but at the time, it was quite snazzy. Along with the free phone, Google also announced the “ADC II” or Android Developer Challenge II. The prizes for winning this contest were enormous. A $250k first prize along with very large second and third place, plus other prizes. The rules were pretty strict. The app had to be new and not an update of a previous app and it had to be done in three months. The deadline for entry was by September 2009. I was hooked.
Discussions with my wife in regard to what the app should be were short and to the point. My wife, who is a commercial pilot, stated “I would love to be able to call up an app on a smartphone that showed the weather radar while I’m sitting in the cockpit waiting to take off. I’ve often thought that I’d like to see the radar now.” I asked her, “What should we call it?” The answer was obvious: “Radar Now”.
I had my idea and a name. The rest was just a matter of software engineering. We produced the first version in time for the contest, submitted it, but alas, we didn’t win anything. We did find a huge uptake though and had thousands of downloads by the time the contest was called. It was quite apparent that we had a winner.
Here it is eight years later, several million downloads, maybe fifty updates, six major revisions and RadarNow! is still going strong. Nowhere else will anyone find a more up to date display of radar data than RadarNow!.