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LITE, Basic and Free Plugins

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HippoRemote Basic 2.0

The story behind LITE

Last week, we released HippoRemote LITE, a free (ad-supported) version of HippoRemote. The story behind LITE is that it was totally unplanned. LITE was not on our “product roadmap”, so to speak. In fact, we didn’t think we would ever do free apps. Call us crazy, but we still believe in the concept of charging a (non-zero) price for our products. Ridiculous, right?

So then why did we create LITE? We were heads down, thick in development, trying to get our updates to Hippo Pro and Hippo Basic out the door when we started hearing about this Touch Mouse app on Twitter. It was by Logitech and it was free and people were tweeting about it left and right. So we took a look…

As indie developers, we know how tough it is to create an app of any kind, especially with limited resources. We have great respect for the work of our fellow devs. But a global multi-billion dollar company should be held to a higher standard in terms of polish and attention to detail. And Touch Mouse, well, even for free it still left a bad taste.

We thought we could do better and more importantly, we believe customers deserve better. And so LITE was born. It has the same ultra-smooth trackpad and smart keyboard as Basic and Pro, with two-finger scrolling, pinching and international language support, as well as Wake-on-LAN, Split-Screen Mode, and Shake-to-Toggle keyboard access. And it’s easy to add more functionality via the built-in Hippo Store.

This is our first foray into free apps and we really don’t know anything about how this half of the App Store works. We might be doing everything wrong. If so, let us know! (Some of you already have. ☺) We want to hear your thoughts on the matter.

What does this have to do with Basic?

Even after we decided to create LITE, we were so focused on finishing development and getting our apps out the door that we never stopped to consider its impact on Basic. We just forged ahead with the original plan. Now that we have a moment to step back and survey things, it’s apparent to us that we need to make some changes…

Basic originally was intended as a low-cost way for people to get to know us. The way App Store pricing has gone, $5 (for HippoRemote Pro) is considered expensive and people understandably don’t want to get taken by an unknown developer. So it was important to keep the price low. But we wanted to offer the new plugins we created. So we decided to make them available as in-app purchases.

Now that we have LITE, the original pricing motivation for Basic is moot. In fact, Basic as a whole seems a bit redundant. So the question is: What should we do with it? Should we even keep it around? One possible option is to drop Basic entirely. But that would strand all our existing customers, which we won’t do.

When do we get to the part about FREE PLUGINS?

So this is what we’ve decided to do. With our next update to Basic, we will include all the plugins — Browser, Twitter, & Boxee — as standard components. No more in-app purchases. We will also raise the price of Basic from $1 to $3 — a 25% “bulk discount” over upgrading LITE piecemeal.

In the meantime, we will continue to keep Basic at $1. This means you can buy Basic now for $1 and get the Boxee, Browser, and Twitter plugins for FREE when Basic is updated. You can still buy the plugins now if you really need them right away. But if you just sit tight and wait for us to finish coding and testing, and for Apple to approve the update, you’ll get all that functionality. For FREE.

Hmm…maybe we’re starting to get this “free” thing after all.

March 3rd, 2010 at 11:46 am

5 Responses to 'LITE, Basic and Free Plugins'

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  1. I for one would like to thank you for Hippo Remote LITE. I didn’t find Hippo Remote BASIC while it was a buck. If I had, I would definately have gotten that 🙂

    That said, Hippo Remote LITE with the ArrowPad plugin does 90% of what I would ever need, and does it so much better than TouchMouse, so thank you!

    Martin Møller

    29 Mar 10 at 10:51 pm

  2. Hello! I just want to say THANK YOU for creating this. Just so you know the whole story… Last night, after sitting at my desktop for a couple hours, I decided I needed a break, made some snacks for myself, got my Martha Stewart Magazine. I was in the mood for some Music so I put my Ingrid Michaelson station on. So there I was, cozy in my lounge chair across the room, enjoying my peppered salami and green tea, when I really started to like one of the songs. Ugh! Now, I thought, I have to get up from this little piece of heaven, ruin my setup, go to my desktop and Like the song. This is when I thought to myself (and actually tweeted twitter.com/sikkin), “I wish I could control (like, dislike, etc) pandora on my desktop from my iphone i.e. while eating and browsing a magazine…” Then I remembered that I downloaded an app a week ago (HippoRemote LITE) that was some sort of a remote, but i hadn’t really set it up or even read much on what it was really about or what it could do or how it worked. I decided this was a good time. So I set it up, and was amazed! I could control my mouse from my chair! That’s great, but how do I Like and Dislike on Pandora? I guess I’ll just have to squint and try pressing the little buttons on the screen from 10 feet away. Thankfully, Pandora’s buttons turn orange on mouseover, so it turned out to be really helpful! I was so happy. Another song I really liked came up, but when I looked up, I saw that my screesaver had activated. Oh no! Oh wait, maybe this…go to hippo remote, move finger on trackpad, look up It wakes it up! Uh oh, password. Ooh, this has a keyboard! Entered my password and I’m in again! I thought this was the most amazing thing. I was chatting with a friend on Yahoo Messenger on my iPhone and said, “WE ARE IN THE FUTURE!” I got a tweet from the same friend this morning saying I wasn’t alone (http://bit.ly/cXcKpa). I was curious in particular though, about the Pandora plugin as I saw it in the plugin list screenshot on your homepage, but I couldn’t find any videos as to how this works. I think this is definitely something you guys should show — lots of people care about this because they LOVE pandora. I read this post where you mentioned including plugins for free in the next version of Basic. Actually I just realized now that Pandora is not included in this list. Is it only with Basic that I can purchase plugins, not Lite? If I can get the Pandora plugin/app profile (which one is it?) with Lite, that would be even better. I am going to Like this on Facebook and tweet about it. Also, could you please address my question above? You have my email. Thanks!

    Nicole S.

    24 Apr 10 at 11:34 am

  3. In reference to my question, I think it would be very helpful to have a side by side comparison of features and which (lite, basic, pro) has it and which doesn’t. it’s not very clear to me right now, and I’m sure I’m not the only one. Thanks!

    Nicole S.

    24 Apr 10 at 11:37 am

  4. Just discovered the LITE version today, which works perfectly for the simple task of moving the mouse cursor away from the upper-left screen corner after it ends up there and undesirably causes the menu bar to appear while certain apps run in full screen (e.g. EyeTV).

    I’m already considering getting the Pro version, even if only for App Profiles (and it would be nice to have more info about them first).

    And I agree with Nicole that a clearer, side-by-side feature comparison would be useful.

    Thanks!

    sjk

    31 May 10 at 9:06 pm

  5. […] 這個軟體好像發展很完備,也支援自訂的各程式設定檔,甚至還在blog批評羅技的程式沒質感XDD 覺得不爽然後釋出LITE免費版了XDDD http://blog.hipporemote.com/2010/03/lite/ […]

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