Through his software development company, Cypien, 25-year-old Gabriel Rotaru has built 30 KaiOS apps, including Guess the Logo, Hangman, Sliding Puzzle, and Trivia Challenge. And he’s just getting started. Learn more about Gabi and his hopes for KaiOS in the interview below.
How did you first hear about KaiOS?
I don’t remember when and where I first heard about KaiOS, but I know it was somewhere around August 2019. The value proposition of “connecting the next billion” really resonated with me.
When did you build your first app?
In September 2019, I bought a Nokia 8110 4G – the infamous “banana phone.” At that time, there were very few KaiOS apps and I thought, hey, I should try and build some. Today, I have over 30 apps in the KaiStore.
What were your challenges starting out?
KaiOS apps are web apps and my skills in this area were rusty, to say the least. That was a bit discouraging.
When I did find the motivation to build my first app, I discovered that there was no documentation, the developer console had bugs, and the community around the topic was small. Even installing the official sample app on my test phone was hard. I almost gave up.
Fortunately for me, a KaiOS team member, Asis, reached out to me. With his help, I ended up building a trivia quiz app which I launched last November. It only got a few dozen users per day, but it was enough to motivate me to build more.
What’s it like building KaiOS apps today?
A lot easier. The KaiOS ecosystem is more mature. The official team is working hard to improve developer tools and bring in users to the platform. Communities dedicated to KaiOS are also getting bigger – there’s a subreddit with 1.3K members and developers asking and answering questions on Stack Overflow. So yeah, definitely better and improving.
Strongly believing in something makes you focus and be more productive.
You mentioned building over 30 apps! What types of apps do you build?
I’ve built utility, entertainment, lifestyle, and fitness apps. Also games. I don’t lean towards a specific category. Anything goes, as long as it’s interesting to a large number of users.
How do you come up with ideas?
I think of apps I’m using on my Android phone that aren’t on KaiOS yet. Then I create basic wireframes, plan the implementation, and get started.
Is it hard juggling your projects for KaiOS apps with your full-time job?
I struggle with it all the time, but I try to remember that everyone has the same number of hours, even Elon Musk. And he gets a lot done!
I try to be as efficient as I can with my time by avoiding meetings and automating my repetitive work. Being more efficient means I get more time to do the things I love and believe in. Strongly believing in something makes you focus and be more productive.
Thanks for believing in KaiOS.
Sure. This might sound cheesy, but I really think KaiOS can help people from disadvantaged areas. Imagine how their lives could change with access to information, courses, encyclopedias, ebooks!
KaiOS is sealing new partnerships, launching new devices, and bringing in more developers and users every day, so I’m very hopeful. The future looks bright for KaiOS.
What are you working on now?
I’m working on several new apps. Some of them are almost finished – you might see something new from me over the next few days.
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