The iPad touches down in Brazil

Despite the official unavailability of the new iPad in Brazil, a recent issue of Veja magazine – Brazil’s equivalent of Time Magazine – included an advertisement for Veja’s own iPad app. The same magazine also carried an ad for the banking services iPad app from Itau, one of Brazil’s largest banks.

Brazilian consumer demand is strong: a wander through most airport lounges will reveal travelers who have managed to purchase their iPads abroad in advance of the Brazilian release. A friend described the clamor at a recent event in São Paulo, when just three days after the US release, a colleague unveiled his iPad. Experience with the iPhone means there is also a strong pool of iOS developers already turning their attention to iPad app creation.

The number and quality of iPhone apps being developed in Brazil has grown significantly over the past year. When I asked MacMagazine editor Rafael Fischmann to name his favorite iPhone apps, half of the dozen he listed were developed by Brazilian firms or individuals. This is a pool of now-experienced iOS developers who are already stepping up to create iPad apps as well.
Over the past year Brazilian iPhone app developers have flocked to the market, producing a range of popular apps in a variety of genres, and it is likely that they will quickly fill the need for iPad apps as the iPad becomes more ubiquitous. The Itau iPhone banking services app (created by development shop Hands Mobile) is already one of the most popular in Brazil, as is Apontador’s localization app. Both apps are already out for iPad.

Last year, when Rafael spoke to Diego Remus, editor of Brazilian tech trends blog Startupi, he cited the plethora of simplistic apps available from Brazilian developers, who were still largely inexperienced with iOS development. That has changed, and larger firms, who are better able to support the development of complex apps, are now part of the picture, while individual developers or small teams have gained the experience to produce professional quality apps as well. He cited apps from Mobits, Paquiderme Software, Nyrva Software, and the team of Larissa Herbst/Renato Pessanha as among his favorites.
Martin Restrepo, organizer of the regular São Paulo MobileMonday event (a meetup for mobile app developers and interested parties) said it is clear to him that the app market is busy and growing in Brazil – available developers are hard to find these days, compared to a year ago. Content producers and advertisers are making mobile apps part of their overall marketing and branding strategies. He points to the strong work of pontomobi, Fbiz and Editacuja in developing quality Brazilian iPhone apps. And on his own iPad he already uses Brazilian localization app Apontador, as well as foreign-made apps such as Foursquare, Flipboard and the e-book Alice.

Martin foresees the iPad opening possibilities for businesses to create and use productivity apps, and for universities to build educational tools for use on the device, as well as for a strong extension into more serious games, and mobile payment and commerce tools. And Diego Remus adds that first movers in producing iPad apps are in part promoting brands, to get the advantage of the early product hype, while over time a second wave of innovation focused on more concrete business opportunities and demand will follow.

Of course the iPhone and iPad have different strengths. Simply adapting iPhone apps to the iPad can be successful in some cases (and will likely be very common) but as Rafael Fischmann warns, it isn’t always the right solution. The iPad has strengths in its capabilities, screen size and support for content creation that the iPhone lacks. No one wants to spend time with extensive text or large graphics on a tiny iPhone screen. E-commerce processes – such as comparing products – are much more satisfying on a larger screen.  So the iPad opens up a whole range of areas for innovation, which Brazilian consumers and developers are already eagerly taking on.

This guest post was written by Ona Kiser (@OnaKaiser).  Ona  is a freelance writer, internet technology researcher and social media specialist working in New York and Brazil. She is the translator for Brazilian tech trends blog Startupi.

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One Response to “ “The iPad touches down in Brazil”

  1. And everyone in Brazil is waiting Apple to set a launch date to buy an iPad.

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