Portuguese apps looking for space on the iPad

Having a certified application – and popular – in the Apple App Store that works on the iPhone and iPod Touch, is halfway to ensuring space on the larger screen of the brand’s tablet that now reaches the North American market. But it doesn’t guarantee per si the place among the thousands of applications developed by an ecosystem of companies and developers that create tools, games and other utilities for this platform.

Bitzr, Sapo and TECField are some of the Portuguese companies that have already managed to see their applications approved by Apple and that debuted the tools and games at the same time as the iPad, as TeK had already written on Saturday.

The fact that the Apple tablet is not yet on sale in Portugal – nor has an estimated launch date – is not an impediment for any of these companies and for those that are preparing to embrace this new platform, since the business model extends beyond borders.

This is the case of the Cube by bitrzr, a tool for recording hours and expenses, integrated with Google Apps, which received approval for iPhone and iPad on April 2nd, guaranteeing its place among the few applications created in Portugal available on January iPad launch.


Pedro Morais, one of the founders of, explains to TeK that the Cube web version is currently available in English, Portuguese, Spanish, French and Italian and that the iPhone and iPad application is integrated with this application, provided in a SaaS model. “In our view, the future of enterprise information systems passes through the use of cloud computing to reduce maintenance costs and enhance modern and efficient applications, with all corporate data available securely from anywhere; in this scenario, devices such as the iPhone, and now the iPad, will become a privileged channel of interaction with these systems ”, he justifies.

As they had not yet developed the application for the Apple platform, opted to create a universal application, optimized for both systems, and managed to match its launch with that of the iPad. And the numbers they have so far are good: Cube is in 10th place in the Business category and on Saturday the application was downloaded 150 times, while yesterday’s numbers are not yet available.

The company already had the application on Google Marketplace, with support for Android, and had also tried to launch some applications on the AppStore “in order to gain experience with the process”. The most successful was Birthday Reminders “, has already sold 7000 copies (of which only 350 in Portugal) and is currently at the top of the Lifestyle category in 19 countries.

TECField is also already feeling the impact of its bet on the platform. Smuggi is the game created by the company from Braga specifically for the brand’s tablet and was selected by Apple to be present at the opening of the iPad Store, with the North American company giving confirmation at the end of March.

“It was an incredible month of developments, especially in a simulator, because there is no iPad yet, but it was worth it”, João Martinho, company director, told TeK.

The game developed in Braga is now available for download, and is already on the TOP 100 list of applications sold for iPad in the United States, in the Games / Board Games / Kids categories.


The challenge from Apple was made to the best developers from around the world who wanted to submit – until March 27, 2010 – the applications for the new iPad, with only the best ones selected for the official launch of the iPad, on April 3.

TECField already had experience in iPhone applications, counting on the curriculum the first application of a Portuguese band, Mão Morta, which marks its 25-year career. And its TapBall game has also been running on Apple’s smartphone since the beginning of this year, and the next version for iPad is being prepared.

João Martinho guarantees that it is not complicated to have Apple certification. “All of our applications submitted to Apple were approved in a matter of days. Smuggi, for example, was approved in 1 day ”. For that, it can be worth the fact that all the criteria and specifications that the company sends to programmers have always been fulfilled.

In the next three months TECField should also launch three more applications for the iPhone / iPad, but for now it does not provide details.

Sapo was, like TECField, among the first companies with approved applications for the iPad, with Banca Sapo, which gives access to the first pages of around 500 publications from around the world, among which are Le Figaro, El Pais, Folha de S. Paulo, Paris Match, Courrier International, Le Nouvel Observateur, among others.


The information is organized into categories, just as it does online on the SAPOKiosk website, and the user can choose to view the entire page for more details. On the iPhone and iPod Touch, this application already has more than 32 thousand users, having been available since 2008.

In the list of companies interested in the new Apple platform there are several Portuguese names, some of which are already part of the list of habituées of the AppStore, such as Priberam, Ndrive, Wit Software and Inovaworks.

Hugo José Pinto, CEO of Inovaworks Research and Development, told TeK that the company is finishing porting the Dropoly game to the iPad, which will include not only the natural higher resolution of the screen, but also wider gestures that allow for gameplay easier.

Since its launch – in August last year – this game has been in the first place of the national top of iPhone applications for about three weeks, remaining in the Top 10 for about two months. Altogether it adds up to about 17 thousand downloads of the paid and free version.


The company has two more applications in the pipeline, one already ready to launch, and a new game, more evolved than Dropoly, guarantees the CEO of Inovaworks. Exclusively for the iPad, an application for catalogs and interactive menus is also being built for shops and restaurants that want to show customers a more appealing menu.

Priberam is one of the companies that confirms that it is working on a new version of its Dictionary for iPad. Carlos Amaral, the company’s general director, explained to TeK that expectations are high, especially after the success of the iPhone application, which had more than 12 thousand downloads in the first month.

In addition to the new features of the Dictionary for the iPad, which explore ease of use, readability and autonomy, Priberam is studying other applications for the iPad, but is still waiting for some developments to schedule them. “Some of them will have to be tested exhaustively on the iPad and not on the emulators that have been available for some time to properly assess their usability”, justifies Carlos Amaral.

On the side of Wit Software, one of the first Portuguese companies to take a step forward in the AppStore world, the process is similar. The company is awaiting Apple’s certification for the new iPad applications to disclose more details, which it promises to “within days”.

In addition to these examples pointed out by TeK, there are more national companies that may be looking for space on the iPad screen, some of which had already proven themselves on the iPhone, such as Wizi, or WeLove Studios, which we contacted without success, such as the programmer responsible for the 3Towers game, one of the first developed in Portugal for the iPhone.

And it is expected that the number of “branded in Portugal” applications will grow as interest in the new Apple platform increases, especially if Steve Jobs’ company facilitates the certification process of the thousands of tools that already exist for the iPhone and iPod Touch.

Fatima Hunter

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