Mobiroo is a Toronto startup that has launched a gift card service for Android and BlackBerry. The gift cards allow you to buy apps through Mobiroo’s catalog and purchase apps for friends. The service is something that is definitely needed for BlackBerry users but there are some pretty major challenges for the company ahead. More about the company and the gift cards after the jump.
According to the YouTube video, it seems Mobiroo has pivoted the company fairly dramatically.
The Mobiroo system is really straight forward from the user’s perspective. You simply purchase a gift card, head to the Mobiroo website, and redeem the card for apps. This allows people to buy apps for their friends, or purchase apps with cash rather than other payment methods such as carrier billing, credit card or PayPal.
The major challenge for Mobiroo is that the way the system is set up is not really future-proofed. Apps are increasingly being given away on free trial or use in-app purchasing as a way of monetizing the app. Currently, Mobiroo has no solution for these apps and since developers need to upload their apps to Mobiroo’s system, they would require an in-app purchase solution outside of App World. I asked Mobiroo about this and they responded: “Unfortunately, we do not have the means for in-app purchasing as none of our current apps use this mechanism. However, we are noticing a trend where more apps are taking this route, and will hence create a solution that supports it within the next few months.”
The other major challenge is that Mobiroo will be constantly competing with App World and it’s nearly impossible to compete with the manufacturer’s store. It’s only a matter of time until App World gives users the ability to purchase gift cards. It’s a very simple process that could be set up through PayPal with little to no code needed to be updated in the App World client. What will become of Mobiroo after this announcement? Maybe it’s time for another pivot.