The Developer Interviews: Kahil Nettleton Of Spiderfly Studios (Android)



Thanks for doing this interview with us today Kahil! This is our very first developer interview for the site. I have always loved your work with the Glowfly app and the Spiderfly Studios design work looks stellar! As some of our readers know, I am a novice graphics designer and you were kind enough to take one of my designs and polish it up for use on our Google+ and Twitter page.  Thanks so much for doing that.  We asked you for this interview to kick off our planned “The Developer Interview” series. The plan is to interview Android, iOS and Windows developers and just see what makes them tick. We are very excited to put faces to those apps people enjoy on their mobile devices.

TA: First, let’s get a little background about yourself. Where is it that you call home? And where are you originally from?

KN: I live in Los Angeles currently, but I am from Kansas City

TA: I’ve wondered for the longest time, how do you pronounce your name?

KN: My name is actually a nickname that stuck.  My ex used to call me it as a pet name and after his murder I felt the need to go by it from that day on.  It is pronounced nothing like it looks…lol…  kie-Yeel

TA: How did you get into graphic design work? How far can you trace back a passion for design?

KN: I’ve always been good at art…drawing, painting, etc.  I have what I am told is an annoying nack for picking up new skills and being good at it.  Same goes for my photographic memory.  I started the web and graphic design stuff in college when my fraternity needed an update…been doing it ever since

TA: When did you start in on Android development and why?

KN: I started the Android stuff about a year after Android was first released.  It was something new and I like the fact that it was open to be made into whatever you want it to be.

TA: Have you ever considered iOS development or are you already involved in it?

KN: I’ve never considered iOS development.  I’ve had a couple clients that needed some app design work though…and I successfully convinced them to go with an OS neutral design so they could easily port it over to Android or Windows without the need to redesign it.  I just don’t like the direction Apple is going.  Their innovation has simply declined.  Don’t get me wrong, their products are solid, especially their computers….but that’s about it.  Plus there’s the trend of blatantly stealing the ideas of others and passing it off as their own idea….then later suing them for the rights because people now associate Apple with the look.  I believe it was the iBooks concept that I first noticed this.  Now you see several features of iOS that have been on Android for years.  Just rubs the wrong way.  Oh…..and then of course there is the closed nature of iOS.  lol…

TA: What gave the idea for the Glowfly app? How does it differ from other similar apps?

KN: With Glowfly I simply got tired of the other similar apps that didn’t go far enough or tried too hard.  I wanted to make something that fit in with Android seamlessly so as to feel like it is part of the OS.  We have also been experimenting with making it pluggable so that other apps can integrate with it officially to have their notifications show as a popup as well.


TA: I see some of the proceeds from the sale of Spiderfly apps go to cancer patients in need, would you elaborate on that?

KN: After I first started doing the Android thing, I noticed that you can’t go into it thinking that you can turn it into a lucrative revenue stream.  Face it, when it comes to mobile apps, you have to get lucky for your app to really take off and you never know what kind of app or game will strike it with the masses to take off.  So since my fiance has cancer, it inspired me to help those with cancer who need it most.  The insurance companies weren’t exactly doing much to help them after all.  It isn’t a lot, but every little bit counts and if it helps to let a cancer patient enjoy life for even one more day….then it is worth it.

TA: I’ve seen you asking for time donations on Google+ from fellow developers to help with your projects.  What kind of help are you looking for and where can they contact you?

KN: Absolutely, I am looking for help on projects for Android apps.  Anyone interested can visit Spider Fly Studios and contact us to learn more.

TA: Do you do anything else besides Android App Development?

KN: Aside from Android stuff, I also do web and graphic design.

TA: What do you think of Android 2013 vs the Android of 2010? How have things improved?

KN: Android has greatly improved.  Aside from the constant UI evolution based on how users are using the OS on phones and tablets, we’ve also seen the Android OS in various forms on TV sets, running security systems and in all kinds of other electronic devices and appliances.  It is a great step to full home and life control.  That is just the on the industrial side.  There is also the user side where we have seen so many incarnations of the OS being customized.  You don’t see iOS doing much of that.  🙂

TA: Is there anything that Google could do to make Android even better than it has?

KN: Google is already doing things right….but a few things I would love to see them do is:  Work on customer service.  There really isn’t too much one can do to get help from Google other than posting in a forum.  The same needs to happen for developer relations.  We paid them to be a dev and we give up 30% of proceeds….and yet there is no way for us to really get help.  I would like to see them step up the app protection API, maybe have it use the new GCM to stay up to date with our apps.  It sucks to do a search on your app to see what people are saying about it just to find a bunch of sites giving it away for free.  Finally, they really need to have teams for each of their apps.  Sometimes it feels like some good apps get a nice update and then they get forgotten about for a while….like Currents.  That app is a good start, but it isn’t par with others like it.

TA: Nexus vs OEM skinned devices…which ones do you prefer and why?

KN: I think it really all depends on taste.  The OEM devices have a lot of nice features that have a certain wow factor, like the new voice controlled aspect with the Moto X.  But there’s the downside that there are a lot of pre-installed sponsored apps that you have to deal with.  I hope the trend of blending OEM with the Play Store/Nexus model continues  It will give users plenty of options.  But personally…I’ll prolly stick with the Nexus line.


TA: Any thoughts on non Android platforms? If you had to choose something to use besides Android what would you pick?

KN: I kinda like Windows 8.  Many hate it but it isn’t really all that bad.  Microsoft just needs to get it on the right track.

TA: What’s your current project? I thought I heard something about a live wallpaper?

KN: Our current project in development is Stormfly for Android.  It is a live wallpaper that deals with current weather conditions.  It used to be live on the Play Store under than name of “Live Weather Wallpaper”, but Google abruptly and without notice, shut down their weather reporting service.  So we were forced to take it down and rewrite it from scratch in order to use a new weather source.  We hope to launch real soon.  🙂

TA: OK before we let you go, just one final question. Besides graphic design and Android app development. What is the most important passion in your life?

My passion aside from my work is my fiance.  He’s my hero.  He is working on his career, which is really taking off…..he has been fighting cancer for over a decade…..he helps his grandparents who are in their 80’s and also have cancer…..helps his mom to pay some bills and stay afloat…..and still manages to find time for me.  Don’t know how he does it.

TA: That wraps it up. Thanks for sharing with us and we wish you all the luck and continued success with Spiderfly Studios and Glowfly Apps.

So there you have it, be sure to check out the links below for Kahil’s web design company, Spiderfly Studios, as well as the link to his Android apps and Glowfly home page. Remember, proceeds from the sale of his apps go to a cancer patient in need. And, if you’re an Android developer who would like to donate your time and skill to a worthy cause, please contact Kahil through his website Spiderfly Studios. Thanks for reading this interview.  We hope to make this a semi-regular feature on Techaeris.

Spiderfly Studios

Spiderfly Apps

Glowfly For Android

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