Box Box Club Makes F1 Info Smartphone-Friendly: Interview With the Founders
5 mins read

Box Box Club Makes F1 Info Smartphone-Friendly: Interview With the Founders

Spread the love

Formula 1 has long enjoyed a fan following in India, including myself who is a fan of the elite motorsport championship since the days of Damon Hill and Jacques Villeneuve competing for the 1996 championship. Things were naturally a bit less organised and more niche before streaming got popular and the massive influx of new fans after the success of Netflix’s Drive to Survive show. However, the modern smartphone and streaming era has worked well with the premier motorsport championship in recent times.

Apps have expectedly had a big role to play in this modern approach, including the F1 TV app, which is the only official way to watch Formula 1 and support series races in India. Beyond this, there aren’t too many apps outside of F1’s official set, but one in particular stands out for a number of reasons. Box Box Club is a made-in-India app, developed by F1 enthusiasts in collaboration with the Apple App Accelerator program based in Bengaluru.

Built by F1 fans

As mentioned, F1 has a niche but loyal following in India, including Ranjit Ramanan and Kamal Lakshmanan, the founders of Box Box Club. “Our recognition of motorsport’s immense passion and global appeal drove the decision to build Box Box,” said the founders. Indeed, the entire developer team of the app is Indian, although it’s worth noting that India stands at around 15th place among all countries when it comes to downloads of the app.

“Our vision was to develop an app offering real-time updates, a Lock screen and Home screen widgets, exclusive content, customisable features, and a thriving community to enhance the overall motorsport experience,” say the founders, and this is where the app stands out as compared to more traditional sources of the same info, such as the official F1 apps or various websites.

While you can simply open the app and get access to details such as race schedules, championship standings, and stats from recent races, the real selling point of Box Box Club is its collection of widgets, which I had a chance to use on iOS. “When Apple announced the Lock Screen widgets and Live Activity for iOS 16, we got to work on the very next day of WWDC 2022 and created our mockups of Live Race Tracking and Lock Screen widgets for F1. We studied the documentation and launched both features on day 1 of their launch,” said Ramanan and Lakshmanan.

It’s something that has given the app quite the boost, and has naturally made things a lot easier for fans. You no longer need to go into the app to access race countdowns or schedules in your local time zone; all of this is nicely presented through home screen widgets on iOS. “That (the timely launch of the new widget features) gave us quite a boost in the F1 fandom and also got us noticed by a few of the top F1 teams. They shared our Lock Screen widgets in their official social media channels,” said the founders.

Premium features for the whole experience

While some features — including widgets, watch faces, statistics, and community updates — are available for free, the paid experience opens up some of the premium and nicer features that might appeal to F1 ‘superfans’. This includes detailed results and data about upcoming races, the ability to add multiple driver and constructor widgets, and live tracking of races with details on positions, laps, and more. There are two paid plans, Pro for Rs. 499 per year and Select for Rs. 999 per year.

“The response to premium features has been positive, with users appreciating the added value they bring to their motorsport experience. Premium features often include advanced analytics, additional content, ad-free browsing, and personalised alerts,” said Ramanan and Lakshmanan about the differences between the free and paid experience on the app.

App development in India, and working with Apple

India is home to many app developers, thanks to its vast pool of qualified professionals and ever increasing user base, but this doesn’t make things any simpler. “The Indian market is not easy to crack. Due to the diverse population, not all apps can capture the market,” said the founders. Another challenge was find someone with the right skills while also being interested in the admittedly niche F1 championship. “We at BoxBox faced the enormous challenge of finding an Android developer who is also a fan of Formula 1 racing,” said Ramanan and Lakshmanan.

Box Box Club is available on both iOS and Android, but the developers work closely with Apple’s App Accelerator program, which is based in Bengaluru. “Our 2022 version of the app was very different from what is currently on the App Store. And a massive part of the change was driven in the right direction, thanks to the support from the App Accelerator team from Apple. They often sat with us, reviewing our designs and app structure,” said the founders.

Affiliate links may be automatically generated – see our ethics statement for details.

Source link

Spread the love

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *