Being a Windows Phone user is akin to being on a see-saw. One week the app store is being graced with long overdue cross-platform apps, the next we're publicly ridiculed about big name businesses departing the platform. One month we're reporting on the increase in Lumia sales worldwide, while in the same exact report we are viewing market share percentage losses across the board. Some days we're delighted with the news about upcoming features and fixes only to find out those updates are sometimes months to a year out of reach.
As much as the Windows Phone ride has seen its share of up's and down's there have been some noteworthy app champions who have not only made the platform bearable, but downright enjoyable. If you have a Windows Phone or know someone with one, then you know the name Rudy Huyn, but do you recognize the name Gaurav Kalra?
If you've looked for a decent RSS reader on Windows Phone, then his award winning 4 1/2 star (should be a full 5) app, Nextgen Reader, should ring a bell. Gaurav's efforts didn't end with Windows Phone; he's also making a splash on some of the 200 million PC's with Windows 8 and 8.1 as well with his app in the Windows Store.
The folks over at Lumia Conversations, thought it was high time to acknowledge his efforts and we couldn't agree more. In an interview given to the blog site, Gaurav laments on why he became a developer:
"I’ve been using computers since I was a teenager and the love has grown. I like to try different technologies and while I was in school, I had installed every Linux distribution on my system. I used to try hacking and troubleshooting issues."
For those of you wondering, he also explains what the name means to him and why he chose Windows Phone exclusively:
"I developed Nextgen Reader for myself! Earlier, I used Google Reader a lot but when the Windows Phone came, I decided to build this for phones and later for Windows 8. I think Windows Phone has the best home-screen experience, especially the live tiles. I like the word “next” a lot, thus it’s called Nextgen Reader. No one really knows what’s next, you see."
Gaurav was also questioned about his thoughts on the news-reading competition of Windows Phone, with competing news apps like MSN news and Flipboard. Gaurav believes his app is fundamentally different than both MSN and Flipboard, and as a user, I agree.
"Nextgen Reader provides a simple, fast and clean user experience. It’s more productive than other news apps and yet very powerful and highly configurable. In addition, it hooks up with Feedly so you can enjoy news across platforms or devices and synchronize it via Nextgen Reader for the best experience on Windows.There is no competition at all. I do like MSN News and Flipboard, but they’re fundamentally different from Nextgen Reader. We focus on a more productive experience, just like an email inbox. You get unread news from your favorite feeds every single day."
As for his thoughts on paid versus ad-supported apps, he keeps it simple, "I always believe that ads compromise the experience." Lastly, Gaurav gives us some insight as to his future and the future of the app:
"I have built a product for the community and for my personal use. I am glad to have many passionate users, so expect many improvements in the year 2015. I plan to continue building software for Windows and Cloud. I would also like to work or start an open source project."
When it comes to apps, Windows Phone, and Windows users (as of late) don't have many we can hang our hats. We receive poorly functional ports, feature missing beta's and more often than not, simple apologies as to lack of development interest. As we endure and slowly limp towards the light, not only are full-featured apps like Nextgen Reader a breath of fresh air but developers like Gaurav choosing the platform first and exclusively are almost godsend.
With over 9,000 combined reviews and maintaining a healthy 4.5 stars in both the Windows Phone and Windows Stores, Gaurav's work speaks for itself.