Did you have any prior development or coding experience?
I started programming when I was a teenager. I was always fascinated from Jump & Run games so I programmed my own game. It ran on a PC with a resolution of 320×240 and was great fun to play.
What was the most challenging aspect of developing this mobile app?
The idea of the app is to turn a smartphone or tablet into a professional wake-up light. This requires a lot of hardware access like adjusting the system brightness, system volume, turning on the flashlight, etc. Also, some security issues were difficult to handle because a wake-up light must appear in front of the lock screen without requiring to unlock the device. In fact, security issues are the reason why there is no iOS version of the app. Apple does not allow to start an app in the morning.
Name a few of your favorite apps and reason/s you love them.
I use standard apps like Gmail, Camera and WhatsApp the most and check the weather forecast with WeatherPro. But since I am always missing some features, I am often starting to program my own version. For example, in Gentle Wakeup the weather forecast will show you simple symbols for the weather, wind and humidity. I do not need hundreds of measurements data for the weather. All I want to know is if the weather gets nice and what to wear. My app gives you suggestions what clothes to choose for the felt temperature and whether you need sun cream or sunglasses for UV protection.
How long have you been working on this app?
I have been working on this app for over 5 years. Every day about 10.000 people wake up with my app and enjoy a better morning. This motivates me to continue to improve people’s life.
What need of the user did you have in mind when developing this app?
I am not an early bird, more like a night owl. I can work long in the evening but I cannot wake up quickly in the morning. A friend of me suggested to try out a physical wake-up light and the first time I tried it I was really amazed how awake I felt when opening my eyes. Many people feel dizzy when the alarm rings because they are ripped out of a deep sleep phase. But the light will start 20 minutes before your wake-up time and signal the brain that the day will start. You will leave any deep sleep phase before your alarm rings.
Same with the alarm sound. A high beeping actually indicates your brain that there is something wrong like in the stone ages when we had to listen to dangerous animals or enemies. But my app plays chirping birds which increase gently in volume. The perfect and most natural way to wake up to. So basically, it was my personal need but the most successful apps are the ones which you use by yourself.
In what way do you think your app is better than similar apps on the market? Please describe in detail what innovation you think you bring and what you are proud of in your app.
Many apps on the market focus on extreme wake-ups and measuring sleep phases of the user. These are all not natural wake-up methods and can even lead to sleeping issues. The best sleep is if you do not need to think about it. Some apps try to detect your light sleep phase but they are not 100% accurate and even worse, they may wake you up 20 minutes too earl
The wake-up light gently takes you out of any deep sleep phase so you always wake up perfectly on time. It even works in the summer time but you need good curtains to darken your room. In fact, most rooms are not dark enough at night which can be the cause of many sleeping issues. The app may also help people with sleeping issues. You can fall asleep by a sunset with natural sounds, by meditation or by following a breathing pattern to calm down. Or just take a quick power-nap. Or suppress disturbing noises such as a barking dog at night with the sound of ocean waves.
There are many features included in Gentle Wakeup you would normally find in separate apps. Besides waking up gently, it will take care of your morning routine. Starting with a weather forecast with recommendations for the appropriate clothing, you can enjoy countdowns of your favorite events, such as upcoming birthdays, holidays or anniversary of a couple. You can view the number of years, months, days or even hours, minutes and seconds.
What are your future plans and expected features of the coming new versions of this app?
A brand-new feature is to integrate free workout videos in your morning routine. Start with an easy workout like stretching in bed for 5 minutes and increase your fitness level to a 20-minute full body workout. Regular training improves your fitness, muscles, weight, defenses and lets you start the day with a good feeling. I hope this will motivate many of those who are currently not doing any sports to improve their health.
Assuming new users of your app are reading this page. What do you want to ask them to do (contact you about X, Share the app, etc.)?
Rate the app with 5 stars in the play store. It has helped already over half a million people to wake-up in a better way. All features are free to use in their basic configuration.
I am a single developer without any team assistance. The more people spread the word the better I can develop great new features for the app. Talk about it on Reddit, Quora, Facebook, Twitter, etc. Tell them how it changed your morning. You can also use the sharing function inside the app.
Dr. Alexander Rieger released his first PC game in the year 1991 for DOS operating system. In 1999, an image editor was released with many photo effects for Windows computers. It has won several awards during those years (http://www.Graphics-Tools.com). He was very late with buying his first smartphone and developing apps. But in 2012, he released his first iOS app “Dress Guide” which matches tie colors to shirt colors. It reached second place in the lifestyle category in the app store. Since then, many apps have been developed: Lifestyle utilities, quiz games, and over 1000 photo effects (http://www.ChangeMyStyle.com). The iOS app “Color Shine” reached overall rank #1 in the App Store. The most successful iOS app is “Paint my Wall” where you can take a photo of your living room and virtually paint the wall in another color. Since 2016 he also started to develop for Android. Gentle Wakeup is his most successful Android app.