Valpo Students Hit iPhone App Gold - NBC Chicago

Valpo Students Hit iPhone App Gold

College students break top 100

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    The Battery Go! team, Cameron Banga (left), Jeff Lange (center), and Michael Phelps (right), has turned their summer long project into a new top iPhone application and hopefully a nice fat check for their hard work. What will they come up with next?

    Within the span of a month, three Valparaiso University students went from eating ramen to making money on an international level.

    "I still can't comprehend it myself, to be honest with you," Cameron Banga, a 21-year-old economics major, told the Sun-Times.

    Cameron Banga, Michael Phelps (mechanical engineering major), and Jeff Lange (communication major) decided to spend their summer developing an iPhone app.

    "We saw this as a self-imposed internship that would allow us to gain some new knowledge and experience and create something that we could demonstrate to people, even if only a couple people downloaded it," Banga said.

    But they had one problem: they knew nothing about computer programming.

    Once the guys completed their final exams in early May, they began working on their idea. Doing what college students do best, they crammed lots of information, sometimes studying for as much as 12 hours a day.

    Lange decided he wanted to take part in the design and art of the application, Banga would take care of the business and marketing and Phelps would have the daunting task of handling the programming of the application.  With just one basic intro to C++ course under Phelps’ belt, the learning took longer than the creating of the application.

    After their friends wondered where they disappeared to all day, Banga used his blogging skills to create the site collegekidapp.com, giving people the chance to follow along as their project unfolded.

    The enduring journey working seven days a week hasn’t been easy, but they never gave up.

    “I don’t feel like I’ve worked an hour all summer” Banga said. “I was hanging out with friends and having fun.  When push comes to shove we’re making an iPhone application.  We learning how to work together and how this whole process works."  

    A little over a month later, the young men submitted their design to Apple, Inc. Their iPhone application, called "Battery Go!," gives users an easy way to see how much battery power their device has. The app estimates how much time is left for Internet, phone, music, or video use.

    "Battery life is something that's always on the mind of people, whatever demographic they fall into," Banga said in a press release. "Whether someone is a 50-year-old businessperson or an 18-year-old college student, everyone is interested in knowing how much longer they can use their phone."

    By July 5, their 99-cent app was up for sale. In less than two days, the three entrepreneurs who hadn't cared if even one person bought their app, watched as their summer project soared and become one of the top 100 paid applications. It has been reviewed by PC Magazine, Christian Science Monitor, Gadget Review, AppAdvice.com, Takes on Tech, iPhoneItalia and several other Web sites.

    “When we passed The Sims, I thought 'that’s cool,'” Banga said. “Looking at it, there are million dollar productions doing it all the time, we’re just three guys.  It’s just become our lives. It’s going to be better than mowing lawns.”

    Now the guys are working on updates for the “Battery Go!” application and a free version of the application. Banga said they had some ideas they wanted to implement at the beginning, but because they didn’t know what they were doing they weren’t able to.  

    So, of course, they’ll just have to keep on learning as they keep on creating.

    “If we had to take one thing from this, it’s anything is possible,” Banga said.  “When we came together this summer we didn’t know pretty much know anything.  We didn’t even know how to make an iPhone app.  We thought if we spend enough time on this we can do this. We live in the moment; it’s been a fun rollercoaster ride."  

    The students will likely get their first check by the end of the month or in early August.

    And they'll have one heck of a "What I Did on My Summer Vacation" story.

    Matt Bartosik, editor of Off the Rocks' next issue, arranges his iPhone applications alphabetically.