An Interview with Sumit Mehra, Y Media Labs’ CTO

 “We operate like a start up within big enterprises. We  provide a quicker turnaround and deliver outstanding and disruptive mobile experiences for our clients’ brands”

CTO, Sumit Mehra


I sat down with Mehra to discuss important qualities of successful apps, preferred mobile platforms, and important planning strategies when developing a mobile app.

What are the most important first steps a developer needs to take in building an app? Like the best planning strategies?

We’ve gone down the road of building mobile apps many times. I recommend focusing on a few key features and making them as good as they can possibly be. Then, as your user base grows, you can add new features and scale as per demand. Furthermore, building a minimum viable product as a first launch, with limited features, allows the product’s direction to be shaped based on user adoption- promoting scalability, and ultimately success.

Other helpful strategies include researching and identifying the target demographics to align the product with end users. Apps that continually place UX at the forefront of their tech and design work are ultimately the ones that disrupt the market and offer valuable mobile experiences to end-users.

For fledgeling developers, what is the best platform for them to try first? iOS or Android?

I highly recommend aligning the platform (iOS or Android) to the App’s purpose and primary use-case. For instance, data indicates that mothers usually tend to skew towards iOS platforms rather than Android. So an app targeted at mothers may want to consider utilizing iOS platform first.

In terms of app market dominance, iOS apps currently tend to perform better. Overall, iOS accounts for 74% of app download revenues whereas android represents only 20%. In terms of devices, both iOS and Android devices occupy similar market shares at 43.5% and 52.1% respectively. So while iOS apps tend to be more lucrative and have better penetration, Android’s growth rate is outpacing that of iOS by a significant margin.

Which developer program (Apple or Google) do you think is better and why?

Both the iOS and Android platforms have their advantages.


In regards to the level of support and consistency offered, iOS is the stronger program from a developer’s perspective. The iOS development kit is able to complete all functionality of a build, which allows for a more seamless development process. Developers are reassured by the consistency provided by the iOS program as compared to its Android counterpart. This comes at a cost- iOS apps are much more sandboxed and unable to interact with other apps at the same level as Android.


The Android platform allows more flexibility through its impressive community interface and lack of recurring fees. However, unlike iOS, development for the Android platform comes with several barriers to entry. The hardware (i.e. Motorola and Samsung) is not always developed by the same company as the software (Android), which creates some issues in the development process. However, once developers have dealt with those barriers, they are able to deploy rapidly in a non- sandboxed environment, which is a huge advantage. Developers for the Android platform can deploy without any wait times enabling them to react to client requirements and interact with code in a shorter time.

Can you list what you think the most important qualities are for a successful news app, dating app etc?

For apps to be successful, regardless of their specified category or industry, they need to align with their context, target demographics, use case, and end user behavior. Whether you’re creating a news app, a dating app, or a social app, the importance lies within the app’s value proposition, simplicity, and user experience. At the end of the day, the app must simplify or enhance the user’s life in order to disrupt the market and succeed in the app store.

News Apps

Most of the news apps are consumed on the Go. Hence the content quality and quantity is paramount. It’s important for the content be contextual, succinct and easy to consume. It also cannot be cluttered and must be visually stunning.For instance, Circa app allows users to select news category that they find interesting. By offering aggregated news within those categories- the app makes it really simple for users to consume content and be relevant at the same time.

Dating Apps

Right now, Tinder is one of the most trending dating apps on the App Store- striking up roughly 10 million matches a day worldwide. It is successful because it emulates natural human behavior and serves as an effective tool to simplify the process of meeting new people.

Social Apps

For social apps, we have found that implementing or simplifying social paradigms that people are already familiar with often promote good user engagement. Also, it is important to avoid the empty room syndrome and come up with innovative ways for content creation. With social apps, it is imperative that users engage in initial content creation, in order to avoid/minimize the empty room syndrome.