The Plan for Precision Tools on Windows & Android
Look forward to our upcoming Precision Tool releases for Concepts on Windows and Android.
We hear a lot of questions about our release roadmap for Windows and Android. Some of it is a positive thumbs up for progress (thanks!), while much of it is feedback asking why we aren't developing Concepts faster for Windows and Android. The truth is, we're working every day to enable updates and new features across all platforms, with the ultimate goal of a full, cross-platform infinite sketching experience for your creative work. (Here is the comparative features list we update with each release.)
We'd like to share some background on the development of our Windows and Android versions in relation to iOS, and provide a roadmap of what is coming next and when. Currently, the focus is on Precision Tools.
1. Concepts for iOS is where it started.
We began building Concepts for iOS nearly 10 years ago with the launch of the first iPads. We've delivered near-monthly releases ever since. In 2018, we launched a first edition for Android and Windows - a version that followed our mantra of ship early and ship often. We had users asking for the app, but seeing it had taken a full seven years to develop our iOS version, our team knew it would take some time to develop a comparable version for Android and Windows. We had to learn the ropes and the platform, and iterate rather than try to build everything in one go.
Concepts has received continued good will from Microsoft, Google and our customers (thank you). Revenue growth when we launched was slower than we'd hoped - it's well known that non-gaming revenue on the Play Store and Windows Store is significantly lower than the App Store, especially when you target a niche of stylus-powered devices. Despite this, we have continued to invest in both platforms and bootstrap them to be sustainably developed. This year, we've achieved the milestone of revenue supporting our Windows and Android development.
It's not there yet, but we build and release new features along with behind-the-scenes engine work every 4 - 6 weeks. With the progress we've made, features that took us a year to create on iOS are only taking a couple of months for both Android and Windows. This is light speed! Of course it's still not as fast as we'd like, and we'd love to hire additional developers to help us go faster, but as a company, we work responsibly to realistically support our hires. All money from purchases goes back into app development for all platforms.
2. We develop to the strengths of each platform.
When you enter a new market, you want to understand your customers, the hardware, the software, and how they mesh into a working system. Workflows on one platform don't necessarily match up on the others (which is why some people prefer Android phones to Apple phones, for example).
Instead of taking shortcuts and porting across workflows that don't really mesh between platforms, we are researching and building specifically for each platform (for example, the Surface Dial and keyboard shortcuts that match your feedback).
At the same time, we're keeping in mind our goal of a "universal Concepts platform" that will enable your creativity across all platforms and devices. We recently enabled cross-platform subscription sync as a step in this direction, so you can share a single subscription across all platforms.
3. We believe in building a great experience.
If it doesn't work well, we don't release it. For this reason, we do not guarantee our release dates. If you're a developer or creator, you understand that what seems to be simple on top is actually the deep-end during development, even if you've done something similar before. In building for alternate platforms, systems are different, use cases and hardware are different, and software continually updates and changes with time. We would rather do it right and build a solid tool that supports our customers' creative experience than deliver something half-baked.
For each feature on each platform, we build a design, test the design, then update and test it again. We do this both internally and externally with our excellent beta testers, as many times as necessary until feedback is positive. We methodically test each release across hardware and platform-specific workflows. We roll out each release slowly and carefully so we can immediately correct for unknown errors, and update within a few days of launch to solve any issues we didn't find during testing.
We hope you appreciate our attention to detail and that we listen to your feedback throughout the design cycle. Your support is invaluable to our development - we hear you and do our best to answer all support issues and questions. We very much value your creative work and want to build the most solid tools to help you succeed.
Precision Tools Roadmap
In keeping with our rapid release cycle, we have split Precision features into the following roadmap:
Precision Release 1: Custom Grid Editor + Snap / Align to Grid While Drawing
Expected Release: Aug 2021
Details: The Grid Editor allows you to customize your grid's density, line weight, color and opacity to your project. Live Snap and Align to Grid make drawing straight lines with the grid quick and efficient.
Precision Release 2: Grid as a Layer
Expected Release: Sep 2021
Details: Grid as a Layer creates a separate grid interface that allows you to adapt your grid settings to your project workflow. You can move the grid above your images, adjust its opacity, or hide the grid as you draw.
Precision Release 3: Perspective Grids
Expected Release: Oct 2021
Details: 1 point, 2 point and 3 point perspective grids help you draw 3-dimensional sketches on canvas. Customize your horizon line and vanishing points, and use them with Align to Grid to draw quick sketches in perspective.
Precision Release 4: Shape Guides
Expected Release: Nov 2021
Details: The Shape Guides are a flexible approach to accurate shape drawing. Use the straight line, arc, ellipse and rectangle guides to draw full or partial shapes with precision on your canvas.
Precision Release 5: Advanced Transforms
Expected Release: Dec 2021
Details: Advanced Transforms give you the ability to warp, skew and distort your drawing with control points for fast perspectives, layouts and tweaks.
Precision Release 6: Snap While Editing
Expected Release: Q1 2022
Details: Snap to your grid & and other strokes as you edit your drawing with the Selection tool.
Precision Release 7: Scale & Measurement
Expected Release: Q1 2022
Details: Set your plans to real-world scale, sketch with live measurement, customize line and shape lengths, and display and export drawings with measurement tags for precision planning.
We continue to make progress in other areas, too, and will share more as the year progresses. Thank you for your encouragement, patience and support!
The Concepts Team
Problem Solving for Brand Design - Graphic Designer Franz Escolastico shares how she creates brand and web solutions for clients.
Creating Innovative Game Experiences: The Making of RedWaterOne - Designer Bart Massee shares his creative development process behind RedWaterOne, an interplanetary drone warfare game to rescue humans from insurgent AI.
Teaching Strategic Thinking Skills to AirForce Pilots - Major John Webb of the U.S. Air Force teaches strategic thinking to pilot students with Concepts and his iPad.