Interview: Drew Haninger of Olive Tree Bible Software

September 14, 2007 at 5:10 pm

inbabble-ilumina.jpgMobile applications can do more than entertain and communicate. One of the pioneers of “mobile spirituality” is Olive Tree Software. Founded in 1997, the company released BibleReader for Palm OS in 1998 and for Pocket PC in 1999. Greek, Hebrew and Chinese Bibles followed. Today, 12 different platforms are supported, including Windows Mobile, Java, Symbian, Blackberry and iPod. Their new iLumina Mobile, a partnership with Tyndale House Publishers, includes three Bible translations, 8,000 encyclopaedia articles, commentaries, cross-references, maps and videos. Their website also offers free downloads of classic devotional books and Bible translations for mobile devices.

We spoke briefly about the company with Drew Haninger, Olive Tree president, software engineer, and sometimes mountain climber.

What does Olive Tree Software do?
Haninger: We build Bible software for the mobile landscape, including platforms such as Palm, Pocket PC, Blackberry, Smartphone, Symbian and Java based cell phones.

How many employees do you have?
Haninger: We have 15 full and part-time helpers in 6 states: Hawaii, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, New York and Illinois. Most are in Spokane Washington. We are a virtual Internet company.

How many products has Olive Tree developed?
Haninger: A little over 400 Bible titles at this time. More than 150 are in the engineering, and more coming.

What is your revenue model?
Haninger: Commercial sales, but we have almost 100 free titles.

How are you different from other mobile Bible software companies?
Haninger: More titles and more platforms, also multi-media.

What are your future plans for growth, in partners, handsets and markets?
Haninger: Java and Linux are the next potential areas. We are not sure when to launch these.

What new features do you plan to release next for mobile devices?
Haninger: Unicode support, helping us support almost any language and character in the whole world including Chinese.

Do you have plans to partner with mobile carriers?
Haninger: Yes, we are already, via Handmark.

What changes need to be made so the mobile Internet is more ready for the consumer? Why haven’t they been made yet?
Haninger: It’s just a matter of time and they will be there. Most people are thinking the mobile will replace the PC. There are about 100 million PCs, and over one billion cellphones. Olive Tree in two to four years will run on one billion smartphone cellphones.

Michael M.
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Entry filed under: drew haninger, ilumina mobile, mobile applications, mobile content, olive tree.

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