Smooz Browser - Interview with the developer of a fantastic app

Did you have any prior development or coding experience?

Yes. I had been a product manager at Sony and Rakuten for 10 years. During those years, I started planning my future career to be an entrepreneur. I thought coding skills will be necessary as a tech start-up founder in order to bootstrap my product at the early stage of my company and also to be able to communicate efficiently with engineers. So I started to learn to code while working as a product manager. I woke up at 6 in the morning, coded 2 hours, went to the office, coded 1 hour while having lunch, coded 3 hours after dinner, and coded almost all day during the weekend.

I had so many product ideas that I wanted to create, so I never got tired of coding. Rather I was getting into it more and more as time went by. Eventually, after 3 years of learning, I became confident in my skills and started my own business.

What was the most challenging aspect of developing mobile app?

Users have such high expectations for a browser app that they use every day. Their minimum requirement for a browser would be, all websites need to be rendered without problems even with websites that are not coded correctly, save ID and PW, private browsing, bookmark, history, file download manager, and so on. On top of it, there needs to be a unique value.

At the beginning, our app lacked many of the essential features, but we kept building one feature another, and finally became a realistic option for to be a regular browser that uses launch every day.

Yuichi Kato is the CEO and Founder of Astool, Inc. With over 10 years of experience in product management and self-taught coding knowledge, he came up with the idea of designing a browser, that is feature-filled yet easy to use for the users.

Name a few of your favorite apps and reason you love them.

SmartNews: It is a popular news app in Japan and the US. Its horizontal scroll to switch news category is impressive, and obviously, our app, Smooz, was inspired a lot by it. In addition, its machine learning ability to predict my preference is awesome.

Google Maps: It turns navigation into entertainment. Without it, I would not know so many of my favorite restaurants and I would not have visited so many places I liked. There are so many features in Google Maps, but they have successfully kept the user experience simple and clean.

How long have you been working on this app?

4 years.

What need of the user did you have in mind when developing this app?

“How come mobile browsing is so inefficient compared with desktop browsing. Isn’t there any good tool out there?”

We think default browsers such as Chrome or Safari are good browsers, but they are like Toyota for cars; for the mass audience. But I myself wanted something better and I could even pay for it. Since I use the browser every day, if I can make it 1% more efficient per day, the return I will get over the years will be huge. I started with my own need and I thought there would be many more people like me.

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.

One handed gesture control is our top value proposition. On the other mobile browsers, tab navigation is a huge pain; launch tab manager, scrolling on the tab manager, and select the tab I want. On Smooz, I can easily switch tabs just by swiping left and right.

High customizability is also liked by many users. On the other mobile browsers, features on the toolbar are predefined and cannot be changed. Even for the users who never “share” contents, the share button sits on the toolbar all time. On Smooz, I can customize what should be on the toolbar and the feature order on the menu according to the personal preference. Also, there are many more customizable items like themes, wallpaper, app icon, scroll behaviors, tab switch behaviors, and so on.

What are your future plans and expected features of the coming new versions of this app?

We cannot talk about tangible plans for the future, but we will keep focusing on creating the best mobile browsing experience by delivering unique value.

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.)?

Find your favorite features of Smooz and share them with your friends!

Smooz Browser

About App:

Smooz offers a fresh and unique web browsing experience with its gesture-based navigation, tab manager, customizable gesture controls that trigger a multitude of functions.
Smooz was featured in more than 30 media articles in Japan including TechCrunch, Gizmodo, Engadget, etc.

Smooth Tab Operation
Hold the link to open it in a new tab. Swipe left and right to change tabs. Swipe up the Search Icon to close a tab.

Gesture-Based Navigation
Gestures can be customized to activate numerous functions such as open bookmarks, activate the private mode, close tab, translate page, and many more.

Private Mode
Browse without leaving browsing/search history and cookies

Main Features
· Hold link to open in a new tab on the background
· Swipe left and right to switch tabs
· Check other users' comments on the website you are visiting
· Private mode
· Quick access to visit favorite websites faster
· Pin tabs for quick and easy access
· Tab manager
· Close all the current tabs and organize tabs
· Gestures

Secondary Features
· Customize gestures to open bookmarks, activate private mode, close tab, translate page, and many more.
· Display keyboard and search page on launch
· Share websites from share button
· Open last browsed tabs when restarting Smooz
· Open webpages from other applications in Smooz
· Open URL copied from other application in Smooz
· Search engine options
· Search keywords on websites
· Translate page
· Save ID/Passwords
· Delete Browsing/Search histories
· Show, edit, copy and share URLs
· Chat based customer support

Nikkei MJ newspaper
Sankei News
Venture Times

Inquiries or Reports
Please contact us from the in-app customer support. (Settings > Send questions or requests). If you have not downloaded the app yet, email us at [email protected]

Categories: Tools

Date: October 13, 2020

Developer: Yuichi Kato

About developer: Yuichi Kato is the CEO and Founder of Astool, Inc. With over 10 years of ex ... Read more



App URL in iTunes
App URL in Google Play


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