Why Pokemon Go is a Successful Mobile App

A new mobile app has launched and it’s super effective. Here’s our take on the recent launch of the viral mobile app, PokémonGo. 

The Pokémon Go app has captured the attention of millions of fans around the world. In just a matter of hours they shot straight to the top of the mobile app store charts and are allegedly generating millions in revenue per day. How was Niantic, the company behind the app, able to make such a viral sensation? Well here at Lithios, making mobile apps is what we do best. We know all the pieces that go into making fully robust and innovative mobile apps.

Pokémon is obviously a cultural phenomenon but the PokémonGo app has just the right balance of cool technical features and a simple, easy to use User Interface. How’d they do it?

We’ll break it down for you. Let’s start with the mobile technology:

Technology Features


Catch Pokémon in real life with Augmented Reality. This technology feature creates an overlay of your current surrounding. Watch a Pikachu scurry past your desk. Spot a Pidgey flap at the park. Here are some screenshot examples of Pokémon that have been spotted in hard-to-find places using Augmented Reality Technology. 

Image Attribution: Reddit/PokemonGoSnap


Pokéstops, gyms, and Pokémon all appear using a GPS tracking method known as geolocation. The phone is able to grab your current location and determine how close you are to different areas. Each Pokéstop and gym sets up a geofence: a virtual barrier defined by a radius around a given latitude/longitude point. Once you enter that radius (i.e. walk close enough to a gym/stop) then you are able to access the contents of those locations (Pokéballs for everyone!)

Taptic Vibration

Is there a Beedrill nearby? Taptic Vibrations gives your phone a buzz when new Pokémon appear, making sure that you, in fact, can catch them all.

Google Maps api

With the Google Maps API, your neighborhood turns into Saffron city. This technology allows you to interact with the game field and snag a Charizard at your local coffee shop before your next door neighbor does. The app knows the name and location of all of the buildings and landmarks nearby by pulling the data from trusty Google Maps.

Photo Capture

What’s the fun of catching a Charmander on your desk if you can’t share it with your friends? PokémonGo using the camera technology in your phone to snap quick photos of the Pokémon you catch so you can share with your friends.

Design, UI/UX


Navigating your way through Pokémon Go couldn’t be easier with the liberal use of radial menus. The simple Pokéball icon is your mission control for everything pertaining to your Poké-fam and bonus items while you’re on the go. Access to your statistics and nearby Pokémon is executed easily through beautiful pop up menus that don’t clutter the navigation, but organize it neatly. The usability of this touch-based interface stays within a comfortable range of where your thumb taps naturally, giving for an excellent user experience.


Pokémon Go has taken a huge leap in updating gameplay graphics since the 8-bit version on the Nintendo DS and Gameboy Pokémon games. Improvements deemed necessary if Niantic wanted to seamlessly blend with the new technology of augmented reality. Bold colors and soft gradients used along with three dimensional renderings of the Pokémon deliver an overall beautiful aesthetic.

Is your app next?

PokémonGo has the benefit of featuring an iconic brand that we all know and love. In their first experience in the mobile app realm, they were able to make something that caught the attention of seemingly everyone in the world. Whether you want to be Pokémon master or not, we hope you can appreciate the features that go into a mobile app. Did any of these features sound interesting to you? Do you have an idea for a mobile app and want to know how to get it done? Give us a call and maybe your app can be the next smash hit!

Looking or the Best Spots in Raleigh to Find Pokéstops?

Download the Pokémon Go Raleigh Pokéstop heat map.

Catch Them All

At Lithios, we have created the Raleigh PokéStop Heat Map to show you the best locations in Raleigh to catch Pokémon.
Download our map and start catching.

Pokemon Go Download


LIthios Apps

Lithios is a web/mobile app development shop located in Raleigh, NC. The blogs feature a variety of individuals from the Lithios team spanning from design-technical development expertise areas.

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