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Father-son team designs iPhone uke chord chart


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POSTED: Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Honolulu-based Kuawa Road Productions LLC has introduced its first application for the iPhone and iPod touch — Ukulele Chord Kumu — to Apple Inc.'s iTunes store.

“;Basically my dad and I had this idea for a chord chart,”; said George Uno, the son in the father-and-son team behind Kuawa Road. George is marketer and project manager.

Joe Uno, of Manoa-based J. Uno & Associates, is the dad, the visionary and the financier.

The duo developed the idea after a friend of Joe's showed them an ukulele chart destined to become a poster for sale in Japan.

“;That'd make a decent iPhone app,”; they thought, George said.

They fleshed out details “;and from there we worked with (software developer) Kevin Lohman”; of Logic High Software, as well as graphic designer Jason Antonio, both based in Honolulu.

George Uno hadn't played ukulele since his small-kid days in Honolulu, so he had to clear some mental cobwebs via research.

The application description in the iTunes store says the Ukulele Chord Kumu “;transforms your tattered old chord book into a mobile, easy-to-use application for the iPhone that puts a beautiful ukulele chord chart literally at your fingertips.”;

The virtual uke displays more than 100 chords, with fingerings, reverses everything for lefties and includes a built-in pitch pipe. A video demonstration is posted on YouTube.

George Uno returned your columnist's query from Idaho — from his iPhone.

He left Hawaii to attend the University of Idaho in 2001 and is still there. He is currently waiting for his girlfriend to graduate.

In working on the project, George was looking up information on Honolulu online and the results made him realize, “;Yeah, I have to move back.”;

Joe Uno had to buy a Mac, which George used during the project.

“;I was Windows from the get-go and I'm a total convert now,”; George said.

Dad also got to pay for the software development and graphic design.

“;It was a decent investment,”; but George did not disclose the total outlay.

The ukulele-related app is decidedly for a niche market “;but it should at least pay for itself,”; George said.

Kuawa Road was registered with the state in January but it wasn't until last month that the duo really got cracking on the project.

Completed earlier this month, the app was submitted to Apple for approval and was tentatively set for release a week ago, but crept onto the market unheralded on Saturday.

It sold one copy somewhere in the United States.

George found yesterday morning that on Father's Day, with no fanfare or advertising and virtually no promotion, another 37 Ukulele Chord Kumus were downloaded at $1.99 a pop, to shoppers in Japan, Australia, New Zealand Great Britain, Germany and elsewhere in Europe.

“;I can't wait to see the effect”; of press accounts such as this column, he said. “;I check the data every day I wake up.”;

Kuawa Road is working on its next app, the nature of which George withheld, but “;it might be a little more foreign to people in Hawaii.”;

On the Net:

» kuawaroad.com

» www.youtube.com/watch?v=bwM2XsQ5vFw

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Erika Engle is a reporter with the Star-Bulletin. Reach her by e-mail at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)