Blog: Is making a mobile messenger app for a One Direction star ‘Too Much To Ask?’

Quick question, what do you get when you mix a strong jawline, baby blue eyes, a sweet sultry singing voice, and our experience and expertise in mobile application development? Answer, Niallmojis.

Niall Horan, the Irish pop star originally from the famous band ‘One Direction’ leveraged our mobile development experience to create an exclusive set of personalized stickers and animated avatars of Niall’s face all packed into a mobile custom keyboard application. Drawing from our experience in developing the world’s first sound-based messenger, our developers were primed and ready to create a unique and free-flowing messenger experience. We wanted to make our app so users could send NiallMojis across all chat applications and installation wasn’t required to view each and every glorious NiallMoji received. Check out the following video to learn more about our experience in making Niall Horan into a handsome mobile messenger.

A variety of celebrity mobile applications

Believe it or not, celebrity status and the mobile application market can be a match made in heaven. Especially for celebrities that are looking to capitalize financially on their fame. You know, take the power away from the press and give it back to the people, sort of.

The most popular options for maximizing a mobile application are as follows:

  • A branded game
  • An e-commerce application
  • A personalized news feed app
  • A branded sticker pack.

A celebrity mobile game will almost certainly make close to no money at all. A specifically branded game also runs the risk of becoming uncompetitive in the global marketplace by being swallowed by other, bigger, more established game retailers.

A good social network application has the potential to yield high profits. Not as profitable, however, as making digital stickers out of Niall Horan’s face.

So, we ended up going with the customized mobile keyboard solution to deliver to our client, Niall Horan. This was the best way to maximize the thousands of fans downloading the branded mobile app. The plan was to triumphantly watch the downloads to the app snowball as users shared the branded emojis with their friends.

However, we faced a number of challenges. First, we needed to create a customized keyboard for Android. Also, we had to find a way to integrate the NiallMoji app with iMessage to access the millions of iOS users.

Reaching out to the Android users

Here’s how NiallMoji application works for Andriod users.


After installing our Android application you’re on your way! You’ll be able to see the NiallMojis and share them directly from the application. But we wanted to take the application a step further and integrate deeper into the text message experience. So, you need to hit the ‘Settings’ button and select the “Install Keyboard” item on the menu. This option requires some additional actions from the user: you need to select the NiallMoji keyboard in the smartphone’s settings. Thank god (or thank the developers) for the shortcut added to the application, so you don’t need to browse the settings menu on your smartphone.


After selecting the NiallMoji keyboard on your Android smartphone, you can send NiallMojis in any messenger or even insert them in emails. You can switch from the standard qwerty layout to the multimedia tab by simply pressing the icon with Niall’s face.

Going deep with iMessage

When thinking about reaching out to iOS users, you can’t ignore the magnitude of iMessage.


In iOS 10 or later, you can take advantage of the Messages framework and create an extension for your application or even an iMessage app. You can use iMessage apps to:

  • Present a custom user interface inside the Messages app
  • Create a custom or dynamic sticker browser
  • Insert text, stickers, or media files into the Messages app’s input field
  • Create interactive messages that carry app-specific data
  • Update interactive messages.

The NiallMoji iMessage app installs together with the original application and allows for sharing content and adding stickers directly within Messages.

Technical approach

We used Swift to develop the iOS app and Java for the Android application. Both these applications have specific extensions: Android app installs a native keyboard into your smartphone. And the iOS application includes the iMessage extension. Check the following application diagram for more details.



Both Android and iOS applications connect to the application server. The administrators can configure this application server through the admin panel. For example, they can add new multimedia content. The application server connects to the database, which stores all the multimedia content to deliver it on users’ smartphones.

But how can the stakeholders benefit from these applications? First of all, they earn money for every application download. In addition, we added the support of in-app purchases, so, they can sell additional branded multimedia content from inside the application.

Benefits of the celebrity mobile app

In the end, our customer was pretty happy with the delivered mobile applications for iOS and Android, and so were we. The app quickly hit the top of the charts, just like Niall’s albums do.


Give the NiallMoji app a try yourself. You can download this cool branded mobile keyboard from App Store or Google Play.

In conclusion, you really don’t need to reinvent the wheel when developing a mobile messenger app, even if it’s for One Direction. Sometimes the path to the top of the App Store and Google Play can be undertaken with simplicity, originality, creativity, and celebrity.

Contact us today to transform your bright idea into mobile applications.