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DeWitt native develops iPhone calendar app that soared to the top of the charts

An iPhone app developed by a Manlius Pebble Hill graduate spent an afternoon as the top-selling app on iTunes earlier this year – beating out best-selling games like Angry Birds, Fruit Ninja and Plants vs. Zombies.

DeWitt native Kent Sutherland, 25, formed the software development company Flexibits with a friend, Michael Simmons, after Sutherland graduated from Rochester Institute of Technology and Cornell University.

In 2011, the duo released a calendar program for Macintosh computers called “Fantastical,” which was named a top app of the year by the Mac App Store, by MacWorld, Mashables, Cult of Mac and several other tech sites.

In November, a version of the app for the iPhone debuted on iTunes.

In its first day on the market, the app sold surpassed Angry Birds Star Wars as the top-selling paid app for a number of hours. Sutherland said he was shocked by the sudden spike in sales. On its first day, the app sold for $1.99; now it costs $3.99.

“The app store is mostly a game store,” he said. “Only two or three times a year do other apps make it to number one. We had a nice little run – one day of being at the top, which was fun.”

One web reviewer called the app a “brilliant re-imagining of the purpose of a calendar.” At the heart of the redesign is the DayTicker – a scrollable strip that is also a timeline.

“Fantastical for iPhone also has the best mobile calendar view that I’ve ever seen,” wrote Jon Mitchell of “The default view shows a ticker of the past and next two days with today in the center, and there are dots on days where you have events. Below, your upcoming events are listed in chronological order. You can scroll up and down in that list, and the ticker above ticks along accordingly.”

Sutherland, who graduated from MPH in 2005, said he wanted to make the calendar simpler for users.

“We wanted to make things a little faster for everyone every day,” Sutherland said. “This is something you can use.”

It took about six months to develop the iPhone app, Sutherland said. He works from his home in Boston; Simmons works from California. Tech reviewers called the app’s success “a nice victory for a small team on the enormous million-app-strong App Store.”

Moving forward, the team plans to make improvements to Fantastical and develop other productivity software.