October 23, 2014

Android Apps ASAP!

If you want to be a hero to all the G1 users, develop the following apps ASAP and release them before the first G1 devices ship.

Disclaimer: Everything I know about the G1 is based on videos I have seen online and articles I have read. I have not actually handled a G1 yet. So, some of the following could be way off. But I have tried my best to ensure that you are not misled.

MS Exchange Support: This is a no-brainer. Android, as shipped on the G1, does not support Microsoft Exchange by default. Anybody who writes a good functional app to support MS Exchange stands to make a lot of money. Ergo, LOTS of people are probably writing this app as you read this.

Touchscreen Keyboard: As far as I know, Android does not have a native touchscreen keyboard. You have to slide out the screen of the G1 every time you want to type something – even if it is just a quick one-word or one-line message. What a pain! Any smartphone user (or even a regular cell phone user) knows that there are simply too many occasions when you want to type a quick message, with one hand, on the go (or under the desk in the classroom!). A touchscreen keyboard, with predictive text, well integrated into the Android OS and intuitively available for all other applications will be a WINNAAR!

Video Recording: The G1 does not support video recording. I am not sure if this is a software limitation or a hardware one. I suspect that it is a software handicap (just as it is on the iPhone). Needless to say, an app which enables good and easy video recording will be an instant hit.

Data Storage in the Cloud: The G1 does not have on-board memory for data storage. You need to use an SD card for all your data storage needs. How about a data storage service in the cloud, which seamlessly integrates with Android. The integration should be so tight that the cloud data store should be totally transparent to the user and function exactly like on-board storage. Your iPhone buddy brags of 16GB storage? You can beat him with unlimited storage. People would pay for that fo sho!

Data Porting: Android does not have a desktop component. So, all your phone data is stored in the cloud or on the on-board SD card. This is where the data porting app comes in. Make it easy for any and every type of data on your Android phone to be easily exported to your desktop computer. In formats that can be easily used or imported into other applications. The porting could happen via the ‘Data Storage in the Cloud’ described above. In fact, the data porting app and the cloud storage service could be one well-integrated solution.

VoIP App: This is once again a no-brainer. Numerous people are writing this app right NOW. Some have probably already written it. So, how about a single unified VoIP app, which would work on any network – GTalk, Yahoo! Messenger, MSN Messenger, Skype, Fring, etc., etc., etc. Won’t be easy to make a single lean client to work with all those different networks. Also, T-Mobile says they won’t support VoIP. May be not on 3G (how will they detect and block?). But this can surely be done on Wi-Fi!
Side note: I have a theory that the GTalk API was squashed from the first version of Android precisely because it would have made VoIP-based voice chat too easy to implement.

Google ID Changer: If what Gizmodo says is true, this will be a major Android annoyance for many of us. Apparently, your Google ID is so tightly integrated with Android, if you want to change to a different Google ID on the G1, you need to do a “whole factory reset”! Holy-Moly-Canoli! This makes you wonder what the heck the Android designers were thinking. This is where you, the Hero Developer, come in. Write us an app which makes it easy-breezy to change our Google ID on the G1 without resetting or rebooting the entire phone, and we’ll be glad to use your picture as our G1 wallpaper forever… well, may be for a month… okay, for a day!

Data Usage Counter: Thanks to T-Mobile’s fine print, this app might be needed for the real data-hungry folks out there. It will probably be easier to implement this app, if usage information is pulled down from T-Mobile’s site, rather than trying to keep track of data usage by every app on the phone. After all, what really matters to us is the usage that T-Mobile bills us for, right? If there is an easier way to implement this, leave a comment. Or better still, make the app and show us!

Can you guys think of any other ASAP apps, that would fix some of the obvious design flaws weaknesses in the G1 / Android 1.0?