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Monday, February 6, 2012

Android LED Blink application doing well in the wild

The LED blink app is a week old and I thought I'd share how it's doing in the wild.  I was surprised by how many installs it got so quickly.  Of course it is free and doesn't load you full of ads, and does something useful, so why be surprised that people picked it up?

Link to my published apps (there is only one at this time)

Link direct to the app

In one week I got 172 installs on 42 different devices!!   I got only one rating, but it was 5 stars!   Far better than I ever dreamed.  I thought I'd get maybe 2 installs because there are so many LED flashlight apps our there.  I didn't get any complaints that it didn't work on certain phones yet, which I kind of expected because I understand that the camera flash is a bit tricky on some devices and the emulator doesn't have an LED, obviously, so there is no way to test.

I talked a friend with a samsung captivate glide phone into installing it.  It didn't work.  Depressing.  The light never came on.  I will have to exclude that phone from seeing the app.  Hopefully his phone is in the minority, I'd think I'd get some complaints.

Here is the line from the app developer page.  Wow!

172 total installs (users)
42 net installs (devices)
Advertise this app

I got one email about the screen not scrolling to see the ON button.  It was great input.  I didn't test it on really small screens so I took his word for it, and added a ScrollView wrapper around the whole menu.  That worked nicely to fix the issue.   I did an update and realized this had the unintended consequence of making the virtual keyboard pop up all the time.  I found a focus line to add to the manifest to fix it on stackoverflow.   Updated again in short succession to fix that bug.

I may do another update soon to improve a few things, my understanding is that doing updates will raise your standings in the search engine, so I want to pace them out.
  • DONE - Update to fix the timebase of the flashes, right now if the loop takes too long, the time keeps getting stretched forever, always running a bit slower than advertised.  I'm going to only take the time once and calculate the flashes from that instead and see how it works.  That will keep the average flash rate truer to the advertised value
  • DONE - Fix the information screen text, it says version 1.0.  Oops.  Should have used a string for the version number.
I'll upload the update shortly as soon as I get time. 

In the last day it went up to 250 installs, but I got a couple more emails that it didn't work on various Samsung, LG and HTC phones.  That is probably a lot of the market.  Got a one star slam "it sucks" for not working on his phone.  Bummer.   I don't know how I'm going to test this, the emulator doesn't have a flash light so it doesn't show me if it's working.  For the moment I'll have to exclude those phones from the app until I find a way to improve things.

The lesson here, is don't make apps that rely on the camera flash, because phones work differently and it is really hard to test them.

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