13 7 / 2014
Below is a chart showing one of our apps’ crash per user ratio.
We love to keep our apps crash free as possible: Note how we keep 99.5% of our users crash free.
What happened June 30?
Why did our crash ratio went down to an all time bottom of 96.4%?
Did we release a new version? NO.
Then - what is it?
Google Play services is a component that exist on every Google phone, that includes functionality from Google. Things like Admob ad serving, location services, G+ button any many other good googly things.
Google updates this component automatically without asking the user or the developer for permission.
On june 30, Google has shipped a buggy version to all the android devices, which crash billions of users a day.
This is not the first time this happens. It happened before a few moths back, and then it took Google months to fix.
Why does this happen to Google? Mainly because Google does not eat their own dog food: None of the Google products contain Google Admob ads. So when ad serving break, they don’t notice, and nobody at Google is there to express the users’ perspective.
Could you imagine 5% of Gmail users crash, without Google shipping a fix overnight? Neither can we.
In this thread, Google promises a fix within a week or two.
Let’s hope they deliver!
09 5 / 2014
Quite a few people approach us to pitch their ideas. The typical approach is from someone who is neither an app developer nor an app publisher, and who thinks they have a great idea for an app. We try to help, give our feedback on the idea, break it to the parts that easy and the parts that are hard to implement, explain how difficult it is to get users to notice an app, and suggest how to improve the idea. We try to help other app developers by sharing our knowledge and insights.
Some who approach us ask us to sign an NDA before they tell us the idea. We made a decision not to sign such NDAs. We can guarantee that we will not share the idea with anyone else, but we can not guarantee that we will not implement anything similar. Here’s why:
You may tell us an idea that we are already working on or is already in our ideas lists. It could be different, but similar enough for you to think we “stole” your idea. We do not want to cause any future arguments in such cases.
We found that people who ask for an NDA are typically less experiences and less serious. Mature entrepreneurs know that getting feedback is way more important than secrecy.
If you have an idea that you want to discuss with us, but you are afraid that we will take your idea and implement it ourselves, here are the options:
Take the risk. We are not short on ideas, we have a huge list of our own.
Keep some essential part a secret. Don’t give us all the details.
Pitch your idea to someone else instead.
For any idea area, you will find many companies that compete, all doing about the same thing. In no-one has implemented your idea yet, then most likely something is wrong with it. What makes a difference for success vs failure is not the idea but the ability to get users to use your app (user acquisition), and how well your application is implemented (user experience). Those are the areas to focus on.
01 5 / 2014
We have launched about 50 mobile apps. One of the questions we are often asked is how we come up with ideas for new apps. Ideas are actually easy to find. The hard part is finding good ideas. What makes an idea for an app good is a combination of the following:
An app that has proven demand - users already want it. If users do not want it, they will not download it, or we would need to work really hard to convince them they should want the app. The best way to measure demand is to find existing similar apps, and see how much traction they have. If the most popular app for some task does not have millions of downloads, the niche is too small.
We can make something better in a reasonable time. Sometimes the exiting apps are already great and there is not a lot to improve, for example flashlight apps. Sometimes the app is really hard to make, like Google search. But in most cases, when we look at the best apps for some task, we see that we can make a better app fairly quickly. In most cases we can improve the ease of use, the speed, and add more useful functionality.
The new app has a fair chance to get enough visibility in the market. If the top 10-20 competitor apps have all millions of downloads and a very high rating, a new app will most likely never be noticed by users no matter how great it is. This does not happen too often.
We come up with new ideas every day, every time we look for something and can’t find it or find something that does not work well enough. But the ideas we come up with are limited to what we experience and imagine. To generate more ideas, we wrote programs that look at data available on existing apps, cluster apps into topic areas, and find automatically interesting areas according to the above criteria. Running this program generates for us a huge list of ideas, already ranked by a combination of potential and risk. The idea for our most successful app, Face Changer, came from this program. Some of the generated ideas did not work as well, and in those cases we try to understand why, and change the ranking algorithm so that the next suggestion will be better. This approach helps us increase the likelihood that our apps will succeed.
02 4 / 2014
Today we launched a new app: Video Collage Maker. This app lets you create an awesome short video from a few photos. The video has animations and music, and is easily saved and shared. The are many ways to customize the video. Some will familiar if you used Photo Collage Maker, like stickers and text. Some are new, like selecting the animation style and background music.
We worked hard so that you don’t have to. The app is really simple to learn and use, response times are fast, and you can see an instant preview of the video after any change you make. Every change has can be un-done, and you have many options to choose from.
The app is free, and shows advertisements. There are many free extension packs, and we will be adding more extension packs every few days.
Give it a try, let us know what you think and what is missing. The app is designed to run well on phones and tablets.
I you like this app, please rate it. It is becoming harder and harder for new apps to get noticed, and your rating helps.
24 2 / 2014
One of the lines of apps we had were helper apps. The first was an app to help play Draw Something. Then we added a helper app for Words with Friends, WordFeud and more. The common theme for these app was that you take a screenshot of a game, our app analyzes the game state from the screenshot, and shows suggested moves or actions as a semi transparent layer on top of the game. This way you do not need to leave the game.
These apps were challenging and fun to write, and we loved them all. But now it is time to say goodbye.
The apps were removed a few week ago, and now we found a new home for them, with developer Helping Hand . We will no longer be involved in developing and supporting these apps.
The reason for this change is that these apps were only a small part of our business and we wanted to focus on the main part of our business. Another reason is that we read that King has registered a trademark on the word candy and is asking Google and Apple to remove apps which have the word candy in their name. For a helper app for Candy Crush, the natural name is Candy Crush Helper, and we did not want to receive C&D letters from Google or King.
If you purchased any of these apps from us, and do not like this move, send us the purchase confirmation code, and we will refund your purchase.
It makes me a bit sad to see all these apps go to their new home, but I think they will have a better life there. So long, little helpers.
13 2 / 2014
We just learned that out Android app Face Changer won the top app for 2013 award in the entertainment category on the Opera mobile store.
Check out the full list of award winners.
13 2 / 2014
staygrl574 said: Why is the Draw Something Assistant & the Learn to Draw Apps not working on Android? I really need them both!
Lean to draw is working, if you have any problem using it, please describe the problem and send us an email to email@example.com
As for draw assistant, we removed it from Google play.
18 11 / 2013
Exactly one month ago we launched Photo Collage Maker.
Here are a few numbers we can share for this exciting month:
7 versions released, with 34 new features
1 First place in the “Photography” category in Egypt, #5 in Russia, #12 in the US
5,270 people rated the app
4.6 Stars average rating
1,357 different devices, running 12 different Android versions
23 10 / 2013
A few days ago we launched Photo Collage Maker. We have been watching closely the statistics, as traffic almost doubles itself every day.
One interesting table is which phone models are installing the app. It clearly shows that Samsung is the undisputed king of the Android hardware, at least for this app users.
The data is tracked and provided by appbrain
17 10 / 2013
We launched a brand new app today: Photo Collage Maker.
We wanted a simple yet really powerful tool to take one or more photos and arrange them in a neat way, yes make it really easy to create and share.
The are a few apps that do this, but we thought we could do it better, much better.
Some of the main features of this app are:
- Add photos from your gallery, facebook, instagram or any public image on the web
- More than 100 layouts, some traditional like rectangles, and some new like hearts and circles
- Add text using more than 50 fonts
- Many stickers to choose from, and you can use any web image as a sticker
- Background frames with many shapes, colors and textures
- Infinite undo/redo
- Simple intuitive one or two finger gestures to move, rotate and resize
- Easy to save, publish and share your creations
This app has many features and capabilities. On small devices it is a challenge to have a lot of features, yet not clutter the small screen space.
Our design uses floating toolbars that are context sensitive, you see only what you need, but can access any feature really fast.
The app is designed to run well on phones and tablets.
The app is free, and shows advertisements.
Give it a try, let us know what you think and what is missing.
icon designed by junoteam
I you like this app, please rate it. It is becoming harder and harder for new apps to get noticed, and your rating helps.
25 8 / 2013
Ever needed a USA phone number of your own?
We have just released the USA Phone Number application for Android devices, which allows you to select your own number from any US state, or by digits (657-999-5556 anyone?).
When called, this number will ring on your own mobile phone wherever you are.
Subscription is $3/month
30 7 / 2013
We have been away from this blog for a while.
We were working on a few projects which we could not discuss in public. We created a few apps for other companies, some were launched already, some will launch soon.
Today we have a new app of our own that we can share: Candy Crush Helper.
Candy Crush Saga is an awesome game, done really well. If you haven’t played it, you should.
We added a helper app for Candy Crush, another new member to our line of helper apps.
It works as you would expect, you play the game and just take a screenshot. Our app wakes up, scans the screenshot image, detects the board configuration, finds all possible moves, ranks each move, and shows you the moves in semi-transparent overlay on top of the game.
All you need to do is take a screenshot, we do all the rest automatically.
If you see any problem with the app, please let us know. Detecting all game board options, and solving all games is a really hard, and it may not work perfectly on all devices, so help us by reporting any problem you see and send us any suggestion you have.
10 5 / 2013
We have just released Face Changer, our most popular application to date for iPhone.
Don’t forget to rate the app on the AppStore and send us email if you have any feedback or requests.
21 4 / 2013
We had to remove Chat Heads from Google Play, here’s why
The way the app works is that we run as an accessibility service, and receive all notifications. We then look at the notification details, and determine if this is a chat message.
It turns out that there is a known Samsung bug that when a notification service is started, it also starts audio feedback line “folder opened” or “app closed”. It also deactivates the Samsung Swype keyboard. Many devices are made by Samsung, users found this issue annoying, and gave our app low ratings. It had more 1-stars than 5-stars.
We did not want to keep an app with low ratings on the market, so we removed the app, and will reconsider what we can do to solve this issue. If we can come up with a better solution, we will re-launch the app.
We are really sorry about this. Many liked the app and wanted us to keep improving it.
10 4 / 2013
One thing we are really good at is moving rapidly. The recent case of Chat Heads is a good example. The timeline was something like this:
- Facebook announced their Facebook Home new product on Thursday. We read about it about an hour after the announcement.
- The next day, we had the idea to do something similar to chat heads, but more general: make it work with any chat app.
- 2 days later (weekend) we had an app ready. It showed chat bubbles for Facebook on any active app.
- A day later we tested and fixed the app, created the graphics, and launched the app.
- A day later we added and launched SMS support
- One day later (today) we launched support for whatsapp and settings. Facebook did not launch their app yet.
How do we move so fast? Here is one tip.
When we write apps, we try to develop generic components that can be reused across apps. For example, in Chat Heads, we needed to display the chat bubble on top of any app, we needed to move the bubble, and we needed to capture touch events on the bubble. We had all these components already from developing Ants in Phone, When we developed Ants a few months ago, we had no idea that we will be developing Chat Heads. Still, we separated the ants-specific logic and display from the code that handled the general problem if showing something on top of any app, and moving it.
Reusing components also improves quality, a bug that is found and fixed in a shared component fixes the problem in all apps that use it.