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.
08 4 / 2013
On Thursday, Facebook announced their new Android product called Facebook Home. Some called it “fphone”. Facebook said the product will Be released for a small subset of phones within a few weeks.
One cool feature is that you could get chat bubbles on any app you were currently using. We thought this is cool, but would be even cooler if it would also work for SMS, Whatsapp, Viber, Line and all other popular chat products.
We decided to make this our weekend pet project, and on Sunday, just 2 days later, the app was working. Don’t be fooled, it is not a simple app, it is actually quite hard, but we had many components that we previously developed which we could reuse for this app.
Today (Monday) we released the first version to the Android market. It currently supports only Facebook chat. We will be adding other chat systems in the next few days.
Let us know what you think, if you see anything that is broken, and send us any ideas on how to improve the app.
08 4 / 2013
A few months ago we launched the Ruzzle Helper app. This is an app that helps you win or get better at playing Ruzzle. We called the app “helper” but is you can call it “cheating” too. People cheat, but in games it is mostly harmless, and sometimes fun.
There are few apps on Andorid and on iOS that help people win at Ruzzle. All these apps combined have more than one million downloads, which is a strong signal that people want this service.
On March 27, we started receiving reports that Ruzzle is blocking our app. It turns out that Ruzzle added a system to detect if you cheat, and if you do, give you zero points.
I found it odd, if a million people wanted something, and it’s just a game, why try to fight them ? Perhaps it destroys the game for the honest people? I did a few twitter searches on “ruzzle cheat” and did not see many users complaining about others cheating.
But I did find new reports of users claiming that Ruzzle told them they were cheating when they were not. Every cheat detection system has false alarms, and in this case Ruzzle pisses off their best users when falsely calling them cheaters and zeroing their points. Is it really worth it ?
It took us a few hours until we found a way to fly below the Ruzzle cheat radar. Here is what one user wrote:
I started playing Ruzzle and I was a zero. Then I found Ruzzle Helper & I was a hero. Ruzzle blocked Ruzzle Helper & I was a zero again. Now this upgrade has made me a hero again!
Some of our competitors found ways around the Ruzzle detection, but some did not, and were taken off the market. Since there is less competition now, we see an increase in the number of downloads for our app.
Ruzzle may improve their detection, to a point we can no longer find ways around it, it is technically possible. I just don’t think they are doing good for themselves with this approach.
11 2 / 2013
A few days ago we received a letter from Bird & Bird, a law firm that works for Mattel Inc. You can read the full letter below, but in a nutshell, they claim to have a trademark on the word “SCRAMBLE” in all of Europe, and that our app “Scramble with Friends Helper” uses this word and therefore violates their trademark. Our app is an addon for Zynga’s app “Scramble with Friends”, and, as their letter claims, Mattel also sued Zynga for using the word “Scramble”. Mattel already lost one case against Zynga on another claim, and has 2 pending claims against Zynga, one of those is on using the word “Scramble”.
Our app has nothing to do with any Mattel product. It is just the use of the word “scramble” that annoyed them.
I find it ridiculous that a word in the dictionary can be a trademark. It seems that we are not the first, as there is a pending request to cancel this trademark, issued on April 2012.
On the other hand we are a small company and can not afford the litigation process that Zynga can. So for now we will remove the app from all UE countries, and track how the Zynga case goes.
I will stop buying any Mattel products. No more barbies, no more Fisher-Price toys for my kids or for gifts we buy.
The filed trademark (type 006223077 for Trade Mark no)
06 2 / 2013
I love brain puzzles, puzzles that make you pause and think, explore multiple options, and then your get this AHA! moment where you find the solution. My wife says that I like these games because I am a nerd, which I guess is true. But enough about me. We just launched a new brain puzzle game: Ship Attack. This game is a blend of Sudoku and BattleShip, you need to find the ships that are hiding on the board, using scanning weapons like airplanes and satellites.
The game has an interactive mode where you send the planes. It also has a puzzle mode where you need to deduce from gathered information where the ships are hiding.
If you like brain puzzle games, I am sure you will like this one, try it, it’s free.
28 1 / 2013
On February 4, we will give a tech-talk and share what we have learned about the Android echo system. This talk is for people who develop or want to develop apps for Android, and want to understand how to market apps and how to make money from apps.
The talk will be held at the new Google office in Tel-Aviv. It’s free.
Since space is limited, you have to register
See you there
16 1 / 2013
We added a new helper app for Ruzzle, called Ruzzle Helper. This is the newest member to our word games helper apps.
This app has an extremely simple UI: a small bar on the bottom, with 3 buttons: random, best and close.
Under the hood, this is app is actually quite complicated, and here is some of what is happening when you use our app:
- We have a service that waits for a screenshot to be taken. It turns out that different devices have different ways to take a screenshot, and the screenshot can be stored in many directories.
- Once we see a screenshot, we run an OCR (Optical Character Recognition) algorithm, to figure our where the board is, which letter is in which tile, and what is the tile annotation (TL, TW, etc). This step requires complex image processing, that could not have been done without the fast CPUs that mobile phones now have.
- Once we know the letters on the board, we scan all possible paths, check which words are valid, and compute the score of each valid word. This step also requires a lot of computations, and we built a very fast algorithm to find the solutions quickly.
- Once we have a solution, we need to show it on top of the game. We draw the solution path as a semi-transparent layer on top of the game board. We had to find a way to draw on the board, but let touch events flow down to the game below, so that you could still mark the word. This is something that can be done on Android, but not on iOS.
31 12 / 2012
On the last day of 2012, we launched the ability to record videos and share videos in Talking Friends. This was the most wanted feature, many of you have been asking for it. Click the video icon on the top right to start recording, click it again to stop recording and save or share.
We are aware that on a few devices the video render may not work well, and we are working to improve this. If you face any problems with saving or sharing a video, please let us know.
Happy new year