Howdy, folks. Time for a quick update on a proper Android application for the best damn Android site on the planet.
Believe it or not, we've never had a real Android application for Android Central. Doesn't really matter the reason -- time, money, mobile versions of a site being "good enough" (though I'd argue they're a good alternative, but not the be all-end all) -- whatever. We should have had one, and we didn't.
Once upon a time I had a very basic widget built. It'd pop up a couple headlines, you'd click and you'd read. But that's not that same. (And you don't even wanna know how much we paid for it.) It's still in Google Play, but it's not supported, and I don't even know if it still works. I think I just left it there for nostalgia's sake. (I'll probably remove it soon. No need to crap up Google Play anymore than it already is.)
A year ago or so (longer than that, I think), we'd been approached by one of those companies that takes your news feeds, plugs it into their servers and busts out a simple news-type app. Indeed, many "mainstream" news organizations used it. It was quick to set up (ridiculously so -- that should have been a sign) and basically free ad revenue for us; we split it 50-50. Not a lot of money by any stretch. But we got a quick and easy app out of it, and a tiny bit of pocket change. But let's be perfectly honest here -- it wasn't a good app. Nowhere near up to our standards in terms of features or design. And over time, it seemed to become more spammy, and in fact it was using an ad network that we didn't want to be associated with any longer. So, I pulled it from Google Play. So while no new downloads could occur, there were (and still are) thousands out there.
Recently that app apparently started spitting out bad notifications and showing some pop-up video. (I haven't used that old app in months and can't say I've seen either of those things, but I trust your reports.) That's no bueno. There's no good solution here for a number of technical reasons, other than to delete that app from your phone or tablet. We don't own the source code or key to that app, so we can't overwrite it in place. That's a failure on our part. So when our new application is ready, we'll basically be starting from scratch.
Yes, as I've teased a couple times now, we have a new application in the works. It's much more than a mere feed reader. All the news you expect from the blog will be there. But so will many more facets of the site. Comments. Account log-in. Podcasts. Videos. And much, much more. Everyone involved is pretty excited for it, and I hope you will be, too.
That said, we're not yet ready to give an ETA for the V1 release, but that I'm writing this means that we're well underway. I hope we'll be able to do some open beta testing -- I just don't know yet. But we've had enough inquiries into that old app -- again, we did a good thing badly there -- and I want to be as transparent with all this new app as we can be.
The new app won't be perfect. There we will probably be some things at launch we'd hoped to do better. But that's what updates are for.
Oh, and as of now we have no plans to change the existing dedicated Android Central Tapatalk app, even if it does become redundant. That should give you a pretty big hint as to a pretty big feature in this new app (And we'll have a full Mobile Nations Tapatalk client -- with access to the iMore, CrackBerry and WPCentral forums -- in Google Play just as soon as we get it uploaded.)
Thanks for hanging in there. And I can't wait for everyone to see this.