Kenton spoke today at Droidcon London on the subject of Teaching Your Client Android Design, or Ridding The World Of iPhoneys. His presentation can be found here.
BBC Weather for Android, written by LFT’s Kenton Price, hits number 5 on Play Store after just three days – behind the behemoths of Facebook, WhatsApp, Candy Crush Saga and Skype:
That’s all apps, not new apps – it’s number 1 new app:
And not weather apps – it’s number 1 weather app:
Here’s hoping BBC Worldwide will fund development to allow the app to be released outside the UK, because the reception so far has been fairly stratospheric!
Today we can go public as the authors of BBC Weather for Android.
The BBC contracted LFT to write the Android version of their BBC Weather app. It was written on-site at New Broadcasting House, with Kenton working alongside the talented in-house New Media Weather team of web and server experts, designers and testers. Strong and pragmatic product and project management gave us the flexibility to mould an original iPhone app brief into the much-loved Android app you see today. We were responsible for introducing the Android Navigation Drawer (launched less than a month ago at Google I/O and popularised last week in the latest Gmail update); use of the Action Bar paradigm back to Android 2.2; in-place search in the Action Bar; native search results; in-place reordering of favourites; URL interception (so clicking on a BBC Weather link anywhere on your phone will open the app); lockscreen widget in addition to a regular widget. The super-fast initial location hit is achieved using our own free and open-source location library. We also added fun stuff like NFC location sharing, Daydream mode and DashClock widget support.
Early media reaction has acknowledged the efforts we went to in order to provide a better Android native experience:
“As well as looking clean and crisp on Android and iOS, the Android version has a few clever extra features inside it, like support for the awesome DashClock ecosystem that lets you add a mini forecast to the lock screen of phones running Android 4.2 or higher, share your location data via NFC, plus there’s a very pretty Home screen widget to use. The BBC does it better on Android for once.” Gizmodo
“We’re particularly fans of the inclusion of additional features available on the Android version of the app. Whilst iOS users will get a robust experience in their own right, the development team has been able to leverage some of the extra capabilities of Google’s mobile OS to include a universal search bar, a widget to permanently lock your favourite locale to a homescreen and the ability to share whatever location’s weather is currently being viewed to a friend via NFC.” Recombu
“In an announcement that will please Android fans that believe the BBC have been favouring Apple’s devices when it comes to app development, it was also revealed that while both versions of BBC Weather provide similar ‘options & layout’, the Google-based edition carries ‘exclusive features’ including ‘NFC support’ and the option of creating a ‘homescreen widget’.” World TV PC
“It looks the same across iPhone and Android, although the latter version comes with a homescreen widget and the ability to share locations with other devices via NFC, to take advantage of features that aren’t available on iOS.” The Guardian
“Android users will also be treated to a BBC Weather widget that they can add to their home screen. iPhone owners, obviously, won’t have the option of a widget unless Apple adds this functionality in iOS 7. Owners of a Samsung Galaxy S4, for example, will also be able to share weather information with friends over NFC.” The Inquirer
At the time of writing, the app has the highest feedback score of any BBC Android app on Play Store. You can download it here.
Huge thanks to Google’s Nick Butcher who has been a beacon of help and useful information throughout the project. Also to Google’s Roman Nurik for training and encouragement, and of course for his excellent DashClock widget. To Stephen Robertson, lead UX designer, who is responsible for the beautiful look and feel of the app, and who approved so many of the changes from the original brief in order to make it more Android-like. And to Richard Groves, lead developer of the iPhone version, which was always a sprint ahead of Android and thus led the way addressing and fixing issues before we had to, freeing up time to add the Android-specific extras.
Summly for Android version 1.0 was (and at the time of writing still is) sitting in the Google Play Store publisher view in pending state, the only thing remaining was to hit publish. Dozens of people in the beta programme had helped fix dozens of bugs. It was a truly excellent app, better than the iPhone version in every way.
But it looks like with the Yahoo acquisition it will now never see the light of day. We’d known about this for a few weeks and were dreading this outcome. We’d put everything we could into making this the best app it could possibly be.
Google loved it and had given us loads of help improving it and Androidifying it, indeed later today there’s an Android special on news apps, we’d been invited to participate in this and to have it inducted into the Android Hall Of Fame.
All our hard work over the last few months is now ready for your delectation and delight in the Summly for Android public beta. To join, email email@example.com asking to join the beta programme, and you’ll be sent an invite to try it out. Enjoy!
For the past few months Kenton and Reuben have been knuckling down with Summly to develop their upcoming Android app. We think it’s an absolute scorcher, and we hope you do too. It’s been in private beta for a while, and the guys at Summly are very nearly ready to go into public beta with it, before a full public launch sometime thereafter. If you’d like to be included in the Summly public beta programme, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org – tell them we sent you, and you might even get early access
Sorry we’ve been quiet – we’ve been snowed under! As part of that, we’ve been creating an app that needed background location updates without wrecking users’ batteries. We were so pleased with the result, we think others should be able to use it too, so we took the guts of it and made a simple library that anyone can use in their Android apps. And it’s open source so you can change the code as much as you like. And it’s free!
Check it out on Google Code here: Little Fluffy Location Library for Android
Little Fluffy Toys Ltd is proud to announce the release of Beebdroid, the BBC Micro emulator for Android, available now FREE on Android Market.
3.30pm in room 1 – come along!