Category Archives: Android

App released for Buffalo Metro Rail

IMG_20141110_114039The new Buffalo Metro Rail app shows the departure times for trains along Buffalo’s Metro route. The app automatically selects the proper schedule for the day, allows for sorting options, and also shows a map of the full light rail line. Additionally the app only needs to be synced once a month, and can otherwise be used without an active internet connection.

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Another 10 levels for Runaway Trains

The Runaway Trains game has been updated to version 2.8 in BlackBerry World and the Google Play Store. This update adds ten new levels, and ensures that the BlackBerry version of the game is now compatible OS 10.3.1 which is expected to be released within the next month.

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About Runaway Trains

Runaway Trains is a colorful strategy game for all ages where you must route the trains to the proper station. Each level progresses in difficulty and presents an unique puzzle which you must solve by finding a way to guide the coloured trains causing a collision or running out of track.

This is done by touching the intersections to toggle the open path of the tracks. If at any time the trains crash or end up at the wrong station, you will have lost and have to try again.

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Android app on Google Play

Xploding Boxes all new in version 5

Z10Version 5.0 of Xploding Boxes adds new levels and new features and can be downloaded for BlackBerry, Android, Nook, and Windows 8. This is the first major revision of this app in over two years, and includes a ground-up rewrite of the BlackBerry 10 version of the app, newly added support for the Amazon Fire TV, and ten brand new levels.

About Xploding Boxes

Xploding Boxes is a strategy game where the goal is to start a chain reaction that will explode all of the boxes on the screen. Each level presents a different look and number of touches, requiring a different strategy to solve.

The game itself, and the first 25 levels are available for free, while a one time in-app purchase can be used to access the rest of the levels for just $2.99 while still maintaining your progress from the free levels.

New for BlackBerry 10

The app has received a complete rewrite for BlackBerry 10 phones, and is now a fully native app written in BlackBerry Cascades. Meanwhile the gameplay screen has been redone in OpenGL to maintain a resolution independent experience that looks great on high-resolution phones such as the BlackBerry Passport. In addition to the Passport, this new version of the game also supports the newly available P’9983 and the soon to be launched BlackBerry Classic.

Xploding Boxes version 5 also automatically syncs all of your game progress to your BlackBerryID so that going forward you can switch to a new BlackBerry or reinstall the app without having to worry about backups.

New for Windows 8.1

In addition to the new levels, users of the app on Windows 8.1 will find the game to be reoptimized for their OS, with greatly improved support for split screen views.

Xploding Boxes on Amazon Fire TV

In addition to the phones and tablets, Xploding Boxes is also now available on the Amazon Fire TV where it can be played with the remote.

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App sales plummeting for the Nook

A little over two years ago when I first began selling Android apps, the Barnes and Noble Nook was a powerful player. While this store did not get the same attention as Google Play and Amazon’s App Store, for many months I had more sales through the Nook Bookstore then the other two combined. This came as a bit of a surprise, but has certainly not lasted.

Once accounting for over 70% of Android app sales for me, the number has been on a long term downward trajectory and has been below 10% for most of 2014. The below chart shows the percentage of Android sales of Ebscer apps through the Nook Bookstore.

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A few factors have contributed to this. First, the Nook (while often updated) has not kept pace with the other tablets on the market. More importantly Barnes and Noble has mostly given up on their platform, choosing the bundle Google Play on some of their newer devices, and have recently just launched the confusingly named “Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 Nook” as they try to get out of the electronics business altogether.

However, if you are still interested in buying some apps for your Nook visit barnesandnoble.com/s/ebscer.

New version of Pixelated Shapes

IMG_00000136Pixelated Shapes has been updated to version 1.3 for Android, BlackBerry, and Windows 8. This updated reduces the file size by 7% for the BlackBerry 10 version of the app, while also adding support for the BlackBerry Passport that is due to be released next month. Meanwhile the Windows 8 version of the app got updated in order to better support the variable sized side by side apps supported by Windows 8.1

About Pixelated Shapes

Pixelated Shapes is a twist on the classic version of Pixelated that replaces the familiar squares with triangles and hexagons. The object of the game is to get the screen a single color by slowly growing a blob out of the upper left hand corner by matching it to the colors of the surrounding shapes. This is done repeatedly until either the game is won, or you run out of moves. Under the default settings you must clear the screen in 29 moves or less in order to win. A one time in-app upgrade can allow you to adjust the difficult, switch color schemes, change to different game modes, and get an indicator giving you the number of remaining moves.

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App released for the Champlain Canal

IMG_20140817_233813A brand new app has just been released in order to help you navigate the Champlain Canal in upstate New York. The app can be download from BlackBerry World, Google Play, and the Amazon Appstore.

With apps having already been released for the Erie Canal, Cayuga-Seneca Canal, and Oswego Canal there are now apps available for navigating the whole New York State canal system. These apps give you the ability to see the locations of all locks and boat launches along the canals. Additionally the apps also contain a map view to give a visual representation to where everything is.

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Stuff I Need checklist app updated

CampingListCropThe Stuff I Need check list app has been updated to version 2.5 for BlackBerry and Android. For BlackBerry 10 users the app makes a few visual tweaks, support for the BlackBerry Passport, and has also been optimized to give the app a 15% reduction in file size. For Android users the newest version of the app allows you to set a custom text size, which is a feature that was added to the BlackBerry version of the app last summer.

Amazon Appstore

The Android version of the app is also now available in the Amazon Appstore.

About Stuff I Need

Originally conceived as a grocery list app, this minimalistic checklist app can be used to keep track of the stuff you need to get, or the stuff that you need to do. New items can be added to list with the ‘Add’ button on the bottom of the screen. Items on the list can be edited (or deleted) by giving them a long press. Lists can be switched by pulling down on the tab at the top of the screen. This will expose a spinner that shows all of your current lists. New lists can be added by using the “+” button on the right side of the expanded tab. Making use of three or more lists requires the use on a one time in-app purchase. Lists are automatically deleted if you delete all items in a list and restart the app.

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More levels for Runaway Trains

Level205Runaway Trains has been updated to version 2.7 adding an additional ten levels to the game. The game is now up to 210 total levels and is available on BlackBerry World, Google Play, Amazon AppStore, and the Nook bookstore.

About Runaway Trains

Runaway Trains is a colorful strategy game for all ages where you must route the trains to the proper station. Each level progresses in difficulty and presents an unique puzzle which you must solve by finding a way to guide the coloured trains causing a collision or running out of track.

This is done by touching the intersections to toggle the open path of the tracks. If at any time the trains crash or end up at the wrong station, you will have lost and have to try again.

Links & Information

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Android app on Google Play

An intro to the Amazon Appstore

As BlackBerry prepares to have the Amazon appstore preinstalled on their phones, I have already had my apps in the Amazon store for two years now.

First of all the best place to have your apps is in BlackBerry AppWorld. If you are writing a native Cascades app, there is no choice except to sell your apps through the BlackBerry store. If you are selling an app based on a cross platform framework such as Cordova or Unity you are better off compiling that code natively to a .bar file as it will run much better then packaging the same code as an Android app. If you have a native Android app, then you are still better off compiling to a .bar file and submitting the app to BlackBerry World. Taking this extra step makes the app easier for users to update and also gives developers the possibility of removing the back bar from apps.

However, simply having the ability to sell to Amazon’s own tablets and phones is enough reason reason to submit your apps into the store.

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For the most part the Amazon store is pretty similar to what all other platforms offer with developers getting a 70% cut of all sales. Payments are made out to developers via direct deposit to a bank account. All apps are submitted as .apk files and like Android apps on BlackBerry, they must not be dependent upon any Google Play services. All apps submitted to the Amazon Appstore require a minimum of three screenshots (at one of a few specific resolutions), and are subjected to a rather comprehensive review policy. App reviews typically take around five days, with rejections usually a case of including a reference to the Google Play store (including something as simple as a link to your other Android apps).

The high praise that BlackBerry has given the Amazon store is mostly marketing fluff. The truth of the matter is that nobody cares about Amazon coins, and this store really isn’t all that different than all of the others…

Oswego Canal app released

IMG_20140617_132302Adding to the set of New York State canal apps, an app for helping to navigate the Oswego Canal has been released to BlackBerry World and Google Play.

Similar to the apps for the Erie Canal, and Cayuga-Seneca Canal that have been released earlier this year, this is an app that gives you the ability to see the locations of all locks and boat launches along the canal. Additionally the app also contains a map view to give a visual representation to where everything is.

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Stuff I Need now on Android

nexusScropThe Stuff I Need app is now available on Android through the Google Play store. This app gives you a simple checklist in order to mark of the stuff you need to buy or the stuff that you need to do.

About Stuff I Need

Originally conceived as a grocery list app, this minimalistic checklist app can be used to keep track of the stuff you need to get, or the stuff that you need to do. New items can be added to list with the ‘Add’ button on the bottom of the screen. Items on the list can be edited (or deleted) by giving them a long press. Lists can be switched by pulling down on the tab at the top of the screen. This will expose a spinner that shows all of your current lists. New lists can be added by using the “+” button on the right side of the expanded tab. Making use of three or more lists requires the use on a one time in-app purchase. Lists are automatically deleted if you delete all items in a list and restart the app.

Links & Information

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New app for the Cayuga-Seneca Canal

IMG_20140529_152107A new app has been published to BlackBerry World, Google Play, and the Amazon App Store in order to help users navigate down the Cayuga-Seneca Canal.

Similar to the Erie Canal app that was released in April, this new app gives you the ability to see the locations of all locks and boat launches along the canal. With an additional map view to give a visual representation to where everything is.

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Developing apps for Five Years…

Today marks the five year anniversary of my career as a mobile app developer. On May 31st 2009 I sold three copies of Pixelated Plus for less than nine dollars. Five years, and few million downloads later, I have come a long ways since then.

As I enter year six, pretty much everything has changed since when I began. I just hope that five years from now, my apps can see the same rate of improvement that they have seen over the past five years…

Xploding Boxes updated to version 4.11

cropXploding Boxes has been updated to version 4.11 in the BlackBerry, Google, Amazon, Windows, and Nook app stores. This new version adds levels 441 through 450 to the game.

It is important for BlackBerry 10 users to upgrade and run this version of the app at least once in order to ensure that their game progress will still be available on future updates to the game. Version 5.0 of Xploding Boxes will bring some major changes to the BlackBerry 10 version of the app and will be unable to read data from versions prior to 4.11.

About Xploding Boxes

Xploding Boxes is a strategy game for BlackBerry, Android, Nook, Windows 8, and BlackBerry 10 where the goal of the game is to start a chain reaction that will explode all of the boxes on the screen. Each level gives you a different number of touches, and requires a different strategy to solve.

The game itself, and the first 25 levels are available for free, while a one time in-app purchase can be used to access the rest of the levels for just $2.99 while maintaining your progress from the free levels.

Links & Information

Erie Canal app updated

IMG_20140405_145935The Erie Canal app has been updated to version 1.1 in BlackBerry World and Google Play. The new version is smaller, with a 25.5% reduction in file size for BlackBerry 10 users, and a 22.4% reduction for Android users. Additionally this version of the app also automatically refreshes its data once every month.

The app is designed to help out those traveling along the Erie Canal by showing the Boat Launches, Locks, Lift Bridges, and Guard Gates along the canal’s path. The primary view of the app shows a list of all the landmarks along the canal, with their distance along the canal along with a phone number that the app can dial in order to contact the marinas, and locks on the route. In addition to this, there is also a map view that precisely shows the location of everything along the canal’s path. An options page allows you to filter out the types of landmarks that the app shows (on both the list and the map), as well as allowing you to switch the list to an east to west orientation.

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