Sunday, October 9, 2011

Quasio - contact filtering application

Well well well... It has been sometime... I have been busy and have experienced some hardships in life with close deaths in the family but I am back! The long awaited Android application that I have been building is out. Quasio is out and available:


The full details are in the link. I will post what I shared with a group of techies via email in this blog for public consumption. This will cover the story and motivation behind the app... Here we go:


The idea for the application came about while transferring cell phone providers. I bought an Android phone because I wanted to develop applications and create a passive income stream from it but had no idea what those applications would be. While transferring numbers from my old trust worthy BlackJack phone to my new Android HTC EVO phone, I tried to get software to do it but could not find one that could do it conveniently. As you would imagine this can be a nightmare when you have lots of contacts which you then have to manually transfer over wasting precious time. Through this frustration a thought came to my head: Why am I transferring Jane and John Doe over when I barely speak to them? I do not want to delete them, but it would be nice if there was an application out there that would hide contacts if I have not spoken to them in X days, weeks, or months...

Application Idea Was Born:

I first did some application searches in the Android Market to find an application that can do this reasoning: "somebody else on this big planet must have experienced the same frustration and need the same thing... I am pretty sure this exists out there, I will just buy it and be done with it", but to my surprise, nothing existed in the form that I wished it had. I then said, "let me just move people into groups and manage it that way. This is a feature available in the native Contact application." The developer in me, i.e. the lazy developer in me spoke loudly and said: "I am lazy! I would prefer for the phone to do it for me." So it was time to scratch my itch and get it done! I bought an Android book from Manning:

Android in Action, Second Edition

and read the book in a week and was pumped up! It took me 3 weeks to develop the application (nights and weekends with some slacking :( ) and then I spent another week or so building in the security leveraging Google APIs and recommendations. I told some of my friends (software developers, QA testers, and non-techies) about the app and invited them to a private beta testing. We tested for about 2 weeks and fixed some bugs and usability/UI issues along the way. I was finally in a position to release the application and get it out to the market (so exciting to own your own product!!!)

Application release and Marketing effort:

I was very apprehensive to release the app to the market without a marketing effort and knew that sales would not be good without rising above the "noise levels" within the Android Market. The Android Market has to date 250,000 (this is a stale value and is increasing all the time, this value came from Wikipedia). I became concerned with this number and came up with the idea of creating a commercial to somewhat mirror the "Mac vs PC" commercials. I will not spoil it for you so I will provide you with the link as soon as it is fully edited and ready for YouTube prime time (I am starring in the commercial despite the good efforts of my director and producer trying to fire me from the commercial and get a professional actor lol! My ego wanted to be in it so I refused to be replaced, lol, Besides I write code, how hard can it be to act?). I am also creating a video that will dive into how to use the app and cover questions that may commonly arise among first time users.

Despite not having the marketing engine in place, I released the application to the Android just to make sure it works and because some of my friends have been waiting to purchase it! So it has been released and has been out for about 2 weeks to date:

The full description of the application is in the link so I will not fully explain the functionality here to avoid redundantly covering it. To sum it up though this is what the application does:

  1. It breaks up your contacts into 2 groups: active and inactive (all contacts with phone numbers on the phone are automatically synced with the app and are kept in sync)
  2. It allows you to set how long between conversations (text/phone) active contacts show be moved to the inactive group; so if you set it to a week and you have not called/texted John Doe or John Doe has not called/texted you in a week, John Doe gets moved to the inactive list automatically. The minute you contact John Doe or John Doe contacts you, John is automatically moved to the active list (you can also move people manually if you want)
  3. Active and Inactive contacts are sorted by how often you talk to them then name. For instance, if you talked to John 10 times and Eddie 9 times, John will be on the top of the list because you have interacted with him the most
  4. The app lets you add, delete, call, text, edit, move contacts between active and inactive groups, and view the call log

This app will save you from scrolling/searching/using-shortcuts to find people you talk to the most in the sea of contacts on your phone. This is what I wanted for myself because I hate wasting time doing all of that.

The app price is $1.99 which I think is a fair price point but may be subject to change. I do not believe in the Google model of giving things up for free in the hopes of monetizing applications via adds. Ads are good for certain types of applications like applications with contextual information that may cover a particular niche, subject, and/or topic. This helps both the business advertising and the content provider, leading to higher conversion rates due to its relevance to content and avoiding spamming the user with useless ads. My application has no content to speak of other than your contacts which is not relevant to any advertiser so I would hate to steal their money with clicks that will likely not lead to the desired action.

Another thing is that the major benefactors of ads are the ad networks, i.e. Google and the rest of the ad providers, unless as I have said before that the application itself provides content related to the ad and therefore produces ads relevant to the user base.

IMHO developers should be paid for their efforts and businesses since the dawn of time have been run on revenue and profits and not the hopes that people will click on ads. Every other sector of society expects money for their services, it is about time we as developers start to ask for the same (doesn't have to be much but something we also need to eat!)

That is the end of the email thread. Hope you enjoyed!

Follow me on Twitter mrosario2012