Monday, 11 July 2011


There are millions of Compass applications out there on Android. They range from trivial to very elaborate, with 3D views and camera overlays. The market winner is clearly Compass by with over 12 millions downloads.
I bet it has been on the market since its inception to get top of the "Compass" search list. It is a sad truth that the Android Market search ranking are highly correlated to the time you have been on the market. It's really hard to get started in a crowded area - unless you have a very viral concept/application like the all mighty "Angry Birds".

Compass is by all means a nice application, very professional. In my opinion it missed a little something though. I mean I have no real use of a compass, living most of the time in town or near town. However I like geography and I like knowing my bearings so I decided to add yet another application to the compass list of applications.
I named it "Compastic!" and its sole purpose is to tell you which direction to look at and how far are your places of interest.
Let's take two use cases:
1) I am in Paris and want to know where to look for the Tour Eiffel
2) I am lost in the forest and I want to find my way back to the car park.
I can a third one, a bit more geeky, I just want to know where and how far is San Francisco from my sofa?

That's for the basic concept. Compass doesn't do it, or at least is not that straightforward.
I skipped the Market Study phase. I didn't download the 100+ compass applications to see if one was actually providing this feature. I just decided that I could take a couple of days off my work and implement it.

I am no Android professional but I surely know my Java. I have released a few Android applications in the past. It's a hobby and WE work only. I do have quite a few more ideas, Mobile Application is such an exciting field, with countless possibilities.

Next post I will dive into the details of how I implemented Compastic!

By the way, my other apps:
Domino! (a prank, half a day to build, my very first one)
- Kids Stars (some pissed off customer, there was a bug, has left me with the dreaded 1 star, and a terrible rating)
- and Compastic! of course

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