Crowdsourcing a list of messaging apps for app developers - help us to rid the world of overcrowded share dialogs!

At Instabridge, we’re always working on making our app more accessible and easier to use.

Recently we rolled out an invite feature. Unfortunately, the standard Android share dialog lists all apps that can take a text string which is almost any app on your phone. That’s why many apps show you something like this when you try to share a picture or a text string:

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To avoid the clutter we decided to filter the list on messaging apps only.

To do this we needed a list of all Android SMS & messaging apps, including package name. Since there wasn’t any such list available online we decided to do create the list ourselves. 

But, to help others our  fellow app developers we also decided to make the list public. 

The list includes both the actual app name and the package name so that app developers can copy and paste it directly into the code.

List of messaging apps (Google Doc)

After our filtering, the list ended up looking like this (yes, we included Gmail and Twitter too because it made sense for our use case even though they are not messaging apps).

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If you find any apps that are missing, or are building a messaging app yourself that should be on the list, please add yourself with a comment. Let’s make this the ultimate list of Android messaging apps and make sure all apps have awesome share dialogs!

Hope this helps!

Instabridge announces free wifi in Amsterdam and surrounding area

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New app gives free Wi-Fi all across the Randstad

Amsterdam, The Netherlands - The Swedish startup Instabridge now provides access to over 300 free Wi-Fi hotspots across the Randstad area, helping residents and tourists find and use Wi-Fi wherever they are.

As mobile data becomes increasingly expensive and consumers get subscriptions with limited data capacity, finding and using quality Wi-Fi networks gets more and more important. According to a Cisco survey from 2012, over 80% of users prefer to use Wi-Fi rather than 3G or LTE when browsing on their mobile phone.

- “Finding and using Wi-Fi has not changed for the past ten years. Our goal with Instabridge is to get people connected to quality Wi-Fi networks more easily and more often” says Niklas Agevik, CEO & co-founder of Instabridge.

The Instabridge app allows users to find and use free Wi-Fi at hundreds of cafés, bars and restaurants throughout the Randstad. The Wi-Fi networks are already configured in the app, so users don’t even need to input a password to connect to them.

Instabridge also makes it easier to share and use private networks. For example, you can share your home network through Instabridge with your friends, or share your office Wi-Fi with your colleagues and visitors.

- “Wi-Fi is available almost everywhere today, but the hassle of using it limits its real world usage. With Instabridge, users will find themselves using Wi-Fi in new situations, lowering their mobile data usage, increasing battery life, and saving money,” says Agevik.

Instabridge web site: http://instabridge.com/
Link to download the Instabridge app: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.instabridge.android
Link to press kit: http://cdn.instabridge.com/instabridge_press_pack.zip

About Instabridge: Instabridge is a nine person company based in Stockholm, Sweden founded in 2012. It has been featured in publications like the Economist, Wired UK, and the Guardian, and won the Best International Startup prize at the 2013 LAUNCH Festival in San Francisco.

Some links where the press release was published: 
http://www.nu.nl/tech/3632007/bedrijf-biedt-gratis-wifi-in-randstad.html
http://www.apparata.nl/nieuws/gratis-wifi-in-randstad-dankzij-een-nieuwe-app-4374
http://www.nederlandsmedianieuws.nl/Media-Nieuws/instabridge-nieuwe-app-biedt-gratis-wifi-in-de-randstad.html
http://androidworld.nl/nieuws/instabridge-gratis-toegang-tot-wifi-randstad/

Dealing with Android fragmentation - how bad is it for startup developers?

Open Signal’s recent post about Android fragmentation led to quite a bit of discussion on Hacker News. As interesting as questions of whether fragmentation is good or bad may be, however, most developers and entrepreneurs just want to know how to deal with it.

When we started the development of Instabridge we had read a lot online about the difficulty of building an app that works on all the different handsets out there. According to the OpenSignal report, a developer needs to deal with 10,000+ different Android devices. Strictly speaking, this is true, but as we’ll see below it’s irrelevant in practice. The same goes for many other aspects of the so-called Android fragmentation problem.

Our app is consistently rated 4 or 5 stars in Google Play and has virtually zero device related crashes, despite a development process with very reasonable time and budget constraints. In this article I describe what it takes to get there.

First of all, how fragmented is Android in reality? In theory there are 18 different Android versions and sub-versions for developers to deal with. In reality six different versions cover 98% of the Android user base. Those are: 

  • 2.2 
  • 2.3 
  • 4.0
  • 4.1 
  • 4.2
  • 4.3 

(I use the numbering scheme since the numbers are more precise than the associated names. “Jelly Bean,” for example, refers to both 4.0, 4.1, 4.2 and 4.3). 

If you’re wondering why 3.0 is missing, 3.0 was a tablet branch that never got any traction. The 3.0 designation was unfortunate, and merging the changes directly into 2.3 would probably have been a wiser choice. The 3.0 branch is now merged into 4.0, which all new tablets are running. So unless your app needs to be specifically adapted to the Motorola Xoom you can safely ignore it.

Versions before 2.2 are ancient by smartphone standards and can therefore also be ignored, just like most developers ignore iOS 3.0 and earlier. For almost all libraries exclusive to later versions of Android there are open source libraries that allows developers to use the same functionality on earlier devices.

But what about device fragmentation? Although there are over 10,000 Android devices on the market, there are really only three different screen sizes for smartphones. Those are:

  • 4.7-5.3 inches (premium smartphones like the Samsung Galaxy S4 or HTC One X or phablets like the Samsung Galaxy Note II)
  • 4.0-4-7 inches (entry level smartphones like Sony Xperia P)
  • < 4.0 inches (tiny devices like the ZTE Blade or the Samsung Galaxy Ace that can almost be considered feature phones).

The latter category of tiny devices is the most challenging, often requiring a complete rethink of the layout if you intend to support them. Because of the limitations of these devices, however, their users don’t download apps nearly as often. This is one demographics that we have intentionally ignored (i.e. the app still works but we haven’t specifically adapted the UI), and have not yet had a single complaint as a result.

We use ten different devices from a few different vendors (Sony, HTC, ZTE and Samsung). We bought most of them on eBay and spent about €1000 in total. The good thing about this setup is that we also end up testing different processor speeds and memory sizes as well, since CPU speed and memory size correlate fairly well with screen size. 

Whenever we have a new release we spend about four hours testing the new build on all the devices. In total we estimate the extra effort of fixing device or vendor specific crashes to add 10% to our development time. 

Android fragmentation - worse than ever?

As we add more features and increase the user base we will probably need to test with more devices, but so far we’ve been pleasantly surprised over how smooth the process has been. 

While Android fragmentation is increasing, the development time for developers is not.

Update #1: Link to the actual app for those of you who want to test it

Update #2: Discuss the article on Hacker News

Update #3: 4.0 is named ICS not Jelly Bean. #fail

Instabridge new update - now with FREE WIFI for all!

Our core belief has always been that the basic tenets of life is good friends, good health and free wifi. 

That’s why we just released an updated version of Instabridge that gives you access to free wifi at thousands of locations at home or when you’re travelling. No need to share or add networks yourself. JUST FREE WI-FI!

Interested in learning more about Instabridge? See our opening presentation at the LAUNCH conference in San Francisco!

AAAND WE’RE LIVE!

"I don’t want to bias the judges, but this is really f*cking cool!" — Jason Calacanis, introducing Instabridge on stage at LAUNCH 2013

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We were very psyched to win the “Best International Startup” award at the LAUNCH Festival in San Francisco last week. But even more exciting, if possible, is that Instabridge is now available for download from anywhere in the world!


Get the app on Google Play