Interview with SpoofApp Creator Alan Beebe
Dec 26, 2008 5:13 PM –
Looking for a cool appto spank your friends and family? Well… SpoofApp is here and on Android. We talked with Alan Beebe creator of SpoofApp for more insight:
AndroidTapp: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Alan: I am the creator of SpoofApp for the Android OS and iPhone. I basically quit my day job as a Store Manager at Papa John’s Pizza, and took a gamble writing SpoofApp. I am fortunate to say I haven’t looked back!
AndroidTapp: Why did you create your app?
Alan: In March 2008, I was looking to take a risk. I saved up some money, quit my job, and decided to pursue writing iPhone applications. I had a feeling that apps would become very popular, so the time was right to take this chance. Originally SpoofApp was a “test”. A quick app that I wasn’t planning on releasing. I figured I could quickly write SpoofApp as a way to learn programming for the iPhone. It wasn’t until I made my first phone call with SpoofApp, that I realized how awesome the app was. At this point I focused on creating SpoofApp for public release. After the success of SpoofApp for the iPhone, I purchased a G1 and began learning the Android OS. I can definitely say that i prefer programming for Android vs programming for the iPhone!
AndroidTapp: What technology did you use in creating your App and why?
Alan: Aside from utilizing the touch screen capabilities of the G1 and iPhone, creating SpoofApp was not much different then writing an application for a desktop computer. I experimented with using a built in web browser in the application which cut down on development time. Instead of programming a way to have users contact me with questions, I implemented a built in web browser that loads a customer-service page within the application. This approach allowed me to design the customer service page in HTML and write the entire script in PHP which is extremely easy and fast!
AndroidTapp: About how long did it take to create your App?
Alan: It took a whole month of non stop learning and coding to create SpoofApp for the iPhone. When I created SpoofApp for Android, it was very quick. Less then 2 weeks, and I am extremely happy with the results. The beta period for SpoofApp for Android was only a couple days because we couldn’t really find any bugs! We had a few minor issues that were fixed in a matter of minutes, but basically we shipped SpoofApp right to the Marketplace.
AndroidTapp: What is a cool uncovered tip or trick you can do with the App?
Alan: Apparently if you call someone with a spoofed cell phone number, the phone company thinks its a mobile to mobile call. I have heard of people using the app to make calls to people that ran out of cell minutes, but have free mobile to mobile.
AndroidTapp: What other interesting uses can come from the App?
Alan: Last week I received news that people were using SpoofApp for calls from Santa! I guess a female using the male voice changer can do a pretty convincing Santa voice. Stories like this are what drive me to write apps. Also, SpoofApp is a GREAT tool for April Fools! In fact April Fools Day is the biggest day of the year for Caller ID Spoofing!
AndroidTapp: Can you tell us about future feature enhancements with your App?
Alan: The number one request is the ability to share your recordings with friends. I am developing this feature as we speak. For the Android version, I want to add an on screen keyboard. Currently you have to use the slide out keyboard to enter numbers.
AndroidTapp: What did you really like about creating Apps on the Android platform?
Alan: I loved the ease in which you can write an application. When you develop on the iPhone, its totally different. iPhone developing takes longer, its more complex, its objective C, it just sucks. With Android, apps are written in Java which makes it very simple in my opinion. I also think Android Apps are generally faster then iPhone Apps. When it comes time to distributing your app, Android wins HANDS DOWN. No review process to get your application in the Marketplace, whereas with the App Store it can take weeks. SpoofApp was submitted to the App Store 2 months ago and still has not been approved or rejected.
(Alan has started an online petition to Apple to get SpoofApp launched for iPhone, click here to support it)
AndroidTapp: What are some things you would like to see improved with Android?
Alan: I would really like to see an on-screen keyboard implemented in Android. The slide out keyboard is great, but some apps would be easier to use if they had an on screen keyboard. We can create an onscreen keyboard ourselves from head to toe, but it would be great for the OS to provide one on its own.
AndroidTapp: What is your opinion of the Android App Market’s distribution method? In comparison Apple’s model (strict control over the iTunes store) or the Windows Mobile model (no store at all).
Alan: Hands down I love the Marketplace distribution method. I uploaded SpoofApp to the market, and within the first 5 minutes I had almost 300 people using the app and making calls. The iTunes App Store sucks. I submitted SpoofApp 2 months ago and they still have not approved or rejected it. I email them everyday and I have NEVER received a response back. Currently SpoofApp for the iPhone is distributed via Cydia for people who have Jailbroke their iPhones. In my opinion, the Marketplace is the way to go. Even though the App Store is bigger then the Marketplace by far, the amount of exposure you get on the Marketplace is amazing.
AndroidTapp: What is your Opinion on the state of the Rating/Feedback system in the App Market?
Alan: Yikes. Good and bad. Good because you generate lots of feedback. Its been a full week since I uploaded SpoofApp and we have about 800 reviews. For comparison, I have an app in the App Store (LotteryResultsApp.com) which has been available for a couple months and we don’t even have 20 reviews. The bad is the lack of moderation. People write racist comments, attack other reviewers, spam, its a free for all. We need the ability to flag inappropriate comments.
AndroidTapp: Do you have plans on releasing Apps for other markets (i.e. iPhone, Windows Mobile, Blackberry, etc.)?
Alan: I have received numerous request for a Blackberry app, so I will be working on one next! I am not sure about Windows Mobile. I guess the biggest thing in my mind is how do people find and download your application. The Marketplace and App Store make it very easy which is why I have focused on Android and iPhone.
AndroidTapp: Must-have Android Apps?
Alan: GasBot followed by Shazam. GasBot is genius, and Shazam is amazing.
AndroidTapp: What advice would you give to another aspiring mobile application developer?
Alan: Buy a book! I cannot stress how helpful it is to read a programming book. I have always been the type of programmer to dissect other peoples code in order to learn, but when it came to Android/iPhone, having a book to guide me was invaluable. Also make sure you sign up on a development message board. The message boards are great tools when you are learning to develop apps.
AndroidTapp: Can you tell us what future Android Apps you have brewing?
Alan: I want to do some location apps that utilize the GPS, but I have my hands tied with SpoofApp. One thing developers need to be prepared for is support emails. When your app becomes popular, you can generate a hundred emails a day. I do pride myself on replying to everyone, being helpful, and answering questions as fast as I receive them.
Thanks Alan! We look forward to many other cool apps from you. (Stay tuned for more from AndroidTapp.com and SpoofApp… shhhh!) Read our full revew of SpoofApp for Android.