The Apps World came all the way to Berlin this week, so I decided to check it out and was happily surprised that there was a hackathon ongoing when I arrived! Of course I joined, together with my fellow student Jonas Pohlamnn. Spoiler: great success!
The Albert device
One of the sponsors was Wincor Nixdorf – the company behind the Albert, an Interactive Multifunctional Payment Device that runs Android (see above image). You can imagine a lot of retail stores having these devices in the future – we created an app for the albert that customers and sellers will benefit from.
The ReMerchant app
ReMerchant allows you to track and identify customers in stores using nothing but the Albert device. It uses Bluetooth and assigns the unique addresses to customers. When a device comes in range of the Albert, it can detect the associated customer.
Knowing which customers are near by is a huge thing for stores. Store owners can prepare items based on the last purchases of that user, they can track in which other stores the customer has spent money and on which items, they can provide an overall more personal customer treatment. If you can’t imagine all the possible advantages of this, take a look at our presentation slides.
The jury did see the potential of our prototype and rewarded us generously. As usual, the app is open-source and available on GitHub, feel free to check it out:
I’ve spent the past 48 hours at the HPI Hackathon sponsored by eBay Kleinanzeigen and mobile.de, but this time I organised the event together with 2 of my fellow students. Of course I couldn’t resist and hacked together a little app together with Jakob Frick, the so called Estirator!
The app will show you a bunch of eBay item listings, but only one at a time and without mentioning the price of that item. You now have to estimate a price for each item, just based on the photo and title.
After you have done that, the app will show you all the items that you have previously estimated – but this time it will tell you the real price.
But, what’s the point?
The estimated prices from each user are coming together in a cloud database hosted on the Google App Engine. It can generate a ranking of items that are currently available on eBay, sorted by how much under worth they are sold.
Advantage for users: After they have contributed to the database by estimating items, they can find super cheap offers within seconds.
Advantage for sellers: They can get an idea of how much customers are willing to spent for their products.
Advantage for eBay: Possible A/B testing for product photos and their influence on the customer.
The app is open-source and available on GitHub, feel free to check it out:
One of the things that make Android L awesome is the new Material Design. Of course the Remote Control Collection won’t miss out following new design guidelines – so I created the app from scratch and made sure it would fit well into the new Android environment.
I’ve completely redesigned the whole experience, not only the UI. Keeping the Google guidelines and lectures from my recent Human Computer Interaction class in mind, I changed the way users would need to interact with the app. For the first time ever, I took advantage of usability testing and used the feedback from communities, highly engaged users and testers to build an app that maintains it’s complex functionality while being super intuitive to use.
Comparison Over Time
Taking a look back to the first release of the app, which was in late 2012, the UI has changed quite a bit. Here’s a comparison of version 1.3 (Gingerbread), version 2.2 (ICS, Holo design) and version 3.2 (L, Material design).
Get rid of your presenter and instead use your smartwatch to switch between slides. Skip the current track on your computer while sitting on your couch. Turn on the lights in your flat when you come home. Hook your smartwatch up to Arduino, Raspberry Pi or any other IoT-ready device and use it for whatever you want.
Remotify is an Android Wear application that has been developed in 40 hours during the HackZurich hackathon by Leo Kotschenreuther, Fabio Niephaus an Stephan Schultz. It allows you to control any device with Internet access. Watch the demo video above to get a sense of what this prototype can be used for. It was nominated as finalist out of 101 other porjects from 350 participants and won the Google award as the best application with support for Android Wear.
Remote Control Collection Integration
The app matches well with the Remote Control Collection app for Android, which already has a community of over 1 million users that like the idea of home automation. For that reason, Remotify will be part of the Remote Control Collection and provide support for Android Wear, extending the usability even further. It will be available for users through the beta community on Google Plus.
I recently updated one of my older apps that shows the menu of the University Potsdam Mensa and the daily meal of Ulf’s Café at the Hasso Plattner Institute. I have rebuild the app from scratch, designed a new user interface and published the source code on GitHub.
The new design
Compared to the old version, the new GUI is much cleaner and has an appealing amount of fresh colors. The updated logo follows the new Android design guidelines and fits well with the new GUI.
The layout is adaptive to any screen size and displays high resolution graphics. It uses custom list adapters and builds its views dynamically based on the meal items (indicator icons, photos, prices, etc.).
The new code
You can take a look at the source code and use it for other (non-commercial) apps, it will be easy to read and self-explanatory. It takes advantage of animations, asynchronous methods, handlers, modified view pagers and list adapters – stuff you will find useful if you have just started developing Android apps.