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The story of Droid Juice!

Last year while researching about network coverage during train travel for Pyka, I did a small hack to log signal strength for a given location. I used it during my trip to Chennai and data was logged using a background process in my Android phone for every kilometer. Incidentally my onward and return journeys were in different routes. When we visualised using Google Fusion Charts, it was quite telling. There were many deadspots which would be impossible to detect otherwise. During this exercise, my droid had to be fed with constant power to keep it running. :)

We build products for travel and recently did several interviews with frequent travellers. We repeatedly heard people saying they usually turn off data just to conserve battery life. They were also concerned about running out of juice and becoming unreachable. This sparked an idea to build a public battery profile for people displaying the last known battery status. So, if someone is not reachable, one can find out if it is because of running out of juice.

During last week’s Droidcon India Hack Night, I teamed up with Sandeep and Santhosh to build the basic version. Thanks to Muthuraj for suggesting that we fall back to SMS when the battery is really low, which we’ll add in a future release. In the past few days, the hack got spit and polish from Team Ideophone and it’s now available for download from the Play Store. :)

The heart of the app is a shareable battery profile. However, as pointed out in this Pluggd.in article, when more and more people start using it, our data will show which Android phones have better battery life in real life scenarios. While price and feature comparisons of Android devices abound, it’s high time we had battery performance halls of fame and shame! The high point was to know that Sundars Ace had a really low juice retention factor and he wasn’t complaining for nothing all these days. :)

 

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Simple, yet effective!

It’s been over 2 months since our flagship product, Suruk has been live on the Nokia Ovi Store for free download. Suruk has been downloaded over 15,000 times and, apart from offline usage of Suruk auto meter, there has been more than 50,000 requests to our other services like fetching the routes. The high usage and very encouraging response from various tech-blogs in Spain and UK motivated us much and has given us lot of stuff to work on and improve the application day by day.

We recently came across astonishing figures of SMS VAS usage in India.

* An average Indian sends 29 SMS per month

* 1 in 5 urban Indians have used a SMS based VAS service

* Approx 6 million have used SMS to get directions

We believe that providing our services over multiple channels will help us cater to most of the people in India. Hence, today, we launch our first SMS-based application, Auto Fare, which started out as a collaboration with a IIIT-D team. It costs nearly nothing to use, doesn’t require an internet connection and there’s no need for a gps/gprs/java enabled handset: it’s practically an open and free for all service.

Do try it out and tell us what you think :-)

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