FlightPredictor for Android was reviewed! (and I respond)
Mood: excited
Posted on 2012-02-15 20:06:00
Tags: projects android
Words: 839

Thanks to the magic of Google Alerts, I saw that FlightPredictor for Android was reviewed by Android Tapp! Excerpts and my comments below:

The app provides some of the basics you would expect, such as the ability to search for flights by either the flight number or by the route information, and you can search up to a day prior and six days ahead. It would be nice to be able to add flights booked further in advance so you have them entered and can forget about them until it’s time to travel, but that’s a minor complaint overall.
Interesting - you should be able to add them 90 days ahead. I noticed she tested it on a Galaxy Tab 10.1, while most of my development was on phone-sized screens, so I'm guessing either she didn't notice that you could scroll the spinner dropdown, or it's somehow broken on the Galaxy Tab.

I do like that you can access overall airport delays in a dedicated screen, so if you just want to take a quick look to get an overall picture of how on time the system is overall, or if there are any major issues you need to be aware of as a traveler, this is a quick and easy way to do it.
Yay! I added this feature mostly just because I thought it was cool.

Where this app separates itself from the flight tracking pack, however, is in the maps. When you travel, most of us will have to spend at least some time wandering around an airport waiting for boarding time. Having the full airport maps at your fingertips, without needing a Wi-Fi connection to access them, is a really, really nice thing. My only complaint is that right now, the maps are limited to a few of the major U.S. airports, although the developer has posted that more are going to be added in time.
Yay again! To be fair, there are more than 30 airports that have maps, so I think this hits almost all of the major US airports. (users: if there are airports you want to see, let me know!)

I did find that occasionally the maps themselves were a bit slow when moving between various sections, but the convenience of having them outweighed the wait.
Interesting - it's using a standard WebView to render the map images (easy way to get panning, zooming, etc.), so I guess it's not too surprising it can be on the slow side.

The app claims to use the Android notification system to let you know about delays, but to be honest, I found this part of the app a bit sketchy. This was the only thing that didn’t work well for me, with the app either not notifying me at all, or notifying me long past when the flight landed and the information was no longer relevant. I had a good network connection, but I can’t rule that out completely, so keep it in mind when you grab this one.
That makes me sad. I thought I tested the notification system a decent amount, but it's hard to test all situations...

Note that the free version allows for six flights before requiring an upgrade, so you should be able to get a good idea of whether it will work for you before you buy.
Woohoo. I'll probably do a similar thing for trial mode in the Windows Phone version.

The interface is very, very simple. It’s a dark background with lighter text, which was occasionally hard to read, especially for some of the links in blue. This is the one area where it feels like it could be a bit more polished and professional, instead of feeling almost like a “my first app” interface. Not to say it doesn’t work well, just that visually, it’s not the most compelling app out there. It does the basics, and that’s it.
Hah! No argument here, honestly. This area is the opposite of my strong suit.

AndroidTapp.com Rating

3.45 out of 5 stars

Should you Download FlightPredictor? Overall, this is a solid app that does what it says. I like the addition of the airport maps, but with all the real data coming from FlightCaster, which has an app of its own, I’m not sure this brings a whole lot of extra to the table. It’s a good app, but I wouldn’t call it the best of show, especially since you have to pay to track after six flights. If you’re a frequent traveler, however, this is worth trying out since it does do what it advertises with a minimum of fuss.
Wait - FlightCaster has an Android app of their own? I'm pretty sure that isn't the case, although there are a few other apps that use the FlightCaster API. But they all seemed pretty simple, and I think my app is considerably better than them :-)

Anyway, this whole thing has the feel of the Bluth family cheering over their stock being upgarded to "Risky", but I'm excited anyway!

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