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Screebl News

Why Go Pro? PDF Print E-mail

Screebl Lite has been cranking along for quite some time now.  From coming in 5th in its category in ADC2 to the hundreds-of-thousands of times that the app has been downloaded, it's been really fun watching this innovative little utility spread throughout the Android community.

We often get the question "why should I upgrade to Screebl Pro?".  We think that there are lots of great reasons, including supporting continued enhancement and bug fixes.

In a nutshell, you get the following Pro-only features:

o  Locale/Tasker Integration - Include Screebl detection capabilities as you configure your phone.  Your imagination is the limit!

o  Screen Timeout Control - You are in control of how fast your screen times out after your phone is moved out of a configured Screebl range.

o Icon Customization - Choose how you want your icons to look in the notification bar.

o Improved Detection Algorithm - Bed reading, lying on your right side, and other tricky detection scenarios work better in Screebl Pro.  You have move control over Axis Variance, the key parameter that makes these work.

Here's a detailed description of the enhanced features that you will get ONLY in Screebl Pro...

Keyes Labs Open Sources Licensing Solution PDF Print E-mail

Over the course of the last few weeks, there have been thousands of downloads of Automatic Application Licensing (AAL).  It's been deployed in a handful of apps, including Screebl Pro and other applications not associated with Keyes Labs.  For the most part, however, AAL has been a big flop when it comes to commercial interest.  I'm not entirely sure of the reasons for this, but one of the biggest complaints that I've heard to date is that the software is closed-source.  We originally decided to keep AAL closed-source in an attempt to thwart crackers, but I've come to the conclusion that the drawbacks of this approach outweigh the benefits.

As of today, the source code for AAL is freely available at http://code.google.com/p/autoapplic/.  We've removed the licensing lockdowns, and released the source under the Apache 2.0 license. We will be maintaining the code based on donations going forward, but obviously we will continue to support those that purchased licenses for the commercial version.

We hope that release of the AAL source helps to improve the quality of the product, and we're excited to see what the community does with it!  If you're interested in contributing to the project, please let us know.


Android -- The Perfect Piracy Storm PDF Print E-mail



Piracy has become rampant within the Android ecosystem.  In the case of my own apps, I was appalled to see piracy rates hit as high as 90%.  I interpreted this as "lost sales", and spent a considerable amount of time trying to turn pirates into patrons with Automatic Application Licensing. This licensing technology is now included in my own apps and a growing number of other applications being sold on the Android market.  The ultimate effect on sales remains to be seen, but so far things are looking good.

Digital piracy is nothing new.  It has been around since the commercial sale of digital goods began.  But what is driving software theft to the epic levels that it is reaching on the Android platform?  There are several key contributors to this perfect storm of application piracy that has engulfed Android...

Explanation of the New Screebl Pro Licensing Features PDF Print E-mail

As of version 2.2.0 of Screebl Pro, a new licensing mechanism called Automatic Application Licensing (AAL) has been bundled with the app.  The purpose of AAL is to allow painless verification that the user of Screebl Pro actually purchased the app from the Android Market.  We've taken this step to attempt to put a stop to the insane levels of piracy that Screebl has seen, and so far, things seem to be working out nicely.

I've received a number of questions over the course of the last few days asking me how AAL works, why we chose to include it in Screebl Pro, and what the implications are for users.  This article will cover the details, and describe why we finally decided to pull the trigger on licensing in our mobile apps...

Introducing Automatic Application Licensing PDF Print E-mail

KeyesLabs.com is proud to announce our latest innovation for the Android platform: Automatic Application Licensing (AAL).  We're excited to offer this technology to Android developers, as we think it will provide a crucial tool for those that are struggling with piracy of their mobile applications.  In a nutshell, AAL licenses an application by validating that it was purchased from the Android Market. It sounds simple, it is simple.  We're not sure why no one has done this before.

We've been burned by piracy ourselves at KeyesLabs.  Our successful utility application called Screebl (which keeps the screen on based on how you hold your phone) has been downloaded nearly 100,000 times.  As the app has gained in popularity, however, we've noticed a frustrating increase in the number of installations that are pirated.  At this point we are beyond 70% of all installs being stolen, and some days we top 90%.  Holy crap!  Yes, yes, we've heard all of the arguments about how piracy can't be fought, it's not really going to hurt you anyway, it's a free form of advertising.  Whatever. We want a way to limit the theft of our intellectual property.  Google hasn't given any indication that they're going to tackle the problem any time soon, so we took a look to see if there was anything that we could do.
Screebl Gets Roasted! PDF Print E-mail

Screebl Pro continues to recieve good reviews.  It is now ranked in the top 20 on the Android Market in the Tools category, and in the top 50 overall!  Thanks to everyone that has tweeted, emailed, or otherwise shared your love of Screebl.  Please keep sharing!

It is generally a very challenging and time-consuming endeavor to review a sophisticated piece of software like Screebl, particularly when it involves changing and evaluating phone usage patterns.  The new review site AppRoasters.com recently "roasted" (that's what they call their reviews) Screebl Pro as their first review.  It is a very thorough and accurate review, making some good observations about ways that we can improve the product.  I was also happy to see that the review has decent coverage of the Locale integration.

Nice work AppRoasters!


I'm All A-Twitter - Let's Socialize Our Mobile Apps! PDF Print E-mail



Promoting a mobile application is not easy.  It's getting more difficult every day as the market gets flooded with new apps, the majority of which are crap.  It's very, very easy to get lost in the market noise.

The basic pattern that most of us follow in releasing a commercial application looks something like this:

  1. Create a "Lite" version of an application.  Release to market, promote, get reviewed, tweak, improve, develop strong and loyal user base.
  2. At some point in the future, release a "Professional" version of the application and charge for it.  Add compelling features not available in Lite version, and make it easy to upgrade for existing user base.
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