When I saw the app aTrackDog in Android Market and read about how it updates users on which of their applications are up to date I thought it was perfect. It fits a hole in the whole Android Market + Android relationship and should do a great, behind the scenes, type job at notifying users when their applications are out of date.
Not so much. According to the good guys over at Big in Japan (developers of ShopSavvy) though the premise of aTrackDog is sound, its method is severely flawed. To quote:
aTrackDog has a MAJOR design flaw: if a beta user who is also an aTrackDog user has a beta version of your application on their phone - ALL aTrackDog users get an alert indicating they are running an out of date version of the software despite the fact that they have the most recent public release. Starting on Friday we began getting emails from aTrackDog users who complained that they could not download the latest release of our software. Our current version is 3.0.0, but aTrackDog showed that our most recent version was 3.0.5 (an internal alpha version). We DO have a public beta running at 3.0.4, but the most recent public/stable release (i.e. the one in the Market) is 3.0.0. aTrackDog is listing 3.0.5 as our latest release so each aTrackDog user receives an alert that they need to update their version of ShopSavvy. Our users are becoming more and more frustrated as their emails reveal.
To sum it up, basically if any user is using a beta version AND aTrackDog, aTrackDog will send out notifications for an update to users who aren't beta users and even though the update isn't officially ready. Big in Japan thinks aTrackDog is an application created purely for data collection (which would be immensely valuable), we just hope aTrackDog could fix a bit of this design flaw as soon as possible.
What do you think?
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