It's finally public: the SlideME Application Manager is on the HTC Hero devices released in Malaysia and Vietnam. So now I can discuss with the community a little of the background of what was happening with SlideME over the summer and what to expect in the coming months.
If you tracked SAM releases, you would have noticed that we did four releases from mid-to-late May, all containing localization support of various languages, including Vietnamese. This was to get a version of SAM into the hands of HTC.
SAM v2.8 (released on June 9, 2009) was a major re-write of much of the plumbing in SAM. We previously downloaded the entire catalog on startup and while this worked for 30-40 apps, it was killing the SAM client performance at 150+ apps; certain application entries were getting completely dropped. We needed to fix this if we wanted to scale with an HTC release.
With 2.8, we did incremental and on-demand catalog loading. This required a lot of back-end work as well. SimpleDB from AWS did amazing things for us in regards to building out our new feed servers (I'll write more about this in a later blog).
We can't go into any details right now about who it was for, but in late June we worked on a number of important bug fixes and features that we finished the first week of July. We eventually released this to the community as SAM 2.9 in late August, but we had to do some changes on the portal first. We needed to be able to grab the package and class names from the apk during application upload. SAM uses this information to allow the user to open and delete applications. This was a critical part of the recent portal upgrade.
In August, you may have also noticed a lot of activity at Masa (Maven build plugins for Android), an open-source project I founded a while ago. The big effort in August was to support multiple builds of Android apps, using different resources for different locales. These Masa improvements allow us to build 5 different versions of SAM in a single build, cutting down a lot of manual (and error prone) effort.
We can't say who right now but we will be doing another big announcement regarding on-device distribution of SAM in the next month or so. This will cover a number of countries. We've also got some additional device manufacturers that have expressed interest, so we are are various stages of discussions with them now. From our perspective, things are going very well.
We've spent nearly two years getting the basics done to deliver a stable product that handles application stocking, user discovery, and application downloads and purchases. The billing efforts have taken a good portion of this time.
Our focus right now is to expand out the community features within SlideME. We started out with the idea of providing a social community of users and developers; that's why we founded SlideME. What we've been doing for the last two years are just the basics needed to play in this market. With all that behind us and with the latest upgrades to the portal, we are getting back to our roots.