Exciting News: A Fresh Update for Our App - First Since 2018!

We're thrilled to announce the release of our latest app update, marking the first significant overhaul since 2018. This update brings significant improvements, resurrecting most of the application's functionality. While we acknowledge that there are still a few glitches to iron out, rest assured, we're actively addressing them.

Securing Google's compliance approval proved to be a substantial hurdle in this journey. The process involved extensive collaboration with their compliance team, a back-and-forth that had me doubting the possibility of success. However, one fine day, to my surprise, the coveted "your app has been approved" email landed in my inbox.

Admittedly, this version isn't flawless. Recognizing the app's malfunction since late October, my priority was to get something functional into your hands. I intend to follow this release with frequent, improved iterations, aiming for updates every 1 to 2 weeks. The only bottleneck remains the need to navigate certain compliance requirements.

Curious about the hoops I had to jump through? Here's a glimpse:

  1. Call Permissions: To enable listening for incoming calls and reading out names or numbers, we needed access to the sensitive "READ_CALL_LOG" permission.
  2. SMS Permissions: For listening to incoming SMS messages and announcing them, "RECEIVE_SMS" permission was crucial. SEND_SMS for voice replies will be tackled separately.
  3. Listing Apps Permissions: To list all installed applications for customizable voice notifications, the "QUERY_ALL_PACKAGES" permission was essential. This one is a work in progress, with uncertain outcomes.

There were a couple of denied permissions, such as the ability to import/export saved configurations due to filesystem access. Currently, settings are stored in the app's private data folder, meaning removal of the app results in file deletion. A future update aims to introduce cloud storage for configurations.

Since our last update, the Android landscape has evolved significantly. Over 45,000 lines of code were updated just to ensure basic functionality. However, there's more work ahead to align the codebase with current Android framework standards, necessitating substantial rewrites. Additionally, revamping the outdated website is on the agenda.

In 2018, compliance challenges and the sheer diversity of Android devices led me to halt app development. Surprisingly, it continued working until late 2023, prompting messages of support and praise. Users shared how the app had become indispensable in their day-to-day lives, and, unable to find a suitable replacement, they expressed a willingness to contribute more for its continued development.

Recognizing that some of you have enjoyed over a decade of app usage, I understand the peculiar request for a subscription. To support the app's maintenance costs, we've introduced an optional subscription feature. The app's inception was never driven by monetary motives but rather by the practical need to manage calls and messages efficiently with two dogs and a newborn in the mix.

While the road ahead is paved with challenges, I'm grateful for your support and excited about the journey to enhance this app for everyone.