It has been about 4 months since I released SG-Drive into the Windows Phone Marketplace. v3.0 onwards has been a popular hit, judging by the user requests coming in via email and the good and not-so-good user reviews from all over the world. It seems to me that people living outside of Singapore are buying my WP7 application because of its navigation features since it is not restricted to navigation within Singapore.
I have had many requests from me asking me to port my SG-Drive to the iPhone, iPad as well as the Android. The idea is sure attractive and I had thought about it for some time. However, after some scouting and research, I realized that there are rather similar apps on those various platforms so I am deciding against it since it will not be productive use of my time.
For the record, I chose WP7 first, not because I am a fan-boy, but rather that it was new and it was a green-field for applications without much competition. It is not about the money since it is ONLY USD1.26 and all sales proceeds of SG-Drive will go towards charity. I just wanted to be sure the time invested in creating this application would be put to good use by the consumers out there. I not too sure about the sales of WP7 overall but the velocity of releases has slowed down a fair bit since I have been busy with my work and music. I do tinker with the application to make it better when I have time but users shouldnt expect a new functionality every fortnight.
That said, v3.12 is one release that I actually took a functionality off - and - that is the Estimated Travel Time feature. From what I have asked and checked, that seems to be a feature that most users (whom I know who bought the application) find the the least useful and took a big chunk of real estate of the application screen. There was also a recent outage from the source service provider, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) of Singapore, whom I was told, deliberately took the service offline as they dont want too many "free-loaders" consuming the service. Apparently, this stems from the fact that there are paid-users of this feature of www.onemotoring.com.sg who are complaining.
Much as I disagree with LTA on what I think I should be the role of what a Government Agency and its public civil servants should be to the general public: To freely serve as well as to disseminate public useful information for the greater good of its citizens' consumption without a commercial agenda, removing the Estimated Travel Time feature is a common-sense decision since a much-unused feature is taking up much clutter of the applicaton real estate and generally affecting the user-experience of the application (too much scrolling).
Real-time traffic conditions such as the Estimated Time Travel can still be derived from the Navigation features as well as the Live Traffic Conditions on the map, which provides better contextual information to the user. In the end, users want to know the estimated time to get to their destination, not from Exit A to Exit B on a certain highway.
- With this feature removed, there is not much "scrolling" anymore and users can get to the feature they want much quicker now.
- Another by-effect is that now SG-Drive loads much faster.
- Coupled with the WP7 NoDo update and its enhancements built into SG-Drive, v3.12 will even load faster from cold and the NoDo update will provide the much-awaited copy-n-paste functionality as well.
- Visual Maps from the navigation routes and directions also gets a boost with faster rendering time and better delivery mechanisms.
- Live Traffic Conditions on the map takes it own spot and it is location-aware now. If GPS is turned-off, the default location will be Singapore.
- Interfaces are much stream-lined now and can be accessed directly from the horizontal (and often-missed) ApplicationBar menu items.
Do download it or refresh your older versions. Try it and let me know what you think. I can always un-do my decision if the majority tells me I am wrong.
... AND YES - it will still cost a measly SGD1.99/USD1.29 and the proceeds will still go to charity.