Thursday, June 28, 2012

Rapid Recorder version 1.6

Version 1.6 has been published to the Marketplace. It brings with it some features that should make many users happy.

Recording under the lockscreen
The biggest change is the re-introduction of recording under the lockscreen. Now it's much easier to record lectures without accidental touches to the phone causing the recording to stop. This was also the number one voted feature.

Battery Savings
To go along with the lockscreen recording there have been some big improvements in battery conservation. Many apps out there save to the phone's data storage ten times every second. That can be fairly hard on your phone's battery, even running under the lockscreen. Rapid Recorder now has special processing to keep data in memory longer so we write to the phone less often. The frequency of writes varies is variable but gets even longer when recording under the lockscreen. In fact there is a new long recording mode available in the settings and with it turned on the phone only saves to storage once a minute. Let's compare that a little:

This  means that for an hour recording under the lockscreen in long recording mode Rapid Recorder writes about 60 times to the phone's storage. In an hour most apps will write to storage 36000 times. Even if the power draw for each write is quite minimal, the difference will really add up for the extra 35940 writes! 

Battery life will vary by phone and situation, but in our testing we were able to record 6 hours of a conference and the battery was only down about half way. Please let us know how it works for you!

Large uploads
Something many people needed was the ability to upload very large recordings. Due to a limitation of the Dropbox libraries available this was limited by the phone's memory. We have now implemented the ability to compress the recording into multi-file zip archives. Now even the largest recordings should transfer fine.

Speed improvements
The startup time has been greatly improved. In fact it improved some much we have removed the splash screen because it was slowing us down! Screen to screen transition animations have been removed to speed up daily use. 

To keep things looking alive we added some animation to the recordings list. You'll see it as the page comes in and when you change the sorting. We also added an animated loading screen for the pinned secondary tiles such as the recordings list screen and individual recording screen since those screens took longer to load. 

Anonymous usage data
Want to help improve the app? We love feedback and suggestions, but it also helps to know how people are using the app. We added optional anonymous app usage data tracking which can be turned off in the settings. It only keeps track of some things you do such as making a recording. Why is that interesting you might ask? Well you can start a recording by pressing the button or automatically at start, and you can stop it with the button, the back button, going to a different screen, hitting start, etc. Hopefully we can use the data to improve things for how most people use the app. We do not track anything private such as recording names, Dropbox login, etc. 

In fact unlike most apps that record usage data, we do not track your phone's unique identifier (UDID) or your user identity. There is more information on this available from the About screen in the app.

Error reporting
Now if you get an error you may be presented with a message asking if you want to send the information to us in an email. We appreciate it if you choose to do that. It certainly helps us try to fix any issues.

We have enough settings now that we needed to add a full settings screen. Quick screen-specific settings are still available from the app bar menu.

Remaining record time
One little feature that snuck in at the last minute was the ability to display how much time you can record. This was a request from a recent app review. It's pretty nice and we really love feedback like that!

Let us know how you like the new version. And keep the suggestions coming!

The full changelog is below
  • Added recording under the lockscreen (again*)
  • Performance and startup time improvements
  • Improved battery life by writing to the phone less often when recording
  • Added long recording mode
  • Added support for large uploads to Dropbox via multi-part zip files
  • Made changes to match changes from Dropbox (no Public uploads)
  • Added anonymous app usage that can be disabled
  • Added settings screen
  • Added new about screen
  • Removed page transitions to speed things up
  • Added new list page animations
  • Added animation from pinned tile for List page
  • Increased speed for record button animation
  • Added welcome message, upgrade message, thanks for purchasing message
  • Added remaining record time display
  • Added option for users to report errors
  • Lots of little improvements