Please skip to the bottom if you’re interested in helping out with a quick little test, but aren’t interested in all the history.
Despite my recent not-so-pro-Android post about Android vs. iPhone, we have been working in the background to get Copy2Contact ready for the Android platform. It may seem like an easy task, and it may seem like we started this a long time ago, but there’s more below the surface.
When we started this project, we were gung-ho to get it done, and invested a ton of time and money into building the user interface and porting the Copy2Contact engine over. All went smoothly until we tried actually using the app, and found that most Android phones just didn’t have copy and paste from email at all. This is a big problem given that Copy2Contact works on data that you’ve grabbed from another app (usually email) and onto the clipboard.
I couldn’t believe that a modern smartphone and supposed iPhone competitor didn’t have such a fundamental feature, so I looked more closely. It turns out, some of the later versions of the OS had copy and paste, but it was implemented in a very awkward way, and it wasn’t clear how many users out there even had this feature since the Android market is so fragmented. So we surveyed some users who had expressed interest in Copy2Contact for Android and lo and behold, only two of them were able to copy and paste.
The project was shelved. Not only would it be unusable by most Android users, but the cost of supporting each potential customer to help them decide if they can even use it in the first place would be astronomical.
Fast forward to now, many inquiries later from customers wondering what could possibly be taking us so long. Since keeping watch on the fragmentation issue and the evolution of the Android OS, it was starting to look more likely that it might be time to get the project going again. Having been burned in the first go-around, we started with research. We hired an outside consulting firm to do a market analysis of the different phone models out there, their native email clients, and their copy/paste functionalities. Results were positive… copy/paste is now ubiquitous on Android devices!
So we started development again full swing. Dev tools had improved since the early days, and new capabilities had arisen. Still nothing like the Apple/iOS development environment, but pretty good stuff. I’m leaving out a lot of hard work and dealing with bugs in the tools, OS, or different phones, but that’s nothing new since we’re used to developing with Microsoft Windows, the gold standard for difficult platforms. You can usually get around everything that comes up, it’s just painful.
But guess what… we’re back to square one! The first trial of the new build of Copy2Contact on a real device failed miserably. Not because of any programming failure, but because copy/paste on the device doesn’t work properly! When you copy a signature from an email, the email client puts everything on one line, completely removing the key formatting needed to separate the data into its individual fields. Copy2Contact is smart, but it’s not expecting a zip code to run right into a phone number, for example. Even a human would have to look carefully to realize the jumble of numbers isn’t one big international phone number, or a big typo.
Talk about frustrating, it’s back to research time. The question now is, how many Android devices out in the real world have this bug in their email application? The Android ecosystem is still very fragmented, with about half of Android users out there using a positively ancient version of the OS. But it’s clear this bug isn’t necessarily OS version specific. There are a multitude of different email clients, carrier customizations, and user interfaces out in the real world as well.
How Can You Help?
So that’s where we’re at with Copy2Contact for Android, and we could really use your help! To find out how prevalent this bug is, we’re asking people to complete a little test.
Please click here to enter your Android device’s email address, and we’ll send you a little email with test instructions. It’s a snap to do, and is a BIG help to us. Thanks! We have all the results we need right now, thanks!