Tell us a little about the team behind CallACab
We are Konrad Huebner and Henning Boeger. We both live in Munich, Germany, and work for the same company as IT consultants. We created CallACab in our free time, however.
So What is CallACab and how did it come about?
It all started while we were having a cup of coffee: Konrad read about the android challenge in some newsticker, we talked about it, and thought “why not give it a try?”. We sat together and installed the SDK, and did some brainstorming about ideas we could realize with android. We had a lot of ideas written down, and found CallACab to be the most useful for everyday problems. We both experienced more than one time being in a city where we needed a cab but didn’t know the local cab company number. So, with the capabilities of android, it was pretty straightforward for us to imagine a solution for this problem: CallACab.
What is your ultimate goal with CallACab, what are you hoping to achieve?
We want to make it as simple as possible to call a cab. For everyone, everywhere in the world. That of course is a pretty big goal to start with – but we think that with the capabilities of the upcoming mobile platforms we can make a big step towards this goal.
What made you choose the Android platform as the base for your application?
Actually the choice of platform was there before we thought of the application. Our first idea was to participate with the android challenge – then we thought of the CallACab application. However, the android platform is the best fit for CallACab. What we require from the platform is location-awareness, an extensible maps component (Google Maps), and internet connectivity. Android gives us all that, and as a plus, makes it very easy for us to develop our application. Besides that, access to all required tools was free and easy, something you do not have for most other platforms.
How did you find developing with Android in comparison to other platforms, positive/negative aspects?
The best things about Android are its powerful API and its ready to use components, like Google maps. Plus, you get an open and freely extensible platform where anyone can develop and deploy applications. Google provides good development tools, which enable fast development cycles. These points all contribute to two advantages Android has: First, you can develop powerful applications in a very efficient way. Second, development of apps is attractive and possible for anyone, so you can rely on a large community. Of course there are aspects which need to be improved: The SDK is still work in progress.
The Android API needs to stabilize, and documentation to be completed. And besides that there are no devices yet. This is a crucial point. As soon as there are different devices, Android will need two things: Real interoperability of apps across devices, and devices attractive enough that they gain a significant market share. The openness and power of the platform promise a large potential. But only when the first devices come out, it will be clear if Android can live up to this potential.
Do you have any plans to release CallACab for other devices, for example Apple iPhone?
Currently, we focus on round 2 of the Android Code Challenge. With Android we have the best feature support for our app. Of course, if we are successful on the Android platform, releasing the app for the other major platforms would be a logical step. But we would need to evaluate this first – on other platforms, it is much harder to integrate maps and geocoding functionality, and without this, our application could not unfold its full use.
CallACab is one of the 50 ADC finalists, congratulations on that! Do you have any immediate plans for how you’ll use the funding?
The funding is a good starting point for further development. Besides getting some nice gadget as a personal award we will use the funding for improving the app. For example, we are no graphics experts but we really need some nice icons to improve on polish and appeal. We will see what we need to complete our app for round 2. The funding helps us reaching these goals. Focus is definitely on the application.
How do you plan to distribute/market the CallACab application?
We have not decided on that as we were ourselves overwhelmed by the success. We hope to get in contact with the mobile providers being members of the open handset alliance. It might be possible to preinstall the app or just provide it through a website.
Do you have any other android based applications in the pipeline?
As we said before, we had some other ideas when thinking about the challenge. Some of them have been picked up by other challenge participants of course, but not all of them. We currently focus on CallACab, however. But who knows, we might find some other useful stuff and build it. The focus will allways be: Is there a real use for the application, especially for everyday problems. We don’t want to build useless software.
Thanks to Konrad and Henning from CallACab for taking the time-out to answer our questions. To stay up-to-date on the latest developments from CallACab, be sure to head on over to their official website here: