Friday, September 3, 2010

It's release time

I have been working on KeitaiMail on and off since I had bought my first Android smart phone. I never intended to release it or even try to make money with it. I merely wanted to enable myself to send and receive emoji, making communication with Japanese cell phones easier and more effective. I took the lack of such application as an incentive to get into Android development. Having worked on this for some time I now believe KeitaiMail can really fill a feature gap, albeit a gap that affects only a small niche of Android users.

Today I finally released the paid version. It still is in a somewhat experimental state since I was unable to find many testers. Keep that in mind when you buy the app. Consider the payment a donation for continued development. As soon as my Google AdSense registration is finalized I will release an advertisement-supported "Lite" version with most of the features found in the paid one. If that takes longer than expected I might release a sandbox "Lite" version that only works offline until the real "Lite" version can be released.

This is what the inbox looks like. KeitaiMail only receives email that either has been sent via KeitaiMail itself (on your own or a different phone) or from a Japanese cell phone email address (looking like etc.). Likewise you can only use KeitaiMail to send email to those compatible groups. That's not entirely correct. You can send emails to any address. They will just not be able to view emoji contained in them without KeitaiMail. Currently KeitaiMail is not meant to replace your default Android mail clients since it does not support notifications, automatic fetching and many other features commonly found in "proper" email apps like Gmail, Email or K-9 Mail. Maybe in a future release...

Since I am not legally allowed to package the original emoji of DoCoMo, au by KDDI and SoftBank with my application I use an icon set provided by Six Apart Ltd. that I have additionally modified. I plan on continuing the extension of this icon/emoji set in order to provide a nearly complete fallback emoji set. The full version allows for importation of custom emoji sets. I will go into this in more detail in a future post. By assembling the correct icons and importing them you can have all the major icon sets in their original on your single device and use them simultaneously unlike on "real" Japanese cell phones (keitai-denwa 携帯電話). Speaking of which... I am currently working on a Japanese translation. There already is some Japanese to be found in the current app, that is: in the emoji descriptions.

KeitaiMail on Android Market

If you are living in a country that has no access to paid apps on the Android Market please contact me and we can try to find a way to deliver the app to you. In general, please do not shy away from contacting me on questions, bugs or feature requests. You can do so either in the comments to my posts or via email to