Today’s been a very good day. Following several months of work and a number of UI redesigns, I’ve finally signed off RSS Alarm and uploaded it to the Android Marketplace. Given how hard I’ve worked on this project in my spare time and how much time I’ve put into it, it’s both relieving and very satisfying to finally see it up on the marketplace (and already attaining a five star rating!). So here’s a brief rundown and a few thoughts:
What is RSS Alarm?
In short, it’s an alarm clock with the ability to read RSS feeds aloud. In reality it does a few more things on top of that. It can also use any podcasts present on the phone, including podcasts downloaded by Google Reader. It can even use the standard alarm tones if you just fancy using it as a replacement to the built-in alarm clock.
How does it work?
The application works largely thanks to Android’s Text-To-Speech functionality. Text is fed in (parsed from the RSS feeds), which is then read out by the phone in what can only be described as a sexy female version of Stephen Hawking. Android’s built-in TTS engine certainly isn’t Siri, but it’s certainly decent enough.
The feeds themselves are managed directly by RSS Alarm and are automatically refreshed every 15 minutes. I plan to allow users to change this interval in a later version, but for now that should be enough without eating up too much data.
The alarms are pretty much what you’d expect of any alarm clock app. Alarms can be set for any minute of the day, for any day of the week. Alarms can be set as one-offs, or can repeat for certain days of the week.
There’s a few other neat things that RSS Alarm does, without going into too much tedious detail. Firstly is the importing of RSS feeds from your Google Reader account (which can be accessed from Feeds > Menu > Import). Just enter your Google Reader username and password, and RSS Alarm will automatically start importing all of your feeds from Google Reader. Simple.
Then there’s the podcast import. RSS Alarm will automatically scan your storage space for any Podcasts, from both Google Listen and your phone’s /Podcast directory. And if you do use a podcast as your alarm tone and hit the snooze button, RSS Alarm will continue playing the podcast from that point ten minutes later.
Finally, there’s the night clock. A soothing way to glance at the time when you’re trying to sleep, this was one of the best-appreciated features of RSS Alarm amongst our Beta testers. Providing the perfect amount of lighting, this feature allows your phone to sit on your bedside table as a true alarm clock replacement.
Oh, and it’s also available in Traditional and Simplified Chinese thanks to the translation skills of my amazing Fiancé. <3
That entirely depends on how much time my University course eats up. Final year BSc Computer Science is very time consuming! I do have some ideas in mind, particularly customisation features, so if I do get to implement those ideas I’ll post them on this blog. Likewise, any future changes to RSS Alarm will be documented on this blog on release.
As mentioned before, it’s up on the Android Marketplace right now for only 99p/$1.59! Give it a try!
Thanks for reading, and enjoy the app!
v1.0.1 – Minor bugfix. Solved issue where “Language not found” dialog would appear on feed screen, despite the user’s language being supported by the text-to-speech engine.
v1.0.0 – Initial release.