aTrackDog first gained popularity on the Android platform when it enabled a feature the Android Market was sorely missing: the ability to easily track apps and see when they were updated. At the time it was launched many considered it a must-have app, even thought it was attacked by some sites as “flawed and deceiving“. After Google caught up and added this feature, many are asking, “Is aTrackDog obsolete?”
The answer is quite simple; No. aTrackDog continues to be a must-have app because it contains features not found in the Android Market and has great potential for the Android community. For those of you not familiar with the app, it works similar to the Android Market. A list is created of all your installed apps and then sent to a server where all the versions are checked against other users.
Some of the extra features available to users of the app are:
- Skip tracking of specific apps. I have actually uninstalled other apps because I got annoyed with the alerts I kept receiving from the market. That is no longer a problem with this app.
- Ability to track non-market apps. If you have any 3rd party apps installed on your Android device, you can still track newer versions.
- Uninstall and App Info shortcuts. From inside the app you can easily see how much space an app is taking up and delete it with a single tap. Also availalbe is a link to the Application Info page where you can managed the app settings.
- Scan on demand. There is no way to control when the Android Market updater runs but with aTrackDog you can perform a scan at any time.
There is also a companion website that allows the information collected to be viewed in the way you determine. You can view stats collected in daily, weekly, monthly, or all time format. This allows you to identify trends with app usage and see if a hot new app is climbing the ranks. This past week I requested the developer to filter the paid apps and he quickly added the feature. Now you can view the most purchased games as recent as today instead of being limited to all time. The New and Updated list will allow you to see when new versions are released for any app. Android Market only allows you to see updates for installed apps.
Of course this information becomes more useful, with the more people that use the app and are sending in updates. Hopefully, they will soon include a scheduler to allow scans at a predetermined time from the user. I see many potention uses for the market data if aTrackDog chooses to take advantage of them. They could allow the user to provide limited personal information such as gender or age which would provide even more data to analyze. All data sent to Google is not available for us to manipulate, but aTrackDog could provide some very interesting data for analysis. This would benefit both the developers and the customers who use their apps.
If you have never tried aTrackDog, download it from the Android Market. If you have stopped using aTrackDog, send in a scan. If you are currently using aTrackDog, send your suggestions to the developer and encourage others to use the app.