Posted on by & filed under android, Mobile Development, Native apps, Product Updates & Tips, Safari, Safari Queue.

high res iconBig news! The preview beta build of Safari Queue for Android is now publicly available. All members of the Queue Google+ group are invited to install the app and give it a try! Details below.

Before you skip the rest of this post please understand that:

  • We’ve balanced our desire not to release something that is unfinished against the clear community need for the app. We decided to take advantage of the wide beta release capabilities of Android (versus the more closed process in iOS) and to make the beta widely available at an earlier stage.
  • The app (as of today) is far from being a release candidate (see notes below). It’s stable, but very limited in functionality.
  • We do rigorous QA during our software development, but beta software, by definition, is a work-in-progress: it’s incomplete and buggy. The app may corrupt or delete your Safari Queue data, or it may stop working altogether. While we’re pretty confident that this won’t happen—we’ve been using it internally for a few weeks—we want to put that disclaimer out there.
  • Android is a big, fragmented market. We’re trying to make this available as widely as possible, but we are starting with the biggest constituencies.
  • Above all: we’re relying on you, the community, to make this work. If you join at this stage, please respect that the beta is not a release candidate, and that while we want your unvarnished feedback, we’d rather keep that feedback to this Google Group. Please treat all members of the community, including Safari, with the respect you’d want to see applied to your own projects.

Tern screenshots - 1How beta is beta?

  • This first beta build is (deliberately) fairly limited in its functionality. You can log in, see a list of your queued items, and download individual books for offline reading.
  • There is no limit to the number of books you can download for offline (assuming you have disk space).
  • Video is not supported in this preview build, but we’re working on it now. Videos will be part of a beta build in the near future.
  • The same goes for highlighting and other features. You may find non-functional placeholders for those, though.
  • The best place to post all feedback (positive and negative) is in the G+ group. We’re listening and we’ll do our best to respond to your comments.

What is good feedback?

While we want your general opinions, there are also a few things that we’d like to hear about specifically:

  • Does your queue load in what you consider to be a reasonable time?
  • Are you able to download books? Do any books fail for any reason?
  • Are you surprised or concerned by how long it takes to download a book?
  • Offline: Once a book is downloaded, are you able to switch between on and offline and still open and navigate within that book?
  • Story controls: In the reading interface, you’ll see buttons for navigating the contents, switching to night mode, and changing font size. Please comment on your experience with these features.

Known Issues

  • Especially large queues will take a few seconds to load. Please be patient
  • No support for video in this initial release
  • Some buttons in the menu are not yet implemented (“Newly Added to Safari,” for example)
  • The download indicator does not yet have a progress bar
  • Book text is not styled well
  • The navigation buttons in the reading interface often show the wrong chapter number (but do work as “next” and “previous” navigation devices)
  • There is currently no way to sign out of the app

When will the final version appear in the store?

  • The best answer we have is, “When we’re happy with it.” We have an excellent team working on this full-time, and you’ll see lots of updates on a regular basis. But given what we have today and what we think needs to get done for a release candidate, it looks like (a few) months, not weeks away.

OK, so how do I get it?

In order to download the [early preview release full of known issues] app, you will need to join our Google + Community. Details of how to find the app are available for members of the community only. This helps us to keep feedback in one place, and to try to let everyone see what’s happening with development without repeating ourselves.


Tags: android, be gentle, beta software, safari queue,

2 Responses to “Safari Queue for Android – preview beta opens”

  1. Mark Wales

    Will the finished Android app support Android based e-readers like the Onyx M96 (Android 4 based)?

  2. Ted

    The G+ community linked is private, how do I get an invite to join the app beta?