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Apple rejects a long existing feature in the RunPee app

Bad news: Apple has rejected my update to the RunPee app, so the fix for the Timer notifications–that broke because of a change Apple made–won’t be available for about another week.

On top of that Apple is forcing me to remove access to the IMDb movie information available in the app–that has been a feature in the app for over 3 years. Why do I have to remove this feature? Because IMDb.comrecognizes that you are viewing their website in a mobile browser and so they provide download buttons for the iOS IMDb.com app and for the Android IMDb app. Apple, in their infinite inferiority, does not want their users to know that Android exists.

Apple is infuriating. There’s no way for me to punish them without punishing my users, but let me put it this way, if I won the lottery I would disable the RunPee app for iOS forever, and only allow it to run on Android phones.

FYI, obviously the IMDb integration won’t be affected on the Android app.

RunPee.com : coming soon to a phone near you

By far the most requested feature I get is, “When will there be a RunPee app for my ???? phone?” Currently there are only apps for iPhone and Android phones. There is also m.RunPee.com which is a very simple HTML version of the website that should work on practically any mobile browser. It costs $1/year to get access to movies that have been out for less than 31 days. Everything else is free.

But that’s going to change soon. As you know the RunPee.com website is done in Flash. ( To be precise it’s done with the Flex framework 4.0 beta 2 and Flash Builder beta 2.) The reason it’s done in Flash is that I’m a Flash developer and that’s what I do. There are no plans to ever make RunPee.com an HTML based website.

The good news is that Flash is coming to your mobile phone. Yes, you Blackberry, Palm Pre, Nokia, etc. users will soon have phones that will display Flash content. That’s because Adobe is working very hard to make the next version of the Flash Player work across devices. Currently the Flash Player uses up too many resources for a mobile phone to handle. But the new player will be optimized for mobile phones. My understanding is that when the player is ready – sometime in the first half of 2010 – then it will be pushed out to existing phones. For some I’m sure you will have to download it. Others will just magically have the Flash player.

That will help a great deal but the current RunPee.com website still wouldn’t work very well on a mobile phone. That’s because the app is far too wide to fit on a mobile phone screen. But I promise not to leave you hanging. I’m going to make a version of the app that will fit nicely on smaller screens. When you visit RunPee.com the app will check to see what your screen size is and then display the appropriate layout.

The mobile version of the site will have all the features that you would expect of a mobile app. It will store data locally in case you need to use the app in a theater without reception – provided you viewed the Peetimes before losing reception. It will also have a Timer and will vibrate your phone before each Peetime – provided your phone supports that functionality.

The big question will be about the price. Initially it will be free and I hope to keep it that way if the advertising makes enough money. If not then I will probably use something similar to the m.RunPee.com model and charge people $1/year to access movies that have been out for less than 31 days.

I’m on the list at Adobe to get access to all of the beta-bits necessary to create the mobile version before it’s released to the public. I’m certain that I will have the mobile version of RunPee ready the day the updated Flash Player is released to the public. Hopefully in time for the summer blockbusters.

m.RunPee.com info

If you have registered for the mobile version of RunPee then the code will try to add a cookie so that you don’t have to login every time you visit. However, a lot of mobile browsers don’t work well with cookies. So I’m really sorry if you get prompted to login every time you visit the home screen. I’ll keep looking for ways to save the data that might work on more mobile phones out there. That’s why mobile phone development is so hard: because there are so many different browsers to work around.

The RunPee app for BlackBerry phones will probably not be done this year – if ever. It turns out that it is very expensive to create apps for BlackBerry and one app won’t work on all of the phones. Which really seems pretty stupid to me. At least you have m.RunPee.com now.

The significant difference between m.RunPee.com and the iPhone app – or any other RunPee app – is that the website can’t vibrate your phone right before a PeeTime is about to start and can’t do local storage. Both of those features will be part of every app – and part of the update to the current iPhone app which will be ready as soon as Apple gets their head out of their ass.

I’m totally new to building websites for mobile phones. In fact I haven’t written that much HTML in years. If you have any suggestions I’d love to hear them.

iPhone RunPee App Reviews – we’re brilliant!

Tom Gromak of the Detroit News got his hands on our new iPhone RunPee download from iTunes. He neatly sums up why the the RunPee mobile app 1.0 version is so useful for cinematic movie-goers:

Tom Gromak of detroit news“…I feared that using the site to plan ahead would allow me to see spoilers that might ruin the experience. Worse, I worried that firing up the site on my iPhone’s Safari browser in the theater would raise the blood pressure of those sitting around me.

“But the iPhone app is well-thought. Its yellow and off-white text on a black background isn’t likely to get you tossed (or to get popcorn tossed at you). Like the website, you browse for the movie you’re seeing, and you’re presented with a series of times (displayed in terms of minutes into the movie) and cues (usually a line delivered by an actor) telling you when it’s safe to run and for how long. The app includes a timer for tracking your progress into the film. A planned update not yet implemented can even alert you by vibrating the phone as each potential bathroom break approaches.

He also calls the RunPee website and the entire idea “brilliant”…we like hearing that. And being called genius. It just never gets old. I mean, have you SEEN our In the News page? Yegads; in a good way. And keep those suggestions coming to improve the app for version 2.0 (all updates are free to you, of course).

Get your own RunPee app for only 99 cents! (links to iTunes RunPee page)