Introducing Train Mic: in app & widget

Discover the power of your voice.. try a search with the new Train Mic in Indian Train Status for Android!

Today the Indian Train Status app for Android expands and simplifies train voice search with: the Train Mic.

Meet the Train Mic

Train Mic can be found in two locations:

  • In the app:

  • And a new widget:

Tap on either to start voice input:

The first time, some examples of what you can say are shown:

As shown here, you can search trains between two stations, by name and by number.

Try a search with the Train Mic… discover the power of your voice!

Get it on Google Play

Voice search for trains

Quick and convenient, voice search for trains is now available in Indian Train Status for Android!

“Ok Google, search Indian Train Status for trains from Chennai to Bengaluru”.

It’s quick and convenient.

You don’t even have to launch the app!

Just activate voice command mode on your Android phone by saying ‘Ok Google’ if enabled, or by tapping on the ‘Google mic’ / Google Assistant.

Then say ‘search Indian Train Status for…’

and you can search trains between two stations, trains by name or by number.

Here are some examples:

  • Search Indian Train Status for trains from Chennai to Bengaluru
  • Search Indian Train Status for trains between Chennai and Mumbai
  • Search Indian Train Status for Mumbai Express
  • Search Indian Train Status for 16347


To get this feature right now, please update the Indian Train Status app for Android from:

https://indiantrainstatus.com/install

ITS @ 10M!

Indian Train Status app for Android crosses 10 million downloads

Today the Indian Train Status app has crossed 10 million downloads, making it the most downloaded train enquiry app in India. 

Thanks to all who have downloaded, used and given valuable feedback for the app, without which this wouldn’t have been possible. Have great day!

App Shortcuts for Indian Train Status in Android 7.1

App Shortcuts are a cool new feature in Android Nougat 7.1 – checkout screenshots from Indian Train Status and some details of this feature.

The slow and low adoption of new versions of Android is indeed a pity, because each version brings refinements and enhancements to the platform.  One such feature introduced in Android Nougat 7.1 is ‘App Shortcuts’. Long pressing icon of a supported app in launcher pops a menu of actions, which lead directly to a specific task.  Rather similar to “quick actions” in iOS – but in iOS it is only for devices with ‘3D touch’ (pressure sensitive screens).

The Nougat implementation is simpler and has an additional cool feature: a shortcut can be picked up from the menu and placed independently on the home screen.  Implementing app shortcuts is easy, but given the very low adoption of Nougat, in reality only users with the latest Pixel or Nexus phones are likely to experience this feature in the near future.

Below are a couple of screenshots from development version of Indian Train Status app, showing both the long-press menu, and the shortcuts picked and placed on the home screen:

App srtct 1

App srtct 2

Featured in Admob Success Stories

Story of Indian Train Status featured in “App Success Stories and Case Studies” by Google Admob

The story of Indian Train Status app has been featured among “App Success stories” by Google Admob, at https://www.google.com/admob/success.html

The file may also be viewed and downloaded here: Case Study (PDF)

 

Get it on Google Play

Try out the “Day” theme in Indian Train Status!

Indian Train Status for Android has a ‘Day’ theme – you should try it out

The Indian Train Status (Android) app has a “Day” theme, available in the settings. Recently, analytics was added to the app which showed this theme is being used quite rarely. The images below show how you can try out the “Day” theme:

 

Get it on Google Play

The Story of Indian Train Status or how a tiny app rose to 5 million downloads on Google Play

As the Indian Train Status app hits 5 million downloads, I look back on how it all started and try to summarize the lessons I’ve learnt along the way.

Indian Train Status app on Google PlayThis is the story of an app.  It is also, in part, my story.  I am a medical doctor, qualified in Neurology.  I am also a software hobbyist – a hobby which started in the days when programming was taught in schools, unlike nowadays, when the focus in schools is on how to become proficient in the use various kinds of software – going “under the hood” is more or less discouraged.

Coming to the app, it all started when I came across the site trainenquiry.com that provides live running train status.  This was in 2010-11, and also happened to be a time I was returning to programming after a gap of several years, inspired by the rise of platforms like Android and Facebook that made programming “cool” again.  The site was very useful during train journeys, to answer the question – “Is my train running late?”. But it was not optimised for mobile phones and was really difficult to load while riding in the train. However, I soon realised that by simply adding the train number and date of  journey after the website address – to what it technically know as the query string – the initial pages can be skipped, and the result loaded directly.

Then, as I read about the rise of Android as a mobile platform and “apps”, I thought this would make a pretty useful app!  So I bought an Android phone, picked up a book on Android and started working on the dream.  After a few weeks of learning and experimentation, the app was ready, and guess what – it worked fine!  At that time, there were already several other Indian rail apps, but none of them were focused on live train status, which was the key difference and highlight in this one.  It was surprising to see the response after releasing it on the Google Play Store, and frankly, very satisfying.  (Not many things can probably match the satisfaction when an idea that you believe to be good, work on, release to the world and one day gets confirmed that it indeed was good!  This has made me bolder to bring out more ideas as apps, ideas which would have otherwise never seen the light of day.)

Over three years the app rose to 1 million downloads, and now it has reached 5 million. Perhaps more importantly, it gets used around half a million times each day. It however, still remains tiny in size compared to most apps  (390kb at the time of writing).  The interface is simple and functional. Bookmarks, quick marks, widgets and offline caches were added over time, with the idea of making the experience brisk and pain-free.  Care was taken at each update to not bloat the app while adding new functionality. Sometimes, when the additional feature was a major one, like a station alarm, I split it into a new app instead.  I also use the app myself regularly while travelling and try to think as a user while making modifications.  User feedback has also played a big role in this regard – and I am extremely grateful to all the users who have given their valuable inputs. I must also thank my family for the constant support and standing by me through the hours of coding and testing.

Now, at the end of 2015, the app is 4 years old.  The segment is crowded with many other similar apps, but probably by a combination of being the first to be focused on ‘live train status’, keeping the app lean, smooth and functional over the years, it has risen to its current position near the top of the category.  Whatever the future holds, I will strive to hold app true to these principles.

Lessons?

The most important one I’ve learnt is not to be afraid to bring out one’s ideas, particularly those that strike the self as really good. In today’s connected world there is, beyond any doubt, a fair chance of getting picked up by a massive audience. Android apps on the Google Play Store are a prime example: the tools are free and the entire platform is open to anyone, from an individual hobbyist to a massive multinational corporation!

Thinking always as a user, and sticking to a set of core principles that have proven to be successful could be additional takeaways for aspiring developers.

Oh, and schools, they should probably start teaching students more programming instead of just training them to be good ‘users’.  I am happy to note that, around the world, there seems to be a recent trend encouraging this, like the introduction of the cheap and easily programmable Raspberry Pi computer in schools.

 

Get it on Google Play

Announcing the Train Status Beta Testers Google+ Community

Join the Indian Train Status Beta Tester Google+ community and check out latest development features:

A beta tester community has been created for Indian Train Status (Android & iOS).  Join the community & check out latest development features:

https://plus.google.com/u/1/communities/110626927754743610753

And after joining the community, to opt – in for Android beta testing, visit:

https://play.google.com/apps/testing/com.sasyabook.runningtrainstatus

For iOS, it is  by email invitation, so just send in your email and you will be invited for ‘TestFlight’ beta testing.