We just haven't heard an argument yet about what an Android or iPhone app would give us that we don't already have with the website. Admittedly there is a "cool" factor with having an application, but that doesn't seem to be worth the time and expense to develop one to us. We don't write that type of code, so we'd have to hire some outside company to develop it. We'd also need to come up with a 3rd party authentication system--not a small project. Would there be a big advantage to having the Android app?
And sure, if the engine starts with an L it's an inline or straight engine. If it starts with a V, it's a V engine. 99% of cars are either an L4 or V6 in our system, with a few more V8s. If the engine type has an H, it's a hybrid. If you have a Prius you have an H4. All the rest are basically specialty engines that rarely come up, and most should be pre-selected once you select your model.
Creating an app really isn't that hard, nor is the authentication. I understand you may not do that kind of programming, but really it would be as simple as creating a few stored procedures for the database to take the needed parameters. One to log in, one to return your info (cars, etc.), and a web service that other programmers can access, so that they can write apps. I suggest this instead of hiring someone to do it, because there are many mobile app programmers (myself included) out there who will write an app and share it with others. My realm is limited to Windows Mobile when it comes to phones, but others can write apps for Blackberry, iPhone, Android, etc. There is no shortage of people who will write an app like this. Then, if you like, you could choose to showcase the best of them, and either host them here as downloads or provide links to their download sites.
Yes, I understand your point that you have the mobile website, but for me that means opening Opera, which is a far more complex (read takes longer to open) application than one that I would write for my phone to leverage your API. I could create the form to be ready to fill in, as I could have it store login info on the phone if the user chooses, it could send the info, receive a token for the session, all very quickly. I could have the controls large enough to be finger friendly (for touch screens), or smaller for phones without touch. I wouldn't have to wait for a page to load, then login, then wait for another pageload, then scroll to the fields.... you get the idea. Yes, there is some "cool" factor to it, but there is really more to it than just that.
I hear what you're saying, hopmedic. A native app means adding a fuel-up could be a little faster. We can't speed up Opera, but we can play with the design if that's a problem--and that's much easier than designing, documenting, and maintaining an API.
I realize these things are all in the realm of possibility, but we have constraints of time and attention. In a world with unlimited time and budget there are stacks of things we'd love to do with Fuelly. An API is on the list, but that will take a good chunk of time to design, build, and test. Then with every addition comes more responsibility. Suddenly we'd be spending time supporting developers building apps, answering questions, troubleshooting. So the gains need to be fairly significant to push building an API to the top our wish list.
I hear what you're saying about the inefficiency of loading and scrolling, and honestly since we added SMS fuel-ups I use that most of the time. But I'm not sure the tweaks that a native app would make possible are worth the effort.
Significant? I think the advantage for fuelly in having an app in the android marketplace is significantly more exposure.
You have several types of exposure,
#1 people that will roam the marketplace for 'fuel' 'car' 'efficiency' 'mpg' 'history' (you get the picture) applications, you'd be surprised.
#2 People that will see the icon on your homescreen and ask about the app. Ok well yours or mine or anyone's I guess. In the interim my url link has your icon so you still get this benefit.
#3 People that app share or blog regarding Android apps. I share a list of mine weekly with coworkers just to see what's new and interesting.
I was looking for an app that did exactly this when someone mentioned the site and I joined. I'll mention it to others and shoot a link, but an app is just a nice way of having presence.
The m.fuelly page is clean and fast, and seems to load quick on my verizon Droid, nice job.
As has been stated...with an app, the app could database the info and send it up non interactively in the background once the user has hit 'ok' and locks their phone again making it just a little bit faster.
Who cares? well this means I type it in while standing there at the pump in 2 seconds before getting in my car, as opposed to getting in my car, remembering to load the page, enter the data, hope it sends/hope I don't forget, etc. User habits are a huge part of why something like this (I think) would be to your advantage.
I hear what you're saying regarding apps, app stores, developers, and api lifecycles. I can't write to save my life. But if you're looking for more users, think of an Android app as free marketing more than just a convenience / geekdom item.
I had considered making a Fuelly Android app for a class a few months ago, but then I realized, what benefit would it gain? Without an API, the application could merely script the m.fuelly.com site, parse through the html, and so on. Looking at m.fuelly.com, the site is super simple and loads really fast because of how small it is (6kb), so I wonder what benefits could be gained by presenting another interface.
The only usability benefit would be the ability to quickly type in numbers and then the app would later enter them in. There'd also be the benefit of a custom icon and visibility in the app store, of course.
I suppose, if I'm bored enough this summer and enough people really want it, I'd be open to suggestions for how it should look and work and could make a simple one.