Pickup Sports App Review, Snaptic Dev Winner Peter Ma Interview


App Name: Pickup Sports

Description: Pickup Sports makes sports, fitness, and finding workout partners in your local area (GPS) fun and easy. With this app you can create new sport games and stay healthy in the process.

How it works: This award winning application allows you to create and/or find others in your community, or wherever you are currently at, to play sports and wok out and exercise with by using GPS to find others in need of players or those just doing their own thing.

Opinion: I think that this app is one of those applications that can, should, and will be used by anyone from their early years in playing sports to older citizens still keeping in shape and participating in sports that they still love. This app is simple and it's UI is very friendly, the options are obvious and there are no flashy aspects of it that have no purpose and end up driving you mad trying to maneuver around it. I personally wish that more people in my area would have this app to see if I can find a decent tennis partner for my brother while he stays with me for the summer, or if I can find someone who can teach me how to fence. The latter I'm sure is more difficult to find, but if basketball, tennis, baseball, and other sports that are more popular are more your thing, this app is going to be one of your best friends.

This app is still in beta, but upon using it and playing around with it I can already tell that this app is well worth the award and at being chosen to be sent, along with its dev, Peter, to TED. It would be difficult and unfair to use our standard rating system 5/5 for different categories, but once the app is out of beta, rest assured we'll be in communication again with Peter to give the app a full rundown.


-Not a memory hog like most work out/exercise apps

-Fast and responsive

-Reminds you to stretch and uses accelerometer to keep track of what you do

-Smoothly uses Google Maps and GPS to show location of other users

-Allows users to create their own game however they please and can also request particulars to join based on game rules

-Allows users to find host by description "big guy in blue shirt and white cap" would be an example


-Still in beta

Dev email address: [email protected]


Can you tell us a little about yourself as to who you are and what you do?

I am a full time asp.net/C# developer working for Casting Networks, Inc. I build web application for talents to find auditions in Entertainment Industry. I work on Android, webOS and iPhone apps as a hobby.

How and why did you get into Android?

There are 2 reasons I picked Android. First would be availability, I got my android phone November last month, I was on a Verizon Plan and we didn't have any other smart phone as a choice other than the Droid.  This provided me a real testing device and encouraged me to build apps on it. Second would be the SDK. I am a C# developer, and Java/Android SDK was very easy to learn, I was able to produce a decent app within a short period of time.

What kind of phone do you use?

I use a Motorola Droid.

What do you find easiest and hardest about developing for android?

The easiest part of android would be getting simple user interfaces and simple logic done; there are a lot of resources and examples out there to help you.

The hardest part of android is making sure the applications runs on all phones.  e.g., the camera API would work on one phone but wouldn't work on another, my general UI design for Pickup Sports doesn't show up too good on 1.6 phones with smaller screen.  And certain apps crash on certain phones that developers might not have access to.

What one thing would you change about Android if you could?

If I can, I would strength the hardware requirements that Android operating system should support, this would cut a lot of development time on trying supporting multiple phones. For example, some Droid Incredibles were sold without a SD card, a lot of developers like to cache certain data on the sdcard, this creates a problem for us to try to come out with a solution only for that phone.

How did you hear about the challenge and what made you want to submit your app?

I recieved an email from Snaptic asking me to join their challenge, the topic was to make an application that encourages movement and fight obesity.  At the time my co-workers were planning to go play basketball after work, but 3 out of 5 people bailed out on the last minute, the remaining 2 of us did not even have a ball.  We wanted to play basketball but could not find any pickup games, I made a decision to go home and crank out the application so it would help to spreading information about pickup games, and that was a perfect opportunity for the app challenge.

How does it feel now that you have won the challenge?

I am feeling very excited and tired at the same time, after the competition I was able to make the application on WebOS for more adoption, and I have been working very hard on trying to draw more users to the platform. As the TED trip is getting closer, I am also getting more nervous as well.

What were your thoughts while the challenge was going on? Nervous? Confident?

I was very nervous when they were announcing the winners during the conference, there were some very cool apps with a lot of creativity out there, and some of them spent a lot of time on their graphical user interface which makes the app looks really good. I focused most of my time on fixing the functionality and making sure nothing breaks, so my application wasn't in a "great looking" condition.  But I was pretty confident that I could make it top 5 because this was the only application that promotes social wellness of a person, I was very surprised and excited when they announced that I was the winner.

Are there any plans of entering more challenges/competitions for your apps?

Yes, Snaptic's 2nd round of the challenge is 100 days after the conference to see how all the apps do in the real world, and I am also in Palm's Hot App Challenge, the highest one is Audio Blaster at rank 68 and is guaranteed for $1,000. I will see if there are other opportunities for app challenges, which I'll try my best to compete.

What is your favorite part of the app?

My favorite part of Pickup Sports is that it's very easy to use, it takes no explanation on how to use it; people just "get it". It follows the exact procedure for how real pickup sports works, you can either find a game or you can start a game, this time the information is being spread so you can find games across the city or you can create the game at certain location.  It takes almost no time to register, no time to find a game or creating a game.

What are you plans for TED and what has you the most excited about it?

TED have given me a 3 minute speech at TED University about Pickup Sports, this gives me the excitement to join the ranks of the brightest minds in the world, and encourage me to try my best to give the most important presentation of my life.  But at the same time I am very nervous because of the same reason.  So for the next month or so I'll focus on practicing my presentation, and I'll be looking forward to present it at TED.

Are you designing/developing for android 2.2 yet?

I've looked into the SDK, checked out the functionality, but I haven't started to design/develop for android 2.2 yet. Biggest problem about these higher level API is that I have to make sure I am making my application backward compatible, otherwise I am losing adoption since lots of phones are still running 1.5 and 1.6.  I am definitely interested in some of the functionalities in Android 2.2, such as their improved Camera API, which I have been struggling for a while from my other apps.

What are your thoughts on the Android Market?

I think android market has its pros and its cons, pros is that once I find out my application has a bug or crashes on certain phone, I can make my adjustment very fast and able to upload my application for the fix. The cons are because its not managed, there are always 10 apps being released the moment I release my app, so it literally gives my application no exposure as a "new application" or "updated application".  There are also a lot of junk applications that want to steal people's personal information, I think there should be a flag where when too many users request the application to be reviewed, it goes through the review process, basically the "you are innocent until proven guilty" method.

Any new apps a planned?

Yes, I am currently planning on making an Android application that focuses on a people's reputation as a long term project, and some fun applications in the mean to gain some adoption.

Once again Peter, congratulations and thank you for being a reader of Android Headlines.com and keep us posted on your experiences in Oxford at TED. We're sure you will represent yourself, snaptic, and Android Headlines very well across the pond. And let us know when your app is no longer in beta so that we can give it a good run down and have more fun with it as well. Best wishes and safe traveling from everyone here at Android Headlines.