Coffee isn't my most favourite thing in the world. No, that's reserved for writing articles for Android Headlines (can I have my tenner now, ed?), but it's true that I spend quite a bit of time in local coffee shops (usually writing for Android Headlines). My favourite coffee chain is indeed Starbucks for a few reasons, one being customer services and another being how good their application and loyalty scheme works for me. I'm pleased to write that Starbucks have updated their Android application on the Google Play Store with a few new features. These include the shake-to-pay feature, which iPhone users have enjoyed for some time now. Now I need to write that I am not completely overwhelmed by the ability to shake my device whilst running the Starbucks application and that's because Starbucks have improved the widget, which now looks better if you use a dark background.
One of the biggest improvements to the application is that it now shows how many rewards you have earned and how close you are to your next reward. As you can see from the screenshot here, the bigger widget shows that I have only just achieved another reward so I only have another fourteen to go before my next free drink. The great feature of the widget is the "I need coffee now!" button on the right hand side, which determines where you are and finds your closest Starbucks shops. Here, you can see a lot of information about the store(s) you are looking at, including the location, facilities, opening hours. You can show local stores on the map or by a list order. There have been some other improvements to the application, too. First, the interface has been nicely refreshed and looks closer to Google's style guidelines. I've noticed that it takes less time to launch the barcode image and on a high resolution handset - a 1080p device or higher - the bar code is larger, which means it takes a little less time to be recognised by the till point. As Android Headlines pointed out you can also digitally tip your coffee maker, which is a great feature for those of us who don't tend to carry cash.
Regardless of how you feel about Starbucks' coffee, the business has traditionally been close with Apple (that's why you get free iTunes stuff as you wait) and the Android application has usually lagged the iOS application. It's a subject I often talk about over a coffee or four in the afternoon. But in recent months, application updates have improved the situation so hopefully going forward, there will be less of a divide.