Pictomaphone is #1

The update to version 1.4 of Pictomaphone went out Friday and I presume most users have updated by now. For this version, I switched from a completely free app – to a paid one with an unlimited free trial mode.

It hit the list of paid photo apps yesterday and landed at the TOP! Wow. It is also 7th in the list of all paid apps on the phone. Everything above it is games (Angry Birds is at the top of the overall list).

All I can say is, I’m amazed. I know it is a good app, but to sit at the top… I’m almost speechless, but I’m not celebrating yet. Who knows how long it will stay there.

Which is way, I’m thinking hard about what to do with the app next. I have a list in mind of things I need to do, but what else is there?

Things I need to get done:

1) Figure out the fastest / best looking blur possible. A true Gaussian blur is too slow and a box blur is too ugly. I put in a compromise in 1.3 that looks alright, but is still too slow (30 seconds to apply sometimes). Way too slow. Blur is important for effects that I want to add (and have been asked for), like Tilt Shift and Simulated Depth of Field.

2) Red Eye Reduction. I’ve played around with this before, but while my algorithm fixed red eyes beautifully, it also caught a lot of unintended parts of the photo. Now the question is, can I write a fast enough face detection algorithm to handle eye detection automatically, or do I need to have the user select where the eyes are.

At this point, I should point out that both of these could be done fast and simply in a Pixel Shader… but Microsoft won’t let us write custom shaders for the phone. I hope they change this in Windows 8 Metro apps and later in Windows Phone 8.

3) I also need to write my own photo browser control. The built in Photo Chooser task is alright, but it doesn’t give back the file names – or where the picture was opened from. Also, it is locked to the one layout and I, for one, would like a list view with file names, dates and sorting. A side-effect of writing my own photo browser is it opens up the possibility of letting users browse photos online.

4) Sharing. I wish there was a way to tie into the phone’s sharing mechanism, but I haven’t found one. I don’t like the fact that people have to save the photo to the phone, then exit the app and go to the built in app to share. Time to figure out which platforms to support – Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, and whatever else kids are using these days.

5) I also want to add some automatic modes to the adjustments. I’m still not sure how to go about this in a way that will perform well, but I want items like Levels and Color Balance to be able to figure out a best guess at the best looking settings. It’ll give users a good place to start from. Whatever I do, it needs to allow the user to adjust the results – so it really is just a starting place.

So, that’s quite a bit of work I’ve got planned. Hopefully it is enough to keep users happy. There is always the feedback forum too, which I keep an eye on. I want to get, at the least, one of the top requested features into each release.

Once again, thank you everyone for downloading my app! You keep enjoying it and I’ll keep adding features :)