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Monday, July 26, 2010

Theft Aware - a little bit about history, the present, and... the future

ABOUT ME

Let me introduce myself. My name is Reinhard Holzner, i am maker of Theft Aware which is the #1 anti theft app for mobile smartphones based on the Android and the Symbian operating system. I am 31 years old... ok i am gonna go 32 on 7th of August but that's another story - just send presents to the official address of my company ITAgents interactive software solutions which you'll find on www.itagents.at :-). I am based in Linz, Austria - so i am a native german speaker please forgive me my bad english *smile*.

For starting up this blog i wanted to give you a little bit of background about Theft Aware and about my experiences regarding mobile development up to now.

THE PAST

It happened in early 2004 when i first ran into the problem of phone theft. I still remember, it was when i was sitting in a small restaurant for a cup of coffee, my newly bought Sony Ericsson P900 with me. This was a very expensive phone, i remember at that time i was very proud to own one. OK its out of date today, but at that time...! I went to the toilet and when i came back it was gone. OH NOOO! I was developing mobile games based on J2ME together with a graphics guy at that time so i was already into the mobile stuff - so i was thinking "How can we fix this problem?" and this was the time when the idea came up to develop a mobile app like Theft Aware.

I talked about that idea to friends and collegues and they all said it would be great to have something to track the phone in the event of loss or theft. So i - simply did it. This was the time when, after half a year of development, Theft Aware 1.0 hit the market. It supported S60 and UIQ, both Symbian based, the most widely spread operating system at that time. It was - really basic functionality but it worked. However i had bad luck. Symbian had no platform security at that time so within 3 days the tool was cracked and the sales did not develop very good.

Additionally one month later the first phones with Symbian 3 came out, having lots of platform security built in. As you maybe know Theft Aware, one of its core features is its invisibility. It was always key to me that an anti theft tool has to be invisible, as thiefs finding such software would instantly hard reset the stolen phone. Theft Aware 1.0 already offered that feature, but when platform security came up it did not work anymore because for this i would have needed special security permissions that you could only get from the device manufacturers themselves, which was impossible to do at that time. Competition came up, ignoring any invisibility features, while i could not develop Theft Aware for Symbian 3rd and 5th edition as i did not get the permissions for my beloved invisibility feature.

As a result the project stalled for several years. Until the iPhone came up. Honestly the iPhone did a lot of pressure on Symbian manufacturers and at that point in time, approx. 2 years ago, i finally was able to negotiate the permissions that i needed for my feature. Imagine how happy i was then - now i could really implement my cool software for the newest Symbian phones. Senseless to say that iPhone never came into my mind - such cool features are not possible on that phone as its too restricted to developers all over - also i do not like the proprietary philosophy that Apple maintains constantly (to iPhone users: i am sorry about the bad signal reception, but maybe it will help to hold the phone in a different way? :-). However in Nov 2009, after another year of development i was able to release the 1.5 version.

And one month later, also the Android version was finished. It was not easy to do because there was no way to hide the app from the installer which was possible on Symbian because of the permissions i got. Luckily i had another idea - to rename the app to a customer specified name during the setup phase. Hurray! :-)

TODAY

Which brings me to the present. Theft Aware 1.5 is out in the market now for some time and i got a good user base. There is fans who help me design graphics, set up blogs and help me with beta testing new releases.

Honestly, the 1.5 version is very good but very basic as well. It does its job but it is in no way as advanced as i imagined an anti theft app in the first instance, back in 2004.

So while selling against strong competition which ignores user demand, i continued to work on the upcoming 2.0 version, together with lots of beta testers i am building the ultimate anti theft app - since half a year.

All my friends support me in my efforts. My best friend Werner is helping with online presence. Another friend of mine, Karl, is investing into my company and we will join our forces this week to found a new company on limited basis to better enable the idea to grow in the future. And we have lots of valuable customers who love our product and spread the idea.

THE FUTURE

Theft Aware 2.0 will come up in August - this will be a major release, taking the product one step further to make it the perfect anti theft tool for everyone. Lots of technological enhancements, complete UI rework, tons of new features hopefully will make even more customers even more happy. We are already planning version 2.5 which will then complete the project, containing several enhancements that did not make it into 2.0 but which will be important for even more widespread usage of the tool. And as a promise: we will not be afraid of competition, we will not copy other vendors, we will continue to implement my innovations from 2004 and those that came up over time. And we WILL make the PERFECT anti theft tool - no matter what happens. :-)

Also at ITAgents we are planning completely new software. Stuff that will make our lives easier, more secure and making our mobile phone experience even more fascinating than before.

I hope that i will be honoured to have you as a customer or beta tester soon, just visit us at www.theftaware.com to learn more!

Oh my god... i have to continue implementing cool stuff... i hope you forgive me if i stop dropping my thoughts now - i'll come back later here to continue my blogging and maybe tell you a bit more about technology or some ideas on tips & tricks about Theft Aware...

with best regards from Austria,
yours,
Reinhard

Monday, July 19, 2010

Welcome to the Theft Aware Blog

Welcome to the official blog of www.theftaware.com.

Here you will find everything new about Theft Aware or other interesting
stuff. Do you want to join as a blogger? Just drop an email to reinhard (at) itagents (dot) at and maybe you can get started soon!