We released a new version of our Android Live Storm Chasing app. The main feature of this new version is push notifications via Google Cloud Messaging, this brings a really great feature to Android that was previously only available in iOS. It means you will get push notifications of active storm chases as well as notifications for extraordinary events, such as an active tornado on a stream. This update also includes several key fixes and some very minor improvements.
Streams will still go down because of wireless network conditions in the field so please keep this in mind. When this happens you just switch to a different chaser and wait until the one you want to watch comes back online.
However some users are experiencing issues with the third party media player we are using. We are using this media player because the native media player in Android didn’t fully support HLS (HTTP Live Streaming) until version 4.0 and up, which allowed us to bring the app to older versions of Android. However this has caused issues in video playback, in particular native crashes that represent bugs in the third party player we are using. In the next update we may retire this media player and use only the Android media player available in the SDK, meaning the app will only be available to Android 4.0 and later.
It is unfortunate that the Android ecosystem is so fragmented, with most users not on the latest version of Android but we feel it would be better to target up to 15% less of the Android user base rather than all of our users have to put up with the stability issues of the third party player. We hope that eventually these 15% will move to new devices and this will not be an issue, until then they should be able to run the older version of the app without any problems.
Until the next release we hope you enjoy this new update. The push notifications should be very useful now that storm season is winding down and chasing becomes more sporadic.