21
Nov
h

FlightTrack is not a newcomer to Android, but this particular version of the app is. FlightTrack 5 is a totally redesigned experience that's being released in time to celebrate the developer's fifth anniversary. You can join in on the festivities by taking advantage of the introductory sale price for FlightTrack 5.

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This app is designed to help you survive the horror of air travel. FlightTrack 5 does pretty much what the name says – it tracks flights and offers real time alerts whenever anything changes. You can also add multiple travelers who are on different flights, and keep tabs on who is departing and arriving at what time. The map view will show you live flight path data when available, and will overlay weather information. FlightTrack 5 is compatible with 3,000 airports and 1,400 airlines worldwide.

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The Android version of the app includes a few nifty extras including sharing trips via NFC, a Dashclock extension, homescreen widget, and a live wallpaper. The app's design also looks pretty nice. You can pick up FlighTrack 5 for $2.99 before the end of the month. After that is goes up to $4.99.

[PR]

Ryan Whitwam
Ryan is a tech/science writer, skeptic, lover of all things electronic, and Android fan. In his spare time he reads golden-age sci-fi and sleeps, but rarely at the same time. His wife tolerates him as few would.

  • Roger

    I'm guessing this means the original app that I paid for is now going to be forgotten. That kind of stinks.

    • rickbynight

      I contacted support and they assured me that the app will continue to work into the future. I think this means that they might push a bug release here and there if anything breaks, but no new features as far as I can tell. It's only $3 though, so I might just take the plunge.

  • Matt

    Oh man, I have to buy it again? I already bought it on both iOS *and* Android. Then again, this does seem like a pretty big upgrade, so the developer's time is worth $2.99 for me.

  • Sebastian
  • bunnybash

    Yeah abandoning the previous version isn't very encouraging for me to buy this version. Very strange tactic from the developer.

    • Roger

      And if I recall they just pushed an update to the previous version a week ago. Now it's nowhere to be found in the Play Store, even under My Apps.

      • tehone

        Yeah, I wouldn't be surprised if the only updates they made to the older, no-longer on Play Store version, was something that will soon break it or cripple it... so that it forces more folks to (RE-!)purchase the new app.

        Some pretty shady stuff going on here, IMO.

      • rickbynight

        It is under My Apps, actually. I just re-downloaded it.

        • Roger

          Are you referring to All under My Apps? I didn't look there because the app was already installed on my device. I found it odd that it didn't show up under the Installed list of My Apps even though it was installed.

          • rickbynight

            Weird. That sounds like a Play Store thing then?

  • tai yeung

    The old app literally disappeared from the Play Store, and here I am actually trying to install the app this morning. I guess I know what happened now. If they are actually taking the old one off Play Store, and forcing people to pay for the new one, I'll go and look for a different app to use.

    • bunnybash

      Yeah if I reflash a rom I now can't reinstall the app from the play store! Mobiata are def showing us how to lose customers and piss people off.

      • Roger

        Not the best solution but if you use Helium or TiB you should be able to save a full backup of the app to restore on a future ROM or after a wipe.

    • hldc1

      Agreed. I think I've now paid for two different versions, and that doesn't even include the Pro version on top of the paid app, which is still all kinds of mind-boggling to me.

      Mobiata can kiss my tuchas.

    • Tomaquet

      Is this a view of things to come where when a developer needs more cash, they simply add a small bit of functionality (of which most is just fluff), and claim it’s a new app whilst discontinuing the old version. Disgraceful. I certainly won’t be “rebuying”.

      • drathos

        Actually, there's a loss of features like TripIt sync with this new version.

      • makapav

        Actually, in this version, they removed the TripIT integration function so it's a downgrade in a sense.

  • Peacen1k

    Does it work with the current version of FlightTrack Pro? Does it get data from TripIt?

    • Matt

      Based on the comments in the Play Store, not yet.

      Here's Mobiata's response to a customer asking about it:
      "We want you to know that we're trying to work out something with TripIt and are exploring lots of options. Itinerary-syncing is a critical feature, and we do plan to provide this feature! If you want to, it might help to let the folks at TripIt know that you want to see it in FlightTrack 5. :)"

      • Peacen1k

        Thank you for the info!

      • makapav

        Well they already had worked out the sync in the previous version (although it had become pretty unreliable over the last 8 months) so what's the need to 're-work' it?

        • Matt

          I dunno; possibly they're attempting to use new APIs or work more closely with GCM than the previous version? To my knowledge, the old FlightTrack version used periodic checks instead of push.

        • rickbynight

          The word I got is that it's related to the cheaper price. The old flight track with trip it was $10, this one's $5 (or $3 now).

  • Mark Ryan

    Thank you Google Opinion Rewards for buying this app for me. Already added some trips to it, def has some nice graphics and UI. Only thing so far that bothered me is when I added a flight to a trip I put the wrong flight # with it, I wasn't able to delete/edit that individual flight. I had to delete the whole trip and start over. Impressed so far.

  • Michael Bargerhuff

    How on earth does a Premium Flight Tracking app charge $$$ if it isn't capable of importing from TripIt - don't care if they promise to add it soon; it doesn't do it now... App is useless without it unless they develop their very own solution.

  • h4rr4r

    What would a good alternative be?
    I am not buying this app yet again. I already paid for it twice. Once before, then for the Pro version.

    • rickbynight

      Seems like the good alternative is to just keep using the app you have and will continue to work... Are you planning on buying another app out of spite?

      • h4rr4r

        Because they pulled it from the market. That means I have to use some backup software and hope it works next time I flash a ROM. Depending on how they do their Pro license check it might fall when a new device ID is generated.

  • nctrnl

    I found the old app by going to the companion app, FlightBoard and going to the "Similar Apps" section on the website: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.mobiata.flighttrack

    It says the old app was updated today, but it is BS that we have to pay for it again...

    • Michael Vieux

      Thanks. Had removed the old version after I stopped traviling, just re-downloaded the old version for a backup

  • Stikman72

    Yep... Just bought the Pro version 2 days ago and after an email to their support desk they tell me I have to re-purchase this new version, of which I will not be.

    • foghorn67

      That's horrible. I wish we can can put publishers/developers on the play store to "ignore" so I don't loose track of the douche devs out there.

      • rickbynight

        I mean, I'm with you, but it's $3. If this is the epitome of "douche" then I don't know where to rank upgrading Microsoft Office.

    • tai yeung

      If you want, you can still request a refund through Play Store, just got to my order, then select to contact Google and request for a refund.

      They can at least just keep the old app in the Play Store, so people who already paid for the old one can still use it.

  • MK

    Think AP should do a piece on this new unethical trend (first it was tapatalk now mobiata) where developers expect paid users to rebuy the app to get an newer version ....I will not support businesses such as these!

    • Matt

      Is it really unethical, though? It's new to the mobile world but developers have been releasing new versions of stuff and requiring more payment for updates, in the desktop and console space for ages (Adobe properties, Microsoft Office, antivirus programs, backup software, media players, etc.).

      Basically anything you've paid for on a PC or Mac (apart from games) has required additional payment for a wholly new version. It takes time for developers to design a new version from the bottom up and, if they just gave the update away for free, it might not make them any money or even pay for the man hours spent programming.

      Sure, it's annoying on mobile because it's never really happened before, but then again there are tons of apps that stagnate after a while because they taper off in terms of accruing new users and developers just release bugfixes. I'd prefer that a developer releases a wholly new paid version and lets me decide whether to purchase the updated version rather than stop developing the app altogether.

      That said, removing the previous version from the Play Store completely is a dick move.

      • MK

        IMO it is unethical as customers paid for the original flight track app then paid again for the pro app and now that FT5 has been announced they pulled the original from the play store, hence you cant reinstall it if you reset/flash your phone or get a new phone.
        I understand your point of view that developers need to make money - but you don't do it by pulling a bait and switch and then expect your pro [loyal] customers to pay a third time for the app. At this rate chances are they will expect FT5 users to buy the app again when it hits FT6.
        IMHO at the very least they should have offered a compromise by making it a free upgrade for your pro customers or at the very least offered your pro customers an upgrade at a discounted fee.

        • Matt

          Yeah, but the discounted rates thing for different users doesn't really work on the Play Store in its current iteration. I think the $2.99 fee until the end of November is their way of offering a discount rate for previous users (after which it will go up to $4.99). I definitely think they should have kept the old version on the Play Store for the time being, but I see don't see how this is a "bait-and-switch." It's dropped support for an older version (which sucks), but not really bait-and-switch.

          • rickbynight

            Like I said above, i don't think they dropped support for it, just EOL'ed the old version for new features, their support assured me they'd update if something happened like their data provider changed their api...it seems they're committing to continuing to make it work for the foreseeable future. Also, the old version still exists under My Apps for anyone who bought it before, I just re-downloaded. :)

  • irritated

    Pretty horrific abuse of loyal customers to lure them to pay for an "upgrade" that takes away features. And the customer service answer is that I'm "allowed" to continue to use the old version! Which I could have done without paying for the new!

  • Tomaquet

    I emailed Mobiata complaining and directed them to these comments and they replied:

    Yes, unfortunately, there are some folks that are upset about the
    situation. :( However, there is no requirement to buy the new app
    because the previous version still works and will be supported. This
    isn't the situation that we originally intended, but there are several
    reasons why this ultimately became the outcome for FlightTrack 5.

    The first reason is that in order to implement all of the new
    features, designs, and interactions that users like you helped us to
    envision, we had to start from scratch and build a new app from the
    ground up. And so it truly is a new app that required two complete teams
    of design, engineering and QA to get it to the market. :)

    In terms of what the new app includes, you will first notice that
    the app has a new and beautiful interface and map animation that will
    delight you and bring flight tracking to a new level of standard in the
    market. You will also have the ability to organize your flights, name
    your trips, and add flights to your calender (plus more!). We have even
    added limited FlightBoard features so that you can check the flight
    boards at airports and search for flights by airport, too. While there
    are some features that we had to leave out of this first release, we
    have a roadmap already in place that will begin adding key features into
    the app. Of course, as you tell us what you'd like to see, we will
    continue to do our best to add feature requests to the app based on our
    user's feedback.

    The second reason is that our first version of the new app is not
    optimized for tablets and doesn't have flight delay forecasts yet, or
    TripIt syncing. Because we don't want to take any functionality away
    that our users have paid for and come to rely upon in the existing apps,
    we decided that it's critical to continue supporting the app in which
    you've invested, rather than replace the app with a version that is
    missing some of those important features.

    The third reason is that we're collapsing our flight-tracking app
    suite so that there is a single app. This changes the pricing of the
    app, as well as how it's displayed and sold on Google Play. We would not
    be able to collapse the apps into a single version and allow all of our
    existing users to keep the apps that they originally purchased.

    All this said said, we're definitely working toward feature parity
    in the new version so that you can have the best of both apps.

    In the meantime, we'll continue to provide you support for
    FlightTrack 4 until the new app has basic feature parity. However, as a
    valued FlightTrack 4 user, we encourage you to download FlightTrack 5
    now while we're discounting it to $2.99 (USD) through December 1, 2013.
    We're doing this so that our existing users can get it at a lower cost.
    Starting on December 2, the cost will be $4.99. I hope that you'll take
    advantage of this promotion and let us know what you think so that we
    can continue to make sure the app evolves into the indispensable flight
    tracking tool that you need it to be.

    If you ever need to reinstall your current version of FlightTrack on
    your device or a new one, I'm happy to say that as long as you use the
    same Play Store credentials that you used to buy the app originally you
    can by doing the following (or referring to our suuport site at mobiata.com/support):