04
Jan
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In an odd bit of M&A news, the developers at Bitspin announced that the small company will be joining forces with Google. Whether Google has purchased the company outright or merely hired its Zurich-based development team isn't clear, but in either case, the big G will be benefitting from their impressive user interface experience soon. Google has not commented on the situation, and there is no dollar amount posted on the Bitspin website.

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If you're unfamiliar with Bitspin, it's the development team behind the stunning Timely alarm clock app, perhaps one of the best examples of synchronous form and function on the Play Store. This free alarm clock has received somewhere between 1 million and 5 million downloads and currently sits at 4.4 stars out of 5. The company also developed the Tasks collaboration and to-do app, though it's published under a different developer name on the Play Store.

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The Bitspin team, former ETH Zurich students, on the Google campus. Photo credit: Google+.

According to the post on Bitspin's website, Timely will continue to be available on the Play Store, though it's unlikely to receive major feature updates after this point. Content that was formerly locked behind a small in-app purchase, including extra themes, sounds, and challenges, is now free.

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While we can't say why Google went after Bitspin, it's a safe bet that their excellent visual design played a big role in the decision. Google has redesigned its own alarm clock app in Android 4.2 and again in 4.4. One might assume that the Bitspin team will devote at least some time to it in the next version of Android, and work with other UI elements in Android and beyond. Congratulations to the Bitspin team - don't spend all that money in one place.

Source: Bitspin.ch - Thanks, Ugo and Vinoth Ragunathan

Michael Crider
Michael is a native Texan and a former graphic designer. He's been covering technology in general and Android in particular since 2011. His interests include folk music, football, science fiction, and salsa verde, in no particular order.

  • RaviShah

    Literally purchased the pro upgrade yesterday. Still no regrets!

    • TSON1

      Same..

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      Same here. I'm bummed it probably won't get any new features, but it's still quite a functional app that should continue to work without updates (though I do wonder what happens of future Android revisions break it in some way).

      • Justin W

        The only update I think it needs is to fix the 2-3 seconds it takes to open when using ART vs. Dalvik, but everything else still works well in my opinion.

        • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

          There are definitely more improvements that people want - see the comments on https://plus.google.com/+ArtemRussakovskii/posts/BWy72BJAFPo, for example.

        • Jessica Tiedeman

          Emmа.­&nbspаltհօսgհ­&nbspDeոոіs`s­&nbspсօmmeոt ­&nbspіs­&nbspreаlly­&nbspсօօl...­&nbspօո­&nbspsаtսrdаy ­&nbspі­&nbspgօt­&nbspа­&nbspgօrgeօսs­&nbspаlfа­&nbspRօmeօ­&nbspаfter­&nbspmаkіոg­&nbsp$4287­&nbsptհіs ­&nbspраst­&nbsp5­&nbspweeks­&nbspаոd-іո­&nbspexсess­&nbspօf,­&nbsp10­&nbspgrаոd­&nbsplаst ­&nbspmսոtհ.­&nbspwіtհօսt­&nbspа­&nbspdօսbt­&nbspіt ­&nbspіs­&nbsptհe­&nbspոісest-jօb­&nbspі­&nbspհаve­&nbspever­&nbspdօոe.­&nbspі ­&nbspstаrted­&nbsptհіs­&nbspfօսr­&nbspmօոtհs/аgօ­&nbspаոd­&nbspstrаіgհt­&nbspаwаy­&nbspstаrtаd ­&nbspbrіոgіո­&nbspіո­&nbspаt­&nbspleаst­&nbsp$82, ­&nbspр/հ.­&nbspі­&nbspwօrk­&nbsptհrօսgհ­&nbsptհіs­&nbspwebsіte,... &nbspW&#87W&#46Festivals&#78ewYear2014beautifulyear.qr&#46&#110&#x65&#116&#x2F&#109W&#113Z&#47

          ☤☤☤☤ ☤☤☤☤୔☤ ☤☤☤☤ ☤☤☤☤☤and went for the IAP. I do agree with those who wish it would accept custom sounds vs their own built in sounds only. But it's still very very nice!

        • Johnny Bravo

          also, when I use google now for time related stuff, i have it open up timely. It would be great to actually use the stop watch or timer when I say "set a timer for 20 mins" or "wake me up in 20 mins"

      • andy_o

        I emailed the developers a while ago after I bought it asking if they had their own servers for the sync function or if they used the new Google app sync thing, they said they couldn't offer what they offer without their own service. I hoping Google improves the app.

      • https://play.google.com/store/apps/developer?id=iWizard Bikram Agarwal

        We're never getting multi-timezone clocks in it then. :(

      • ddpacino

        I would only like to see an upgrade to introduce transparent status and navi bars.

    • Firelight

      I grabbed it when AP did a quick story on the recent update - and went for the IAP. I do agree with those who wish it would accept custom sounds vs their own built in sounds only. But it's still very very nice!

    • nhizzat

      Same here. Got no regrets supporting a great app and developer. Can't wait to see what Bitspin can do for Android.

    • Christopher Modiano

      I went premium when it went on sale for 99 cents over christmas... I toiled over the decision too, because I'm so cheap, and I rarely purchase apps.... ahwell...

      • VBM

        Dude, $3 two weeks before Christmas sale... Still a terrific app though. I mean, it was worth my $3! lol.

        • afazel

          I got it for the $3 as well. Didn't feel it was worth it because it doesn't actually wake me up :( I guess it's $3 worth of pretty, though.

    • http://www.dominic-martin.com/ Dominic Martin

      Ugh sameeeee
      Although to be fair it was only a buck and my wakeups have been much easier so I feel it's worth it.

    • Guest

      The Pro version was free yesterday? at least, that's what I paid for. $0

    • iboalali

      me too

    • jordonvuz355

      my Aunty Elena got a real nice Porsche
      Boxster by working off of a computer... Read Full Report B­i­g­2­9­.­ℂ­o­m

    • Spark9

      Same here, except this is the 3rd time that something i purchased has gone free ;_;

  • Justin Foster

    I feel a massive UI refresh coming for Android 5.0+

    • TY

      More beautiful transitions, perhaps. Android really is lacking it compared to iOS and Windows Phone IMO.

      • Ambroos

        KitKat introduced a better way for developers to add transitions to their apps. Will take a whlie before apps make use of it though.

      • Justin Foster

        Everything could be more beautiful in my opinion. Google apps themselves have been becoming more beautiful, but stock Android just isn't gorgeous to me. I think there needs to be a departure from the standard look and function of icons and folders and the app drawer. Needs to be totally re-thought to make things beautiful, fluid, easy, and sensible. I think Ubuntu mobile OS is onto something with push, slide, and release functionality.

        • Joris Griffioen

          As long as it doesn't get overwrought and slow.

      • Alberto

        I think transitions are fine as they are, I'm not a big fan of iOS and Windows Phone transitions. They're fine, but when I wanna get things done I want the device to react instantly, showing me directly what I want.

      • godutch

        I really dislike the ios transitions and animations, I think they too much over the top and sometimes watching them can literally make me a bit nauseous (especially when I am a bit drunk and watch people using their iphones on cafes)

    • Marcell Lévai

      I really hope so. Reason one: the stock gray-blue/white is starting to get boring after two years. Reason two: it's not very friendly, either. Hopefully they will come up with something great! :)

  • HOLO Warrior

    R.I.P. Timely. You may go forth to join the likes of Bump, Reader and other sunsetted programs, but you'll forever live on in our hearts as the most beautiful messiah of our Lord Duarte's message.

    • Marcell Lévai

      Well, at least you can hope for similar features to show up in the next big Android version :)

    • akshay112991

      Bump was getting old and boring.

    • whyarepeopleS

      thats were you are mistaken. it probably will update Android beam

    • DeadSOL

      Lord Duarte! LOL! Well said! :p

  • krazyfrog

    Timely shutting down in 3… 2… 1…

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      If you read the post, it's not shutting down.

      • krazyfrog

        Neither was Bump. Until it did.

        • Shitiz Garg

          AFAIK Timely doesn't need active infrastructure (servers etc) to support, so there's less chance of this shutting down

        • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

          I don't believe it was explicitly stated that Bump would continue to exist while Timely's future is mentioned in the announcement specifically.

        • Tuấn Ankh

          Bump can help people moving from Android to iOS, so that app can let Google lose customers. This clock app doesn't have anything to do with iOS or WP or any other OS, so there is no reason for it to be removed (unless Google merges it with the stock clock app, which is good anyway)

  • sourabh sekhar

    The clock app in 4.4 is well designed but the timely app is just beautiful.
    I wish the team all the best for their future endeavors.

  • HolyFreakingCrap

    Not sure.

  • Cherokee4life

    I have no backed up the APK lol

    I saw this update this morning on my phone and got all giddy but nothing changed, there is still in-app purchases for me. :(

    • blahmoomoo

      Odd, for me, the IAPs were removed in such a way that there's no longer an indication that they existed at all. And I don't even have the latest app update... until a few minutes from now. EDIT: app update didn't seem to change anything.

  • André Prata

    Jesus... 2 or 3 weeks ago I paid 3€ for pro. A day after that it went on sale to 0.99. Now it's free. And it's still so far from a good Alarm App in my opinion (though still the best in its simplicity. I liked Sleep as Android, but I no longer track my sleep)...

  • kindrudekid

    Really just when I bought this on sale this past weekend?

    • nhizzat

      I'll send you the 99 cents if you're really hurt for it

      • https://play.google.com/store/apps/developer?id=iWizard Bikram Agarwal

        It's not that he is repenting for $0.99. It's that feeling "Damn...!! If I had waited for another week...".

        • Ashmedai ♔

          Thats EXACTLY how I feel :p @vicky_buddie:disqus

        • kindrudekid

          exactly! tough it was and is worth the purchase

  • kindrudekid

    now if they fix the google now command for setting a timer to set a timer instead of an alarm after the commanded time would be awesome

  • TheFirstUniverseKing

    Joining forces with Google? More like Google didn't like how they were profiting off of something so similar to their (soon-to-be) closed source clock they were going to release on the Play Store, so they sent a cease-and-desist letter: either they remove their app or give it away for free.

    • Shitiz Garg

      Aren't you a morning sun's ray of joy?

      • TheFirstUniverseKing

        Just a man bitter about paying for the app a mere couple of days ago. :(

        • PhilNelwyn

          Have you tried emailing them for a refund?

          • TheFirstUniverseKing

            Now I have. We'll see if they clear up my issue.

        • godutch

          . And if they decided to make the app free after an acquisition by Google you will always have people who bought the app just before the announcement that the app was going to be free. This time you were unlucky but when you paid for it, you thought it was worth the money.

          The deal with google might have bounced of too at the last moment, you think it would have been reasonable to make the app free during the negotiations. I don't believe so because strong sales would make them stronger in the negotiations.

    • whyarepeopleS

      Google get 30% of what Timely makes just an fyi.. then why wouldn't google not like timely profiting?? thats a dumb logic imo

      • https://play.google.com/store/apps/developer?id=iWizard Bikram Agarwal

        I'm not supporting what OP said. But your logic is also flawed. If Google is going to "look the other way" to keep getting its 30% cut, then it won't ever suspend any paid app. But it does if something violates any policy.

        Again, I'm not saying Timely violated any policy or Google punished them. IMO, Google loved their UI and hired them. Simply.

        • whyarepeopleS

          thats exactly what i said tooo... i dint make any logic. just presented the fact

    • Humberto Hernandez

      The GPstore twitter account dedicaced some tweets to timely app...
      So... Google likes it. "Me likes it, me buys it"

  • jake044

    I'm glad I purchased it with my Rewards credits.

  • hp420

    It's missing one essential feature for me: I can't set the alarm for different days every week. I need it because my work schedule changes every week. I'm afraid I'll forget to set it if I don't do it for the whole week ahead of time.

    • PhilNelwyn

      What do you mean?
      Can't you set one alarm for some days, and another one for the rest of the week?
      I'm not sure I'm getting it...

      • hp420

        Nope, I want one alarm with an option to have it go off any multitude of days I set it for.

        I'm using alarmdroid now, and this is what the option looks like in that app:
        https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B8idNtSYGvpqTEVOWVhKSVBnT28/edit?usp=sharing

        I can do this on my old-fashioned alarm clock that sits on my nightstand, even. It should be a standard option with every single alarm app, imho ;)

    • Justin Foster

      You can set the days of an alarm by clicking the bottom portion of it. Took me a while to figure it out also. Not obvious.

      • hp420

        wow, you're right! I don't know how I missed that before. Thank you for pointing it out to me

  • usaff22

    I just wish they enabled transparency in the status bar and nav bar for 4.4 devices!

  • anzensepp1987

    Bitspin also made Tasks, by "Team Tasks". Wonder what will happen to this.

  • C.C.

    I just bought it a week ago when it was on sale.Oh well, I don't mind it that much. I'm just a little sad that there won't be any major update now. I like it when app update and introduce new feature.I want to be able to use my own sound in timely, but it looks like I won't get that feature now.

  • BigMixxx

    Saw this one coming....
    I think the other one is probably tasker/locale

    Maybe even poweramp.

    • Larizard

      I'm surprised they still haven't jumped on Tasker. It will single-handed push Android a mile ahead of anything iOS has to offer. It could integrate well with Google Now, too.

  • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

    Why is Google on buy outrage recently? Quickoffice, Timely, ...

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      Outrage? Wat?

      And why not? They could be buying up a lot more talent this way IMO.

      • Muffy

        I think he means "rampage" instead of "outrage."

    • Larizard

      Anything to keep brilliant ideas from the dirty hands of Apple and Microsoft (and Yahoo)... Remember Waze?

    • Jsilvermist

      Google has owned Quickoffice for more than a year now, it's only that they recently decided to actually do something with it.

  • https://abrah.am/ Abraham Williams

    I want Timely to replace the Clock app and Tasks to become the official Google Tasks app. They could take over the Keep app too.

  • https://play.google.com/store/apps/developer?id=iWizard Bikram Agarwal

    Now I feel dumb. I just sent this as a news tip to you guys and then checked my Netvibes and saw that you have already published it.

  • Abhinav

    I just hope they try and keep timely updated. Really love the app.

  • Vito Lee

    Wow nice. I use their Tasks app. Hopefully this means better integration with Google Tasks (namely when you mark as completed on one device, it marks it as completed on all your other devices). Can't wait to see what happens.

  • http://mobers.org/ psydex

    I busted my ass for that premium content...

    • Mado

      Dude. Few bucks.

  • Guest

    I get that Timely is beautiful in terms of UI, but does anyone know how to make it the default time app? For example, when I say "Ok Google, wake me up in 20 minutes" It still goes to the built-in app. So until there is some type of system level integration, I see no point to use Timely

    • Grayson Carr

      I have the default clock app disabled on my Moto X and when I say "OK Google, wake me up in 20 minutes", it sets the alarm in Timely. You probably just set your stock alarm app as default at some point.

  • calmdownbro

    I've got refunded and I didn't even notice. lol.

    "According to our records, this app purchase has been successfully cancelled."

  • Chaturanaga Manchanayake

    Oh bummer I purchased it lol

  • http://www.twitter.com/ninjustin ninjustin

    Nice but seriously why don't they buy dashclock? It almost a mandatory app.

    • Andrew Thompson

      Dashclock is basically by Google anyway, or at least an employee.

  • NemaCystX

    Um why does it seem that nearly all the apps I pay a premium for get bought out by Google?

    • Jonathan Zelayandia

      Because you have similar, awesome, taste to Google

  • Godwin Axisa

    I have a feeling that Google is going use this as part of a new Google App and eventually ditch the aosp clock. -_-

  • hocestquisumus

    Beautiful. But why do I need a seperate alarm app? I mean... I set it, it goes off, I'm pissed because it's early, that's it. Does it really matter how it looks?

  • Turdo Ross

    Sounds like a plan to me dude. Wow.

    GetzDatAnon.tk

  • Eric Goh

    Went for the IAP @ $1 during the sale. Love the app. Hope that google will further improve it..

  • Seth Forbus

    I've had the pro upgrade for a while. Best android clock/alarm on the market. I really hope to see this as the stock clock in the new version of android.

  • WhyWai

    LoL shit! I just bought the pro license last Monday!!

  • Epic Tea

    <3 Google.

  • theunknown

    Timely appears to be a great application, reading the reviews and opinions.
    However I feel that the team Ignored Tasks (their earlier app : See the guys T-Shirts in the Picture) when they released Timely and re-branded themselves.

    One common and basic feature that most people request for Tasks (On the Playstore reviews and their G+ Page) is Recurring Reminders but the team has, as far as I know, not responded to any of these requests or even up up a note if its ever expected.

    Their lack of response was the only reason I was holding back from purchasing the Full Features of Timely.

    But I still the Tasks app in hopes that they will someday surprise us and implement it.

  • Jacob Peet

    Why Search, Download, Waste time, Buy PAID Apps, Just Download "Black Market Alpha 0.99.2.42" and Enjoy/Download PAID Apps Direct on your Android Mobile for FREE.
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  • http://chromebookguru.tumblr.com Jason C

    I was going for fade in alarms.