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The Tato Series: An Interview With Fede Of LauncherPro

So, anyone who knows me should know two things about me:  I love Sapphire and I love me some good ol’ LauncherPro.  When it comes to launchers though there are lots of choices other than LP like ADW, Stock, Helix, and the list goes on. Well we took a poll a lil’ while ago to show what our readers were using then, (Time for an updated poll? I think so!) but there was one launcher missing from that list that lately has pretty much wiped the floor with the competition. That Launcher, is none other than LauncherPro.

Besides ADW, LauncherPro is the definitive Home replacement application. With a widely growing list of widgets and customizable  features…who could argue? I have been fortunate enough to score some time with the man behind the app, Mr. Federico Carnales. Please enjoy this as much as I did; he was a sincere pleasure to talk to!  

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Tim-o-tato: Hi Fede! Thanks so much for ‘sitting down with me’! Mind giving us your name and occupation?

Fede: Thanks for having me, Tim. My name is Federico Carnales, and I’m a full time, self-employed developer of LauncherPro.

Tim-o-tato: And what a great App it is! So how long have you been working on LauncherPro?

Fede: Why, thanks!  I started working on it April of this year.

Tim-o-tato: So from April it has become one of the most downloaded apps in the market place. Surprised with this success?

Fede: Quite a bit…I hoped it would get popular, but I didn’t expect it to become so popular so fast! It’s been a wild few months!

Tim-o-tato: I can only imagine! What made you want to begin this project?

Fede: Well, I really liked the idea of HTC Sense’s launcher, bringing the most used apps of your phone right to the home screen. But I didn’t have an HTC phone, and my phone at the time didn’t support custom ROMs (Motorola Milestone). So in short, the idea behind LauncherPro was to bring an experience similar to HTC Sense, to any phone by any manufacturer. Funny thing is, now I have tons of users who ditched Sense for LauncherPro 🙂

Tim-o-tato: Ouch! That poor Milestone. So since you have a Milestone, you must be from out of the States. Where are you located exactly?

Fede: I’m originally from Uruguay, but currently live in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Tim-o-tato: So in Argentina is there a big Developer scene at all?

Fede: For Android? No, I don’t think so. There aren’t many Android phones in the market here. Which is upsetting.

Tim-o-tato: So you’re a big fish in a pretty small pond.

Fede: Indeed

Tim-o-tato: If there are more Devs down there like you, we need all the Android phones down there as we can get!

Fede: Hahaha … I’m sure there’s tons of talented developers here. Android just hasn’t quite caught on yet. Give it some time, you’ll see more developers from around here!

Tim-o-tato: So you must have a background in development. Care to share you history?

Fede: My background in development is all self-taught. I started developing websites when I was around 14, and then got into web programming a couple of years later. Started getting some freelance gigs, which I did for a few years. Then got a bit sick of freelancing and decided to do my own thing.

Tim-o-tato: Wow, so started at 14..

Fede: Yup

Tim-o-tato: What type of sites were you working on at that age?

Fede: I was mostly just learning, playing around with HTML. I think my first website was a portal for Webmasters. I was really into web marketing and that kind of stuff.

Tim-o-tato: Haha. Wow. That’s good! At 14 I think I was just sitting on the couch playing video games. I should of been on a computer. I could of doing bigger things 😛

Fede: Haha, yeah, I’ve always been a bit of a lone wolf, so that was a good hobby for me.

Tim-o-tato: You’re not alone anymore! So we all know that people arent allowed to purchase the Plus Version of your app since you live out of the US. What’s the story behind that? Have you contacted Google about that at all?

I would think they could make an exception for Apps with a certain download marker? Like a prize for being so popular!

Fede: At the moment there are only 9 (I think) countries allowed to sell paid apps on the Android market. The rest of the world doesn’t exist apparently. It’s weird because I was getting paid by Google (Adsense) almost ten years ago without a problem

Tim-o-tato: I would think since you’ve made something better than even their Devs have that they would just hire you. I’ll talk to some people! Haha

Fede: Hahaha! I don’t think I’d like to work for Google though. I’m quite comfortable being my own boss. 🙂

Tim-o-tato: Wish I could say that! So how many hours would you say you’ve put into LauncherPro?

Fede: Hmmm… hard to say, wish I kept track. Several hundred hours for sure.

Tim-o-tato: So since this last update, can we see a lot more coming from LauncherPro? More feautres for the future? (perhaps a gmail widget PLEASE!)

Fede: Yes, there will be a LOT more coming in the future and a Gmail widget is part of the plan, yes!

Tim-o-tato: Yay! Well I’m happy now.

Fede: Haha. Also, I’m slowly starting to work on rewriting the whole thing from scratch. Instead of starting with Android’s launcher.

Tim-o-tato: That must be lots of work

Fede: Yes. But I will keep updating the current LP while I re-build it from scratch.

Tim-o-tato: Lots of people have talked (wished for) a partnering with ADW and yourself in making the ultimate Home Launcher. Do you think something like that would ever become reality?

Fede: Probably not. We have quite different takes on software.

Tim-o-tato: So you two talk and are aware of the fact that people either use you or him? lol It is actually quite the feud I would say between users. ADW or LauncherPro!

Fede: Yup, definitely. It’s all about personal preference.

Tim-o-tato: That’s what I always say. Both are better than stock and that’s all that should matter. Haha

So is it just you, or do you have any other helpers/developers with this app?

Fede: Just me so far. I am definitely planning to hire a developer to help though. And also someone else to take care of support, documentation, website, etc.

Tim-o-tato: Well you have my email? 😉 The future is looking extremely bright for LauncherPro which is great!

Fede: Yes, I see a lot of future in LauncherPro!

Tim-o-tato: So you must get lots of emails about your App. About how many a day would you say?

Fede: I used to get over 500 hundred a day! Most with the same questions and suggestions. So I started referring people to the forum instead. It was getting out of control. The forum has been there from the start but a lot of people didn’t know about it, and a lot of people think it’s better to just email the developer. Which was fine when I started and was getting 10-15 emails a day.

Tim-o-tato: Then it blew up! Haha

Fede: Yes. And a lot of pepole don’t realize how much time it takes to reply to that many emails a day. Time that is much better spent adding cool new features to the app instead of answering the same questions over and over.

Tim-o-tato: Exactly. I could not agree more. So say you weren’t a Launcher Dev. Is there any other type of Apps you would want to Dev for at all?

Fede: Hmm… I know what I don’t like developing, and that’s games. I’m much more comfortable developing utilities. As for types of Apps I’d like to develop, maybe a Twitter app. There’s lots of great ones out there already, but I think there’s room for improvement. Or maybe a music player? Haha

Tim-o-tato: The Facebook App is also HORRIBLE… Help Fede! Haha

Fede: Yeah, that would be cool too! The problem is that the Facebook API is currently a bit limited. So there’s no way to make a fully functional Facebook app with the API. Twitter on the other hand, exposes pretty much every feature through their API.

Tim-o-tato: Awe. So when you’re not Developing what do you like to do? Any hobbies?

Fede: Baking! Haha! I always liked baking since I was a kid, and a few years ago went to pastry school and got a pastry chef diploma! Other than that, I love going to the movies and eating out.

Tim-o-tato: That’s awesome! For giggles, whats your favorite thing to bake?

Fede: Hmm, I make a bad-ass lemon meringue pie 😛

Tim-o-tato: Yum!

So do you ever stop by Droid-Life to read up?

Fede: Yeah, whenever I have time. To be honest I hadn’t heard of it until you wrote your first piece on LauncherPro. But I’m glad I found it, it’s definitely one of the best Android sites out there!

Tim-o-tato: I’m using that as a quote! Haha

Fede: And you guys have been nothing but awesome to LauncherPro and me. You’ve been covering LauncherPro from the very beginning!

Tim-o-tato: Thanks! We love to hear that!

Tim-o-tato: Is there anything you want ask the readers? Feature requests or anything of that nature? Now would definitely be the time!

Fede: Hmm, not that I could think of…I always try to make some time to read the comments when LauncherPro gets blog coverage.  So I’m watching everything and always taking notes when someone suggests something interesting.

Tim-o-tato: Now since I have you right here…this is MY chance! There is a feature I was always curious about, and thats the infinite loop of the homescreens. Is that gonna be in the works? I would pay big bucks for that! Haha

Fede: That’s a tricky one. The main problem is the wallpaper. Live Wallpapers would be incompatible with that, and normal wallpapers would have to be loopable to keep them from looking awful when you join two ends together.

Tim-o-tato: Hmm, well if there is one man I believe in…it’s you hopefully! lol

Fede: LOL! It will probably come eventually.

Tim-o-tato: Well I wanna thank you SOOO much on behalf of Droid-Life and everyone Fede for your time! It was a real pleasure!

Fede: Thank you! Pleasure was all mine! Take care!

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It was a great time talking to Fede and I know we are ALL looking forward to future updates and progress reports.  Thanks everyone for another great week in life, a Droid-Life!

-Tim-o-tato

Get LauncherPro here at Fede’s Website!
And please check out the rest of The Tato Series!

Got ideas for more interviews? Message me at [email protected] 🙂

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