Dev Experiments — Doing more with your Android device .

So, there’s is actually more one can do with a smart device other than the routine functionalities we all use it for. As a software developer, I look into how I could possibly make things easier for me and my client, and try out other possible solutions to a problem (just for the fun of it).

Everyone should be familiar with the way we register for a service (e.g. internet configuration for those of us here in Nigeria) with our mobile devices. Example : Send help to 777, subscribe to 121, status to 124. The list is just endless. As developers, we may be faced with actually implementing this kind of task. Well, the normal way people go around this is acquiring a short-code from service providers who provide them with APIs and guides on how to tie certain users messages to a particular function.

Well, the major advantage of implementing it this way is that the user doesn’t have to pay a dime for sending an SMS to the short code. But the merchant has to make that payment. Now, you’ve got to ask yourself, is the stress really worth it? I mean, what if I told you that you could save a lot of money just using your smartphone? Let’s explore that possibility further then.

Your smart device can actually be used as a server and so many other interesting things. If it can receive a message, you can intercept the message. And if you can intercept the message, you can check if it matches certain keyword like Help, Status, Cancel, Transfer *** to *** etc. and then, you can send the info to your server that sends response to the user. You can also schedule messages that weren’t delivered to the server to be sent when there is internet access, on your mobile phone.. The device just has to be on, connected and you have a complete system that you can even use as a mobile assistance just like Medicsms .

What you would basically need is:

  1. A smart phone (I used an android device)
  2. SMS API (To send response to the user from your web server)
  3. A phone number on the device you are using that would be shared with customer (e.g for help, send help to 0812*******)
  4. Hosting on the server. (I suggest Google App Engine)

So, to prove this is possible, i built a simple demonstration myself. It’s an Android application and the server is hosted on google app engine developed with python. Both codes are on github and I don’t really know if there is any solution that exists using this procedure. It’s worth giving a try anyway… Just for the fun of it.

Written by

Android Engineer @Nextdoor. As christ is, so am I.

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