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Can't remember where you parked your car? Don't worry! Your iPhone 4S will, AUTOMATICALLY!
Can't remember where you parked your car? Don't worry! Your iPhone 4S will, AUTOMATICALLY!
1,367 backers pledged $40,177 to help bring this project to life.

Progress

Just wanted to give everyone an update as to where we are.

First, we’re interested in getting a breakdown of how many people are experiencing the battery drain issue. Hopefully if you were seeing the drain, then you’ve had a chance to test the 1.0.4 release with the option to disable Cell Tower Monitoring. Please let us know how many people are affected by the battery drain by voting at our poll http://www.findmycarsmarter.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=42. Voting will take you less than a minute and no registration is required. We need both users who are and are not affected by this issue to vote as this will help us determine the prevalence of this issue.

We have made some progress in replicating the battery drain issue ourselves. As we mentioned in our last update we thought the issue was our usage of the Cell Tower Monitoring service interacting with another app or service. One of our backers, Gary, made a great suggestion of developing an app that only enables Cell Tower Monitoring to prove that this alone would cause the drain. We did this and found that when we ran both the Cell Tower Monitoring app & Find My Car Smarter simultaneously we also intermittently saw the battery drain problem that some of our users are reporting. The drain issue seemed to persist for an hour, then clear itself out, and then randomly come back again. We still haven’t found a reliable method to trigger this issue yet. We believe  that when Find My Car Smarter and another app both make systems calls to Apple's CoreLocation service, some interaction between them causes these battery drain issues. We have been trying to break the problem down to smaller pieces by creating two simple apps that make CoreLocation calls and will reliably reproduce this failure, but so far we haven't found the recipe yet. We are still working on it though.

So this discovery leads to two thoughts. First, this explains why only some people see the issue, rather than the issue being related to the carrier or location as we initially thought. It looks like the issue is more a factor of which apps users have installed on their phones. Second, unfortunately, this also means that forthcoming iOS 5.1 will not magically fix this issue as we had initially hoped since we also saw this battery drain on iOS 5.1 Beta 3 Developer Preview.

To prove that the issue is actually caused by the interaction of multiple apps using CoreLocation as we believe, we’re looking for a few volunteers willing to wipe their phone. We understand this is a huge imposition so we’re offering a small bounty. More information is here: http://www.findmycarsmarter.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=46&p=130

We have gone through about 50 logs sent in from users. We can only log activity that happens within our app. They all show similar results and we don’t see any indication that our app is misbehaving. Again, we believe the battery drain happens outside of our app at the system level in CoreLocation which we cannot monitor. 

If anyone has any suggestions of apps they think in combination with Find My Car Smarter reliability causes this drain, please drop us a note so that we can investigate.

For the 1.1 update, the code is complete. We’ll be testing it out this week and fixing any bugs we encounter. The update will be submitted to the AppStore by the end of the week and Apple typically takes another week to approve. If anyone is interested in beta testing, please send us an email with your UUID. We're also interested in collecting the UUIDs for people experiencing the battery drain issue, in case we have a battery drain test build.

The updates in 1.1 are as follows:

Automatic Parking Meter Notification

Manual Parking Meter Notification

Manually update your parking location

Low GPS Signal Notification

Hybrid Mapping modes

When driving to a new location, the title bar will read Enroute rather than showing the previous parking location.

Made the title bar clearer, indicating parked duration

Comments

    1. Creator Carleton Torpin on February 21, 2012

      To those complaining about the product not working exactly as promised, let me remind you that this is a Kickstarter Project. That means that you are taking a calculated gamble when you back a project. I've had Kickstarter projects that I paid much more for and they've performed far below my expectations. These are just the perils of being an early adopter.

      Especially when it comes to an app and hardware combo, there is a lot of data that needs to be collected. It's not feasible for a small team to try their app at a multitude of different geographical locations, different phone models and different iOS versions. Thus, feedback from users (even the "dissatisfied" ones) is invaluable in ensuring future compatibility.

      The Find My Car Smarter team has been doing a very good job of working to fix issues that users are reporting. They seem to earnestly be trying to improve the app so that it functions properly for ALL users. If it truly bothers you that the app is not functioning at 100% optimized capacity, it may be best to just forget about using the app right now and check back in a few months when it's more likely to be working for a greater amount of users. Of course, doing so will rob the development team of important feedback.

    2. Creator Sally Crispo on February 21, 2012

      I don't want to sound like a "drain" here....but I am
      really disappointed in your product. My phone was
      draining out at rapid speed and I had no idea why, (until
      your update). I have to say I would prefer my money back
      or some type of compensation for this fiasco! I don't even use the
      the thing at this point.