Sunday, July 8, 2012

Renaming an Android App

I started my Android Development by simply creating an app for my own use - I wasn't happy with existing battery monitors, and wanted much more detail.  So I created Badass Battery Monitor.  The name was a joke - but I liked it, and it was unique, so it stuck.

As the app has grown in popularity, I get frequent comments from users complaining about the name.  While Badass isn't necessarily a 'bad word', it certainly is considered vulgar in certain company.   Nothing in the app is at all risque or offensive in any way other than the name, so why risk alienating possible users just for the sake of the name?  If I could start over, I'd definitely choose a different name.  Can I rename the App in flight?

Yes - I'm going to rename the app and see how it works.  I run the following risks:
  1. There are numerous reviews, forum posts, etc. that all refer to Badass Battery Monitor.  A significant portion of download traffic can be attributed to this.  What happens when you change the name?  Can folks still find your app?  Will they get confused by the name change and think they haven't found the right app?
  2. Badass has a certain ring to it, and is very unique.  Type in Badass in Google Play, and the app comes up.  Google Badass Android and the app comes up.  How do I avoid losing that?  At least for a while, I'll have to prominently indicate that this is the App Formerly Known As Badass.

Choosing a new name:

It's important to be able to find the app in the Play store.  Generically named apps - something like 'Battery' are very hard to find, even if you know exactly what your searching for.  But you want your app name to be descriptive for users who are browsing, then can easily tell what your app does.

So I went with GSam Battery Monitor.  The name contains a strong description of what the app does, but also contains a unique term to help distinguish it from all the other Battery apps out there.  GSam is unique, and is already associated with the app (I develop under the name GSam Labs).   

Tracking the rename effect:

Fortunately Google and Amazon provide a wealth of download statistics.  So I know what my historical downloads are, and can track whether the name change has any major effects.  I'll update this post as time passes to show any changes.  This is all a big experiment - if my downloads fall off a cliff, I can always change the name back!