Recognizing that many people nowadays expect an immediate response to text messages, Gonzaga University seniors Collin Walker and Tyler Doster have developed a new app called Text Secretary that automatically replies to text messages.
It’s available at Google Play Store for a free 30-day trial and $1 purchase.
Text Secretary syncs calendar events with SMS (Short Message Service) text messaging, sending automatic replies to incoming messages when the user is at a calendar event. Users are able to customize the reply message—for example to say, “Hey, sorry I can’t talk right now. I’m driving to an-out-of-town conference but will get back to you when I arrive at 5 p.m.” Text Secretary currently is available only for Android phones, but it’s expected to be available soon for Windows smartphones.
Walker and Doster say the app is targeted primarily for business professionals who put their phones away during meetings and other events, or while driving, during business hours.
“Since they are unable to pull out their phones in these situations they find it beneficial to reply to incoming texts dynamically,” Walker says.
Doster notes that many companies manage meetings and events through services such as Microsoft Outlook, which can be synced with employee phones. The app’s calendar integration feature makes it easier for people to use.
Walker, a computer engineering major from Hamilton, Mont., and Doster, a computer science major and religious studies minor from Chesterfield, Mo., created the app as their final project for their course, Mobile Computing, an advanced computer science class taught by Kefei Wang. Walker and Doster say they are the only students from the class to bring an app to the market.
“We saw this project as a fun, creative outlet that utilizes all of the knowledge and experience we have received at Gonzaga as well as a great addition to our resumes and, perhaps, a potential career,” says Walker. Both students are aiming for a career in software development, which could involve creating more mobile apps.
“Collin and I work very well together, and I see us making more apps on the side even if it is just for fun,” Doster says.
The two have fixed bugs in their Text Secretary app by adding components such as sleep capability, which regulates automatic message responses to the same contact and enables users to turn the app on and off from the home screen.
Two new features are in the works. One would enable users to send their custom messages in response to missed phone calls, while the other would be a custom message set while traveling.
Text Secretary hit the market on June 2. With the first set of users finishing their 30-day trial, Doster and Walker are excited to see customers begin permanently unlocking the app.
Doster says creating the app has been a great learning experience, and hopefully will prove to be a profitable one as well.
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