The idea for Conqu was hashed long before the Android or Blackberry tablets were even a rumor. However, the idea sat on the back burner for several years until finally the first production tablet devices were on demo at Adobe MAX in late 2010. At that point the hardware finally caught up to the requirements of such an app. It was time to un-shelf the idea and put forth the effort to create an exceptional app for the Blackberry Playbook.
ASFusion has a history of developing some really nice apps Adobe Flex and Air, so the fit seemed natural. In November we started creating wireframes and mockups for the Conqu interface, only we had a few challenges to overcome. First, documentation was scarce. Having never developed a tablet or a touch based app before, we had to do a lot of learning, and a lot of idea testing and iterations on mockups.
After a disappointing realization that the original application name "Flow" was already being used by another company building--ironically a similar application--the name was changed to Conqu as a reference to "Conquer" in the phrase "Conquer your inbox".
On the development side, we had to overcome some unique programming challenges. For instance, buttons and graphics for most apps can be made flexible through the use of a technique called Scale Nine. What Scale Nine does is slice a graphic into nine parts so they can be stretched across the middle areas to accommodate any content size. The challenge we faced is that our interface was far more complex having gradients, top lighting for realism, and a texture that is impossible to stretch.
This need to use textures in the interface meant that we had to come up with a new technique. This led us to develop a method for using a hybrid Scale Nine that allowed us the flexibility to tile the middle part of a graphic to make it accept the content as needed.
We feel pretty good about the upcoming release of Conqu on both the Playbook and the Android platform. We think that the public will appreciate the fine details in the design as well as the many powerful features that make up Conqu. Conqu a great demonstration of what ASFusion is capable of producing no mater what the challenges are.