V-Block is an Android app/hack that let’s you block calls from unwanted numbers. There are quite a few apps that already allow Android users to block calls from unknown numbers. The USP of this app is that, it allows users to share the numbers through Google docs.
This app was developed in a HackNight organized by a club in my University. Hence, is “Hacky”.
V-Block is licensed as GPL v3.
How it works
- The user saves his/her Google authentication details in the app.
- The user accesses (or creates) a Google document that he wishes to share numbers in. All the users who wish to share this document need to have access to this doc and open it at least once, so that it is added to their list of documents.
- Once the user starts the app, the list of existing blocked numbers (if any) is synchronized on the phone.
- If the user gets a call from one of the blocked numbers, the phone automatically switches to silent mode, and an alert message, saying “Blocked Number” is shown.
- If the user gets a new call, the user is prompted with a dialog box, asking if the number should be blocked. If the user chooses to block the number, it is added to the block list and the Google doc is updated.
- sl4a (Scripting Layer for Android)
- Python for Android
- We, the authors, weren’t well versed with Java and hence chose Python. But, the Scripting Layer for Android (SL4A) provides a very limited API. This app could be greatly improved if re-written in Java.
- Android phones (generally) already save Google authentication data. The app, presently, requires users to enter it again, separately. This could possibly be fixed, if the app is re-written in Java. (Not possible from the scripting API)
- The app presently prompts blocking every number which has not already been blocked. It would be good if the prompt doesn’t appear for calls from numbers in the contact list. (This has been added to the contacts API, recently. This feature should be easy to add, now.)
- The app synchronizes the list of numbers, each time the app is started and each time a new number is added. Ideally this should be separated into a separate script that can be run periodically, where the time period is user-configurable.
- Functionality could be extended to block SMSes as well. (Again not possible from the scripting API)
- The phone presently goes into a silent mode, but the vibration continues. Disabling this, also, is not possible from the scripting API.
- A better user-interface, that allows deletion of numbers, viewing of blocked numbers etc, would be good.