Since the Nirbhaya mishap, the android store has been flooded with safety apps. Search for safety apps and you will find at least a score of apps that claim to be the very best. But looking at most of the apps, I ponder over two questions:
- Are app development companies doing it for a social cause?
- Are they really gonna make a difference?
The answer to first question is pretty obvious – NO! Everyone has seized the ‘personal safety’ frontier to make money.
But the answer to the second question is something that intrigues me. Here is why:
Most of the apps (about 95%) need you to open an app and tap on a button to reach out for help. But when you are in some grave danger (god forbid), will you have all the time in the world to:
- Search for the app on the homescreen
- Open the app
- And then tap on it?
If YES then either your offender is one big lousy, inexperienced or you will be really lucky!
The mechanism to call for help or inform your well wishers just in time should be PROMPT and DISCRETE. The offender should not even come to know that you have done something with your device while you send alerts. If he is able to figure it out then you are in for a real horror show.
This is where I think two apps really score well above the rest. One is VithU. You all must have seen actress Kareena Kapoor promoting it. But another app that I feel is slightly better than the rest is SOS – Stay Safe!
Why so? Because I love its technology. Just shake your mobile device beyond a certain threshold sensitivity and alert messages go out to your emergency contacts. The feature of sending out your mobile battery charge status and an audio recording along with the usual shoo-sha of GPS tracking etc. make it a really useful app. The mobile screen does not show a single blink of light when the alerts go out. Isn’t that really cool?
And how much time would it take just a shake your hands in fear? And how suspicious can it be? I think MINIMAL.
Of course all apps are in for money but as long as they solve the primary purpose satisfactorily, they are good to go. Of course these apps will not eradicate the problem of women safety being compromised but they can certainly help a needy get the immediate help she needs at the dead of the night on a lonely road!
I have been a fan of refreshing things since a long time. The moment anything starts to get consistent, it loses my interest. Technology especially has always grabbed my eyeballs. I was a big fan of mobile phones since I was a child. The first mobile I used was a monochromatic Siemens cell phone. Post that I moved on to a Samsung E 250 – a multimedia phone and a Nokia X5 (many of you might not have even heard of it). It was until that I used my first smartphone Samsung Galaxy Fit that I realized how this breed of phones were so different from normal phones. My first smart phone operating system was Android. I used BlackBerry, Phone and finally settled on a Windows phone – a Nokia Lumia 620.
Having used most of them, the one thing that was distinctly different in each of the smartphones that I used was the ‘app market’ section. Windows being a new born baby in comparison to iTunes & Google Playstore does not have so many apps currently but is catching up pretty fast. These respective app markets have really witnessed different trends over the past few years especially when smartphones have become available at really affordable prices. A couple of years ago, paid mobile apps were so ON! People made money even if there apps were paid because there was weren’t many options available. And then suddenly a storm of free apps took center stage. Search for any kind of apps and you would get a dozen of apps and that too FREE! But then the opportunity to make money took a beating. App makers had to come up with something that could help them not merely survive in the market but thrive!
Here is what gave birth to Freemium (Free + Premum) model of app monetization. I got to know of this model when I downloaded a cricket game last evening but it had only the 5 over format available for playing. For the other options like a 20 or 30 or 50 over game, you got to buy the full version of the game. I thought of giving the game just ONE try because I was sure I won’t be purchasing the game after all. But the game experience turned out to be so addictive that I ended up buying the full version of the app. The first app I bought in 6 years since I started using a smartphone.
And then I just started digging into such model of app monetization. They let us taste the blood (app) and based on the experience that they provide you, they kind of lure you into buying the full version of the app. Of course the app has to be BLOODY good!
But it helps users like us get a feel of the app before we purchase it. many a times a paid app has amazing screenshots but when you purchase the app, it turns out to be a big disappointment. So the Freemium model at least lets you take a sneak peek into the app and then decide for yourself whether you need it or not.
This model is being followed my a majority of app makers because unless you listen to the consumer, you will always find yourself on the wrong side!