Review: Tawkon for BlackBerry
With the mobile industry heating up and astonishing even the most optimistic industry experts with its unprecedented numbers, it is becoming increasingly difficult to stand out from the crowd. This is true for mobile phone manufacturers, it is true for mobile operating systems, and it is most blatant for the independent mobile software developer.
While the mobile market might have been obsessed with hardware just a few years back (hence the success of the wildly popular Razr), today the name of the game is apps. Everyone is talking about them, and consumers now see mobile apps as one of the main considerations when purchasing a mobile device.
With the millions of combined apps out there across all the mobile platforms, how can a developer get his app noticed by consumers? Well, obviously, there is no one answer to this question, and whoever can figure it out will make a nice bundle, but based on the apps we have seen, there is definitely a pattern when it comes to successful apps.
To succeed in this space, a mobile developer needs two factors. One is simplicity. This seems to be the overwhelming factor in the success of the various mobile platforms, and it is also a crucial characteristic when it comes to mobile apps. Consumers want to open an app for the first time and be able to understand immediately how to use the app. An app that has a user confused after more than 20 seconds is an app that is generally closed and deleted immediately.
The second factor is that the app must fill some sort of need. That need can be something as simple as pure entertainment, or it can be something as serious as preventing mobile phone radiation.
Tawkon, an app developed for the past year and a half by serial entrepreneurs in Israel possesses both the above characteristics. The interface is as intuitive as they come, and the app runs in the background only showing its face when it is trying to help you reduce your exposure to your BlackBerry’s radiation. You do not even know it is there, until you need to know, and then it makes sure you get the message.
On the second front, mobile phone radiation is a very hot topic, especially now with all the new studies we are reading about. COSMOS and Interphone are two large scale projects that either just launched or was just concluded. While, the results of the interphone study are non conclusive, one thing is clear. The increased use of mobile phones, beyond a certain number of hours, is hazardous to your health. What exactly the dangers are is up for debate, but everyone agrees, too much use should be avoided.
Cosmos on the other hand, just launched a large sale international study that is going to be conducted over the next thirty years. Now I think we can all agree, we do not want to wait thirty years, only to find out, we could have been avoiding radiation this whole time.
The latest development in this field is of course the new San Francisco law that cell phones must have labels on them disclosing their specific levels of radiation.
Tawkon is a new app now available exclusively on BlackBerry that not only tells you when you are exposed to high radiation, it also tells you how to reduce it, and enables you to map out your home or office based on radiation levels in the various rooms.
Now with an app that deals with such a serious and life changing issue, you would not expect to see a UI that can compete with the best of the mobile apps out there, but Tawkon managed to pull it off.
The interface of Tawkon is simplistic and completely obvious to the user with the crucial settings available and no more. Sometimes, as we all know, less is more.
So, here is how it all works. When you open Tawkon, you are presented with a nice gauge that goes from green to red depending on the level of radiation in your location. Obviously green means you are OK to talk on (hence the name Tawkon), yellow means you are approaching dangerous territory, and red means your phone is now emitting high levels of radiation.
This mode of the app is called Prediction Mode and it enables you to move from room to room in your home or work, see the levels of radiation in the various locations, and use that information to determine where you will conduct your phone calls in the future.
In Prediction Mode, when you press the phone’s Menu button, you have a concise list of options including your current level of radiation, statistics for the last call or the accumulated statistics of how much radiation your were exposed to over the last week, month, or six months.
These statistics might be the most important part of the app since we know that the effects of mobile radiation are accumulative and not immediate. Using the well designed charts that present your overall exposure, you can make the necessary adjustments to the way you use your mobile phone.
You also have the Settings screen, which once again, is not too complicated with the ability to customize the way the phone notifies you when you are in a call. The options are None, Vibrate, Sound, or Vibrate and Sound. I found the sound alone to be most convenient since your phone vibrating while in a call might annoy some people.
The Settings screen also offers the ability to customize the app’s sensitivity at levels of High, Medium, or Low.
Lastly, there is a more information button, which simply launches a link to Tawkon.com.
Like I said, the app is as simple and as intuitive as they get, but it does manage to fill an important need. I have been using the app for some time, and while it is a new app that is constantly being enhanced by the developers, all in all, I am enjoying Tawkon a lot.
The developers did a great job with the design of the UI and from what I hear; they are working on various versions of Tawkon for the different mobile operating systems.
As a person who reviews mobile apps very often, I have many apps installed on my multiple phones, but something tells me that somewhere down the line, I will look back and realize this was the most important mobile app I ever installed.
- Unique solution
- Intuitive interface
- Multiple device support
- No advanced settings
- Relatively high price tag