Feeds

GPS alarm seems alarmingly useless

You're safe with me. Unless stuff crashes

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

The Freedom Personal Safety is a GPS device that's supposed to alert loved ones that you're in trouble, but actually seems about as trustworthy as the only other man in the train carriage who appears to have moved a seat closer to you every time you look.

The product will set you back £79.95, but comes in a nice yellow box which promises "Peace of mind in your pocket".

The idea is that just sliding the switch on the side of the key-fob-sized device immediately alerts your chosen contact. But it can only do that if you're running the appropriate application on your smartphone, which needs to be within ten meters, and not have been crashed by the application itself.

Key-Fob GPS

To be fair we only had a couple of crashes, though even one would be too many on an application that promises to improve safety. Even more worryingly we didn't manage to get a successful alert sent out even when the application was running fine, which makes us glad it wasn't a real emergency.

If it had been a real emergency we'd probably have phoned someone, on our smartphone. That might take too long, though, so perhaps we'd have installed GPS.SOS, a $20 application for Windows Phones that not only sends out GPS details but also switches our handset to auto-answer in case we're too busy fighting off attackers to respond to a call.

Freedom argues that its device can be operated without looking and from within a pocket, and is hard to set off accidentally. All of this is true, but seems a minor point when set against the need to keep the thing charged as well as ensuring the host application is running on a Windows Phone, BlackBerry or Symbian handset, all the time. The company also tells us their GPS is much more sensitive, which is also probably true given the cheap GPS components thrown into most smartphones.

Freedom Personal Safety also provides a polling function; if the application is running then a suitably-formatted SMS message from the right contact will elicit a location-based response. It's possible one might be able to convince one's significant other or children to install the software, though again it's hard to imagine that an on-device application wouldn't do the same thing for less money.

But perhaps we're being too closed-minded about the possible applications for the Freedom Personal Safety. If you can think of a better use for it then do let us know. ®

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
YOU are the threat: True confessions of real-life sysadmins
Who will save the systems from the men and women who save the systems from you?
Download alert: Nearly ALL top 100 Android, iOS paid apps hacked
Attack of the Clones? Yeah, but much, much scarier – report
Broadband sellers in the UK are UP TO no good, says Which?
Speedy network claims only apply to 10% of customers
Virgin Media struck dumb by NATIONWIDE packet loss balls-up
Turning it off and on again fixes glitch 12 HOURS LATER
Ofcom snatches 700MHz off digital telly, hands it to mobile data providers
Hungry mobe'n'slab-waving Blighty swallows spectrum
Fujitsu CTO: We'll be 3D-printing tech execs in 15 years
Fleshy techie disses network neutrality, helmet-less motorcyclists
Facebook, working on Facebook at Work, works on Facebook. At Work
You don't want your cat or drunk pics at the office
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
The Heartbleed Bug: how to protect your business with Symantec
What happens when the next Heartbleed (or worse) comes along, and what can you do to weather another chapter in an all-too-familiar string of debilitating attacks?
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.