Feeds

GPS alarm seems alarmingly useless

You're safe with me. Unless stuff crashes

Eight steps to building an HP BladeSystem

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. ®

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

More from The Register

next story
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
Apple orders huge MOUNTAIN of 80 MILLION 'Air' iPhone 6s
Bigger, harder trouser bulges foretold for fanbois
Bring back error correction, say Danish 'net boffins
We don't need no steenkin' TCP/IP retransmission and the congestion it causes
GoTenna: How does this 'magic' work?
An ideal product if you believe the Earth is flat
Telstra to KILL 2G network by end of 2016
GSM now stands for Grave-Seeking-Mobile network
Seeking LTE expert to insert small cells into BT customers' places
Is this the first step to a FON-a-like 4G network?
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
BlackBerry: Toss the server, mate... BES is in the CLOUD now
BlackBerry Enterprise Services takes aim at SMEs - but there's a catch
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.