The Stack Archive

App looks to conquer unhealthy smartphone addiction

Mon 5 Jan 2015

Indian start-up Emberify has launched a new app seeking to curb society’s growing smartphone addiction, a trend which has raised concern around decline in health and social skills.

The lifestyle app, named Instant, automatically monitors smartphone usage, tracking and visualising how often a user unlocks their mobile device and for how long the screen remains active on a simple bar graph.

The app developer hopes that providing a way to measure and illustrate time spent on mobile devices, as well as the ability to set limits and reminders, users will be more likely to change their habits.

“Instant works on the same principle of fitness trackers, with graphs and limit reminders,” said Emberify founder Shashwat Pradhan. “It is meant to promote a healthy balance between our real lives and those that we live on our smartphones.”

“Instant is designed to promote a balanced lifestyle. By tracking and limiting phone usage on a daily basis, more time can be spent on leisure activities and the people around you,” he continued.

Quantifying smartphone habits has so far been limited to individual app activity. Unlike apps such as Frequency which tracks specific app interaction, Instant monitors overall usage and only requires a brief glance to analyse the collected data.

“I also used to be glued to my device, using it for around 120 minutes a day,” Pradhan said. “Now I have brought it down to 50 minutes since I am more aware.”

Pradhan added that the app does not use more than one percent of battery per day. Instant is free across Google Play, and is available for 99 cents on Blackberry World, with no ads or additional in-app purchases.

“We have received a good amount of feedback from our users so far. We are going to add more contextual tracking for users in the coming versions,” said Padhan.

Future releases are expected to include further lifestyle trackers, including time spent at work and on Facebook, some of which will be in-app purchases.


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