|App review: Shout for Android|
Monday, 26 March 2012 14:00
I've had the pleasure of being given the opportunity to try out the soon-to-be-released Shout mobile application from Samsung, sponsors of the Android app (in partnership with Tracker).
It was delivered to me with much excitement and I've found the hype to be justified.
For the benefit of those who may not be familiar with the campaign, Shout SA is an initiative that calls on responsible citizenship for a safer South Africa. Shout SA was founded by local R&B and Kwaito stars, Danny K and Kabelo, respectively.
Developed by Cytrus, the Shout SA app crowd sources information related to crime and points the user to nearby emergency services which can be found and called within a few clicks.
A user is located immediately upon launch (switching on GPS gives more accurate results) but it's also possible to enter an address manually. This is helpful when checking out an area before heading out. A map of the user's surrounding area is shown along with points of interest, so at a glance it's possible to get a picture of crime activity in an area. Clicking on an icon gives additional details. I like that there's an option to view items as a list, which could be easier to read in some cases. Crimes can be viewed by type, location and period.
Features available to users are:
> Reporting a Crime (done via the app itself or sending an SMS to Crime Line).
> Finding crime hotspots and crime details
> Donating money to the cause (donate via SMS or credit card or buy SHOUT track ("You're the Voice")
> Subscribe to crime alerts in the Shout Crime Service (push notification)
> Locate and call emergency services
> Interact with the Shout page on Facebook
Most of these are accessible via the drop-down menu for easy navigation.
There is an option to register or log into the app to get the latest updates on crime in an area. It's not necessary to sign up to use the app, however.
The Shout app comes with a widget - a 4x1 widget (4 icons over one row) consisting of shortcuts to call nearby police, fire and emergency medical services, a panic button of sorts. I have a large 5" screen so the widget doesn't cover the full width but it's not an issue and should fit snugly on most phone screens.
This is the type of app that I get excited about. It's not only good-looking and easy to use but it can make a real difference to people's lives. It gives the ordinary citizen a voice, a chance to contribute to a better whole and all through a convenient medium.
I hope it inspires the creation of more locally relevant mobile applications and encourages South Africans to see more value to their smartphones beyond basic telephony.
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