New Alarm Clock app has math problem for snooze bar

Oh, woe unto the alarm app that fails to wake up the person reviewing it–two days in a row. Further woe when it goes off in the middle of a phone conversation, forcing me to hang up my call and deal with it. More woe, still, when I go to a page on the developer’s Website, and my browser declares that the site contains malware that may try to do bad things to my computer.

You see where this is heading? Alarm Clock PlusV2 has some nice features, but in no way do they make up for the many woes.

The standard Android alarm has been my choice for the past year. I’ve found it incredibly reliable, and generally it does what I need it to do. That said, there’s always room for improvement. I liked the idea of advanced features, so I decided to see what some third-party apps had to offer. Alarm Clock PlusV2 was the first I tried.

What attracted me to Alarm Clock PlusV2 was the claim that its alarm music could start soft and gradually increase in volume. It also promised users the option to wake up to full albums or playlists. The first two days I used the app, it worked really well, and waking up was much less like being electrocuted.

The other thing that drew me to the app was an option that forces you to solve some math problems before the alarm will shut off, thus making sure that your brain is actually awake. You can choose the number of problems to answer, as well as their difficulty. It has some other nice features, too; for one, it mimics Android’s Dock Mode, which might be nice for the vast majority of folks who don’t have a physical dock.

Unfortunately, though, things turned sour rapidly. On the third and fourth days of use, the alarm failed to sound. I thought it was my error the first time, but when it happened again I knew something was wrong. I discovered a bug wherein when I switched my alarm from a song to an album it somehow reset the maximum alarm volume to zero. Zero! Sometimes it does so, and sometimes it doesn’t. That by itself was enough to ruin this app for me.

The next day I got up a little early and was in the middle of a phone call when my alarm went off, beeping and vibrating in my ear, making it impossible to continue my conversation. I had to hang up, solve three math problems, and then call the person back. If I’m in the middle of a call, I think it’s probably a safe assumption that I am, in fact, awake. Maybe the alarm should beep once or twice in case I merely set it so that I don’t burn a pie in the oven, but the full-volume alarm clanging directly in my ear was ridiculous.

It’s a shame, because I thought this app had a lot of potential. In reality it has a long way to go in reliability and ease of use. The final nail in the coffin was when I went to a page on the developer’s site, and each of my browsers (Firefox and Chrome) said that the page hosted malware that could potentially infect my computer.

I don’t know what caused that message, but I wasn’t about to click through to find out. The bottom line is that this developer has a lot of work to do to make this app ready for prime time. Of course, your experience may differ from mine, and it’s certainly a popular app in the Android Market, but buyer beware. My hunt for a new favorite alarm clock continues.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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