Kytephone: Child Friendly UI With Big Plans For The Future

Kytephone is out of beta, hitting the Google Play Store yesterday. The free application creates an alternative user interface which is designed to keep children safe from some of the less suitable things found on modern smartphones.  The child’s phone usage can then be monitored by a parent or guardian, who moderates what can be done on the phone through an online dashboard.

The app is very simple to use. A parent signs up online or through the app itself with an email and password. Once signed up, you are logged into the new user interface which is completely impossible for a child to exit. Seriously, I have tried everything to get out of it. I’ve turned the phone off and have even taken the battery out, only to be greeted with Kytephone when the phone boots back up. It even blocks the Ice Cream Sandwich multitasking screen.

The idea behind the application isn’t completely new. We have seen child friendly tablets and phones created in the past, such as the LeapFrog tablet which is a complete tablet dedicated to children. However, these products are very limiting, offering their own apps which often lack the fun or quality of apps available to download for Android. Part of what makes Kytephone so unique is that it allows any application from the Google Play Store, provided the parent allows it.

How child-friendly the app is completely depends on how the parent decides to customize it. Controlled through an online dashboard, an adult can see just about everything the child does on the phone, and moderate everything that happens. For example, an adult can choose which contacts the child can call. There is no phone dial to call numbers which aren’t on the contact list which means there is no way that a child can call a number that hasn’t already been approved by his/her parent. The same rule applies for applications, as I mentioned above, a parent can allow absolutely any application to be on their child’s phone if they choose so.

The online dashboard is an online hub for parents to monitor their child’s phone activity, and it’s extremely impressive. You can see how long their son/daughter has been playing an application, see who they have called and even see their location on a very precise map. The parent can even see photos taken by the child almost the second they are taken, which can then be saved or deleted directly from the browser.

I contacted Martin Drashkov, a Co-Founder of Kytephone to discuss the app. If that name rings a bell, it’s the same Martin Drashkov who created the 23″ MegaPad last summer.

“The response has been great so far because Kytephone offers a well-executed solution to a real problem a lot of parents face.”

“We like to call it “Kid’s first smart phone” since once app takes over, it’s hard to tell that it’s running Android underneath.”

I asked about the future of Kytephone, it seems like a great start but there is still quite a lot missing. Luckily, Martin was on the same page as me on what could be added in the future.

“There’s many features we’ll be adding in the future, both on the phone app to make the experience better for kids and on the dashboard side to make the experience better for parents.  On the app side we’ll be adding SMS messaging along with the same parental controls as making phone calls, while for parents we’d like to introduce more advance parental controls, such as time limits on games. So parents could say “only 1 hour of games per day” or “no gaming during school hours” or both.”

We also discussed the fact that, while it’s currently great for small children, the theme is very limited and older children may want to change the design to make it look less childish.

“Our aim is to have a phone with all the usual features found on regular adult-phones (phone calls, photos, sms, web browsing), but each feature having parental controls.” “For older kids we’d like to be able to provide a version of Kytephone without the child-friendly UI, but with the same controls available to parents.”

“Kytephone today is great for young children, but older kids would resent having to use a kid’s product. At the same time, a number of parents have expressed interest in having the same parental controls, but for teenagers, so there’s definitely a need there. It would be the same app, except parents can easily customize it from the dashboard to make it appropriate for different ages.”

Unfortunately, there are currently no plans to bring the app to iOS or WP7, here’s what Martin had to say.

“No, we don’t have a plans for other platforms. Apple for example would not allow an app like Kytephone that takes over the UI on the App Store. But we think that with Android’s popularity and the number of affordable devices, it’s the best platform out there.”

There is a chance that in the future, Kytephone may come to Android tablets.

“Well, it’s something we’ve looked at and we can do it, but for now we’re concentrating on making a really great kid’s smart phone.” 

Kytephone is available for free from the Google Play Store. Despite being accidentally listed as ‘beta’, the version currently on the store is the full version.

CynanogenMod 9 Music Player APK, Download Now!

For a while it’s been known that the new CynanogenMod 9 ROM is to come with a new version of the default Android music player. The wait is finally over.

You can now download the .apk file of Apollo, the name of the CM9 player. It’s in alpha though, so expect some bugs and issues.

You don’t have to be running an early version of CM9 to run the new media player, but you do need to have a phone with Ice Cream Sandwich for it to work.

Download: Link

 

Mentions for Android, Track Any Link To Your Blog

Since launching Geeks Have Landed back in October, I’ve had no way of tracking how much people were talking about the site on social networks, and how often it was happening. I use Jetpack to count which URL my visitors come from but it fails to identify who is tweeting about the site or how many people are responding to the articles I publish. Part of the reason behind this is URL shorteners which means I can’t do a quick search for ‘geeks have landed’ in Twitter. This isn’t a big issue, but as I’m sure any blog owner will tell you, it’s nice to read the praise your website is getting on social networks.

Last month while I was browsing ICS Holo-themed applications on XDA, I found ‘Mentions‘. I downloaded it without really knowing what it did or how it did it, as I was more focused on stocking my newly ICS themed CM9 Desire S with a bunch of applications to fit it’s design.

What Mentions does is simple. It monitors any links from social networks guiding people to your site. It covers Reddit, Twitter and Google+ and alerts you every time somebody links to the site, even if they have used a URL shortener like Bit.ly.

Unfortunately it doesn’t support Facebook, which is understandable as it protects it’s users privacy a lot more than Twitter and Reddit.

The push feature means that you don’t have to keep refreshing to see if somebody has mentioned your site, you will be told when somebody does.

Is anybody aware of a iOS or PC equivalent of Mentions? If so please leave a comment below.

Flipboard for Android, Download It Now!

Last week we found that the highly popular news reader on iOS was coming to Android, however it was coming out for Samsung Galaxy SIII owners first.

However, XDA member Valcho just happened to have a Samsung’s latest model lying around, and decided to extract the APK file and publish it for the world to enjoy.

It works just like the iPhone version which we saw released late last year, with the magazine style swiping being vertical rather than horizontally on the iPad.

I have tested the APK file on a Galaxy SIII running Android 2.3.6 which works flawlessly. I also have used it on my HTC Desire S running an early version of CM9, and although it had some trouble on the first install, a quick re-install fixed the problem I was experiencing and now works perfectly.

How to download Flipboard on Android

1. Visit this article on your mobile and click the download link below.

2. Once the download has finished, click the notification in your status bar and select install, this may take a while.

3. Done!

(Unknown sources need to be enabled in your settings menu)

DOWNLOAD

Source

 

Billr for iPhone | Split your bills easily

Ever been out for a meal with friends, and get confused at the end of the meal trying to work out who ate what, who is paying for what and who owes who money? I know I have, which is why this app is a huge lifeline from situations like that.

Billr is an app for iPhone which lets you pick how many people are eating with you, how much the cost of each person’s food is, and from that you can estimate how much you should tip.

What brought me to this application was the brilliant looking user interface. I’m always willing to try out any app which has a nice icon and UI such as this, and it just makes the whole experience of navigating the menus a much nicer one.

It costs 69p/$0.99, which isn’t much considering how much you will use this, trust me.

found on BlessThisStuff.com

Time In Numbers – QlockTwo

A couple of weeks ago, we featured a story on a new watch, the QlockTwo, which spells you the time instead of showing the typical hands or digital layout. We loved the futuristic but classy display, and the fact that it took a new approach at time-telling which could always become a conversation starter.

If you can’t afford the almost $300 price-tag, then there is an alternative for iPad and iPhone users, in the form of a new application which mimics the watch’s abilities perfectly.

It costs a pretty reasonable $0.99, or 69p for us in the UK, and for that price it’s certainly worth giving a go, to see if you can get a grip of the way it works before you consider emptying your life savings on the fancy QlockTwo watch or clock.

Image Source

 

Flipboard Coming To Android

Flipboard is officially coming to Android!

Revealed today, the social news reader previously exclusive to iOS will land on Android, starting with an exclusive window for the new Galaxy SIII.

You can sign up for the Android version of Flipboard here.

Flipboard is probably one of the best news readers available, and will no doubt challenge the likes of Pulse and FLUD, which have already secured a place in the Android Market.

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