One of the no-brainer use cases for smartwatches is providing users with an easy way to call for help, and yet in many cases it's a multi-step process that requires an accompanying phone. Fossil is planning to address this gap in the market by partnering with digital safety platform Noonlight to integrate a discreet 911 alert button on its fourth generation smartwatches. The application will come pre-installed (and at no extra cost) on the new Wear OS-powered Fossil smartwatches. Meanwhile, those that have already shipped will receive an update rolling out soon. Read More
Given Japan's propensity for earthquakes and tsunamis, having a standardized system to alert people of the risk of danger would be a beneficial tool to prevent injury. Unfortunately, this alert system had been implemented at the carrier level, requiring carrier-specific apps. For users of unlocked phones on an MVNO, the ability to receive these notifications ranged from zero to inconsistent, dependent on the model of phone used. Now, the Telecommunications Carriers Association has announced that as of Android 8.1, these phones can receive emergency alerts. Read More
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recently announced the addition of a new alert program, Blue Alert, to the nation's emergency alerting systems. The new service is intended to notify the public of threats to law enforcement in real time. With the creation of a dedicated Blue Alert event code in the Emergency Alert System, state and local law enforcement will have the capability to push immediate warnings out to the public via broadcast, cable, and satellite providers, as well as to consumer smartphones through the Wireless Emergency Alert system.
Much like both the SILVER and AMBER alert programs, and utilizing the same notification system, Blue Alerts aim to warn the general public of threats to public safety and/or imminent danger. Read More
It's long been possible to receive important emergency alerts on your Android device, and with the introduction of the 8.1 developer preview the settings have been given a bit of a makeover. This one can definitely be filed with the other minor but useful dev preview changes. As well as a reorganization of the alerts section in the settings, there's also a history list so you can see previous alerts, including those you've accidentally dismissed. Read More