Features & Use
Test device: Samsung Galaxy Nexus S
Android version: 2.3.6
TrackRoom is 2,71 MB big and hence it doesn’t take long before it’s downloaded and ready to go. So what exactly is TrackRoom? According to the developers TrackRoom lets you ‘Share your location with some of your friends - occasionally and secure!’ Right, well, grammatical dodginess aside that doesn’t sound too bad.
I recall a few situations at music festivals and New Year’s parties—telephone networks would be so overloaded that I couldn’t get a call through to anyone. This meant that meeting my friends was left entirely up to chance. Now, while this type of scenario may be a good way to practice one’s patience, it’s also a sure way to generate stress and miss out on fun… Which is why my ears pricked up when I heard that TrackRoom can supposedly help circumvent such situations—for good. All it takes is a (fully charged) smartphone and a working internet connection.
I start up the app and register. I’m happy to see that there’s a menu option labeled ‘How it works’. Here’s a brief summary:
Use the phone book to access all of your contacts that have registered with the mobile numbers at TrackRoom. This means you don’t have to manage your contacts—neat! The people you decide to invite to a TrackRoom are notified via push-notification. As soon as someone accepts an invitation their position is displayed – and updated – on a map. There’s also a group chat, again with push-notifications. All data is deleted once a TrackRoom has ended; the app promises not to comprise location profiles or gather data.
In order to register you have to enter your number and a nickname. An activation code is sent to you, and that’s about all there is to it.
There are four menu options in the next screen:
• More (change your nickname, share via Facebook or Twitter, look up FAQs and privacy statement)
I asked two of my colleagues to install the app so that I would have contacts with whom I can test TrackRoom with. My friends and colleagues are the best, and so within minutes we can get cracking on doing a few test runs. I hit the Contact tab and then the sync icon and my new contacts, their nicknames and numbers pop up on the display. The time it takes to sync will vary according to how many contacts you have.
In order to set up a TrackRoom I hit the icon in the top right corner. I then enter a name, description and time of duration (you can choose between 1,3, 6 or 12 hours). And that’s all there is to it, I sit back and wait for my contacts to accept the TrackRoom invitation.
A new screen pops up showing a map that displays the TrackRoom name and a few other options and information. Four icons are available:
• Change the map display (satellite or street view)
• Show my location
• Create a new meeting point
• Invite contacts to TrackRoom
A bar at the bottom of the display shows the latest group chat messages.
In order to set up a new meeting place I have to long-press on the map on the location I have in mind. I can then enter details regarding the location and time of rendez-vous. My contacts will be notified via push-notification. I am pleasantly surprised by how smoothly everything is working out: messages are sent and received really quickly and the locations are super precise. The app does what it promises to do!
TrackRoom is a great alternative to help you set up meeting places with your friends or colleagues—provided that everyone is a registered TrackRoom user and has internet access. It’s especially useful if you are unfamiliar with your surroundings (think holidays, business trips, music festivals, etc.). The integrated group chat and push messages help keep everyone on track, but be warned—you won’t have any excuses for not finding your people or for showing up late!
Screen & Controls
TrackRoom has a cool minimalistic design, making it easy to navigate the app. The functions are all self-explanatory and the occasional ad banners aren’t bothersome. Setting up new TrackRooms is a piece of cake and the app is very precise.
Speed & Stability
TrackRoom runs very smoothly, provided you have internet access. Switching between different options and functions is easy and the app hasn’t crashed on me at all. Push-notifications are sent out and received really quickly, as are the locations of TrackRoom participants.
TrackRoom is available for free—you can’t ask for more than that!