Our growing reliance on our mobile phones is becoming something of a standing joke. We laugh as people refuse to put them down to eat, we chuckle as our conversations are stopped mid-flow by an incoming text. But just how serious is the problem of ‘smartphone slavery’? Should we be worried?
Menthal is a free Android app which aims to help answer this sort of question by monitoring how much we use our phones and what for. It will note each time you unlock the phone, start an app or receive a call. It also, interestingly, offers up a comparison between your usage and that of the general population of users. Are you an addict compared to most people?
The totality of the stats that the app gathers about your usage is then distilled down to a single score which delivers your phone addiction. The higher the number, the more you use the phone each day. The developers say it takes up to 3 days to get accurate statistics about your use pattern, which makes sense, and because it’s a project from the University of Bonn, you can be happy that your data will eventually go towards making the world a better place.
Oh and no information is stored on their servers, just encrypted stats about the particular things you do with your phone day to day (e.g. sent an SMS message with 103 characters). The data flow is also very modest (around 100kb a day, usually sent over WiFi by preference) which means that your battery won’t suffer or your data plan. You can download the app from here.