Windows Phone App Review: Find Amber
Update: The developer has informed us that all proceeds from the ads, besides helping with server costs, will go to missingkids.com.
Find Amber is an Amber Alert app for your Windows Phone that will notify you when authorities issue such an alert in your area.
For those not familiar, an Amber Alert is issued by law enforcement authorities when a child abduction is suspected. The alert is short for America's Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response and was named after 9 year old Amber Hagerman who was kidnapped and killed in 1996. It is designed to alert the public and neighboring law enforcement agencies to be on the look out for the missing child.
Find Amber's design makes use of the Windows Phone panoramic layout with pages for current alerts, Amber Alert resources, and a search and stats page. The current alerts page offers thumbnail pictures (when available) and the basic information on the alert.
Search and Stats page has options to view the most recent alert, view alerts near your current location, view stats on when/where/how many alerts are issued and view alerts by State.
When you pull up an individual alert, Find Amber will display a map of where the child is reported missing from, details on the alert and button controls to call the associated contact number, view the Amber Alert poster and share the alert by email, Facebook or Twitter.
While Find Amber extends the reach of the Amber Alert, the app needs a little fine tuning. First, the settings on Find Amber control Live Tile notifications and the use of your Location Services. By default, these settings are turned off but when you turn them on and exit the app the settings revert back to the default settings. Speaking of location services, it doesn't seem to be very accurate. I'm in Alabama and according to Find Amber I have nine alerts for my location but these alerts are for the State of Alaska.
The other major fix needed is with the State listings of alerts. I found the Alabama alert listings under Colorado. Other State listings were spot on but some were out of place.
As far as missing features are concerned, there isn't a keyword search function or a manual refresh option. If you hear of an Amber Alert and need to search for a specific child a search function would come in handy. While I believe Find Amber refreshes automatically, having the ability to refresh the alerts manually would come in handy as well.
I like the concept of Find Amber because the sooner you can alert the community on these suspected abductions, the greater the odds of a positive resolution. Find Amber has potential but as is, you'll need to be patient with the bugs in the system.
Find Amber is a free, ad supported app that you can find here at the Windows Phone Store.