What’s Good: Provides a single location for important information about a phone owner in case of emergency; free app ($0.00).
What’s Bad: It is unclear to me how anyone would know to look for the ICE app for this information; no user-defined fields.
The Verdict: I’m skeptical that someone would look for, let alone find, the ICE app on an Android phone in the event of an actual emergency. If anything EMS would look in a device’s phonebook for an “ICE” entry.
There are several “ICE” apps available in the market, but only one of them is free, which seems like a good place to start when evaluating apps of unknown quality or usefulness. The ICE app is very simple and straightforward, with the user prompted to enter pertinent information immediately upon opening the app fir the first time. In addition to linking to up to three contacts to be used for “in case of emergency’ contacts, the app stores the phone owner’s name, address, birthday, blood type, medicines, doctor’s name, and allergies.
After inserting as much or as little information as desired, anyone who opens the app will be shown the “call” tab on which the user may select one or more emergency contacts to dial. The app links directly into the devices phonebook so one touch of the emergency contact’s name will immediately initiate a call to the emergency contact’s phone number from the device. Rather than initiating a call to the emergency contact, a user may select the “information” tab where the all the user’s information is stored.
I have very mixed emotions about the ICE app. On the one hand, any attempt to provide EMS officials with potentially life-saving information is a good thing. On the other hand, any user without proper authorization to handle the phone may get their hands on this personal information. My biggest problem with the app is that the information is stored in a standalone app and not in the user’s phonebook under a contact called “ICE.” I’ve had an “ICE” contact in my phonebook for as long as I can remember and so have many of my friends and relatives. This option is also free of charge and doesn’t present any undue confusion to an EMS or hospital worker who may be unfamiliar with the Android OS (or any smartphone OS for that matter).
What do you think, Android faithful? Is the ICE app just what the doctor ordered or does it present too much confusion in a situation where time is of the essence? Let me know in the comments!