When you buy a new smartphone, is the first thing you look at what the specific absorption rate (SAR) is of the device you’re interesting in spending cash on? Me neither, but according to some health organizations, we should be paying attention to mobile phone radiation.
Rather than try and convince people to stop using their smartphones for phone calls (ain’t gonna happen), Israeli startup tawkon has developed applications that let people minimize exposure to cellular radiation while they continue using their mobile phones.
Essentially, tawkon monitors and analyzes your mobile phone’s radiation using proprietary technology, enabling you to “talk on” as usual and receive prompts to avoid radiation when you really need to. According to the company, radiation levels emitted from mobile phones can fluctuate significantly during a call, due to a variety of dynamic factors.
Tawkon alerts users when those radiation levels cross a predefined threshold, and offers suggestions to reduce exposure, based on real-time environment and usage factors.
Apple has opted to reject the somewhat controversial application – for whatever reason – and hasn’t communicated with the startup in many months. The company does have applications for BlackBerry devices, and recently launched an Android-compatible version.
Now, the company is releasing a “limited edition beta” version specifically designed for Google’s Nexus S (which, in case you’re still with us, boasts a SAR more than 50 percent lower than the Nexus One, its predecessor).
Its timing is impeccable – starting next month, the City of San Francisco’s cell phone right-to-know ordinance (PDF) goes into effect, requiring retailers to disclose Specific Absorption Rate values for cell phones.
Here’s a video of the tawkon Android app: