This might be the first time you hear about it, but Samsung has quietly rolled out a special walking app that alerts distracted pedestrians anytime they’re about to bump into a wall or cross at a red light – but nobody is using it.
While Walk Mode landed on the Google Play store in mid-May, it appears to have slipped under the radar, accumulating a total of less than 500 installs since launching. According to the information, the software was developed by Samsung’s India-based research and development in the city of Noida.
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One of the reasons Walk Mode has remained almost invisible so far is that it downloads have purportedly been restricted exclusively to India. But nothing slips past Reddit.
To keep you alert, the app uses the “sensors on your phone to notify you if there is any danger nearby.” Samsung’s research team hasn’t explained exactly how and exactly which sensors the software makes use of.
Walk Mode comes with four different modes. For example, Unsafe Walking Alerts notify “you about any unsafe steps you take when using your phone while walking.” Horn Detection, on the other hand, automatically detects vehicle horns to alert you about nearby cars.
It also has a Safe Walker Badge system that rewards you for safe steps as well as a functionality to disable walking notifications on lock screen – though the latter feature is available solely on Samsung phones.
In case you live outside of India but still want to try out the app, Redditors have shared an APK that you can download (at your own risk) from this link.
We downloaded the APK to test out the app on a Galaxy S6, and while it seems to be functional – it does have some kinks.
As soon as you turn on Walk Mode, the app pulls up a little red dot in the upper right corner of your screen. This indicates it is actively monitoring your steps for danger. The problem is that it seems it only warns users about potentially dangerous objects that appear right below your phone (where the camera is). This would also explain why it didn’t tell us we’re about to walk into a wall on a few occasions.
We’re yet to test out the horn-detection mode out on the streets, but it appears Samsung is not entirely sure about how safe it is. This is what the company says about Walk Mode:
Always exercise caution while walking and using your device at the same time. Samsung shall not be responsible for any loss or damage arising from non-compliance with any applicable laws, regulations, or guidelines.
Use of mobile phones while walking should be avoided. Intent of Walk Mode is only to caution you to refrain from using mobile phones while walking.
So in case I were you: I’d just keep my head up when traffic is busy.