Tawkon Explains its iPhone Radiation App

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On Monday, it came to light that Tawkon was having a problem getting its radiation app approved by Apple for the App Store. One of the questions that’s been raised is how the app works and whether it provides a useful function. Tawkon has responded to TMO.

The Mac Observer was contacted by Josh Winter, a Tawkon media relations representative, who pointed us to this detailed explanation of the app.

As we have all learned from Apple’s iPhone 4 antenna issues, the cellular network is complex. So are the methods for determining radiation risk. One may wish to have a thorough understanding of how the iPhone operates under various conditions.

For example, internal information about the radiation level is maintained in the iPhone and is accessible. “This information is required by the phone for its normal operation as it needs to know how much power to transmit in order to keep the voice or data connection while the user is talking or on an active data session (browsing, VOIP, etc).” The upshot is that based on various paramaters, the output of the smartphone is constantly changing and can be monitored.

Mr. Winter continued:

 

“The amount of mobile phone non-ionizing radiation we are exposed to is measured in units called SAR (Specific Absorption Rate). Each mobile phone vendor has to comply with the FCC regulations of maximum SAR levels of 1.6 Watts/kg. You can see what your device’s SAR level is here.

 

What most people do not know is that SAR levels of mobile phones are dynamic and change constantly (from zero to the max SAR values of the specific phone model) based on the factors we mentioned above.”

The essay by Tawkon fills in many of the details that allow us to understand better how our smartphones work. There is also a YouTube video that shows the app in operation, but on a BlackBerry — pending App Store approval. It shows how the local environment can affect the output of the phone as it struggles to maintain the connection. That, in turn, could suggest when it might be appropriate to switch to a Bluetooth headset in order to maintain a safer distance from the handset.

All these variables are complex, and while the phone is never allowed to exceed the SAR level of 1.6 Watts/kg, some customers may want to know more about the operation of their phone. Understanding the basics, some intelligent study and the Tawkon app may assist with that process and help minimize one’s overall exposure. That is, if it’s of any concern.

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9 Comments Leave Your Own

Josh

That, in turn, could suggest when it might be appropriate to switch to a Bluetooth headset in order to maintain a safer distance from the handset.

Which assumes that there is some danger posed by the non-ionizing radiation put out by your cell phone.  I won’t say there isn’t, but I know of no evidence that there is.  That’s why it’s called “Non-ionizing” radiation.

However, if I misinterpreted and you are refering to a persons ability to attenuate their own cell phone reception.  In that case the switch to a bluetooth headset might improve otherwise spotty reception. 

If you are one who believes that there is reason to be concerned about this radiation, then a bluetooth headset would be little if any consolation since it would be putting out it’s own radiation.  Those people should use a wired headset to avoid the radiation from electronic devices next to their head. 

That still won’t do anything for the signals passing through you from cell towers and everyone elses cell phone, but what ever helps you sleep at night.

John C. Welch

The essay by Tawkon fills in many of the details that allow us to understand better how our smartphones work. There is also a YouTube video that shows the app in operation, but on a BlackBerry ? pending App Store approval. It shows how the local environment can affect the output of the phone as it struggles to maintain the connection. That, in turn, could suggest when it might be appropriate to switch to a Bluetooth headset in order to maintain a safer distance from the handset.

Yes. Because the non-existent danger posed by a phone operating in the 900/1800/850MHz bands temporarily held against your head only when making/taking a call orders of magnitude worse than a bluetooth transmitter left in your ear for hours that is constantly transmitting, even if just nominally, in the 2402-2480 MHz band.

Bluetooth RF is magically safe, while Cell Phone RF is just as magically daaaaangerous!

telling me to avoid RF by jamming an RF transceiver in my ear? Way not to go.

computerbandgeek

emporarily held against your head only when making/taking a call orders of magnitude worse than a bluetooth transmitter left in your ear for hours that is constantly transmitting

Bingo!

Now excuse me while I bury myself in a cement bunker to prevent cancer.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

This is a conundrum. Hate on garbage science or hate on Apple? What is a troll to do? Fortunately, it is now a resolved conundrum.

Shame on Apple for rejecting this stupid app and giving the developers the resulting press.

There. Fixed!

GaryREM

What is the issue with this app? TAWKON hasnt explained. I’m suspicious there is no approved API for accessing the information they need to work their ‘magic’. They indicated that they were waiting for Apple to make some changes.

I would suspect that at this time that would be a low priority for Apple considering other issues.

computerbandgeek

?m suspicious there is no approved API for accessing the information they need to work their ?magic?

From my limited knowledge, I know that there is a well-documented but unfortunately private API to measure signal strength. I can’t be sure but I would bet my life that they are using that API to estimate the transmit power, which is why Apple is blocking them. Why Apple insists on keeping an API like that private from their CrappStore is a completely different issue on the other hand..

WaltFrench

Why does TMO want to do Tawkon’s dirty work for them?

Tawkon says they want special APIs (they haven’t even figured out how to bypass the existing APIs) so that their product can work. And they had an app rejected? That must be because it claimed to do something that it cannot.

Tawkon has used other tech sites to claim, ?if it’s not Flash and it’s not porn, why?? Transparently disingenuous. Because it (1) claims to do something that it can’t, and (2) would require going around published API’s. Long established rules, for which Apple’s practiced answer is, “don’t let the door hit you in the butt on your way out.”

Unhappy with just being on BlackBerry, the one platform that buys the fewest apps ? probably the clientele most likely to see the phone as an essential tool and least likely to spend money on snake oil, Tawkon is now trying to get low-rent sites (TMO?!?) to pressure Apple for them, to peddle their snake oil.

You even see a “BlackBerry user” shilling the app on Consumer Report’s page where people were discussing CR’s decision to rate the iPhone highest, but withhold a ?Recommended? label. As if FUD and scare tactics about all phones have anything to do with CR, which doesn’t buy into this crap. I recommended that CR not pull the spam bogus “comment” but to tag it to show how the firm works.

If they really wanted to sell apps and thought they had a useful product, they could port their genius idea to Android, which is Open? to their sort of junk. But nope, they’d rather attach to the greater attention surrounding the iPhone.

These guys are bad news. They lie about manufacturers hiding their SAR scores, which, along with very detailed and thoughtful review of health issues, are on the FCC and FDA websites and elsewhere. (Your tax dollars actually at work.) Dishonest app that couldn’t possibly compute SAR accurately. Dishonest relations with websites. Why give them free airtime?

WaltFrench

Why Apple insists on keeping an API like that private from their CrappStore

Nice to see an unbiased viewpoint here. But you’re not going to attract many Concerned Citizens with your schoolyard name-calling.

And in case anybody else has never actually dealt with developing for a smartphone: every phone has private APIs and for many good reasons: sometimes because using a feature slightly wrong can destabilize the whole system (that’d be a big issue with the radio!); sometimes because it’s too much work to publish details that can change across different countries or minor versions; sometimes because hardware changed recently.

All these reasons could well apply to Tawkon, and I trust Apple will not dignify them with a response to their sleazy marketing tactics.

And @computerbandgeek, why would you lurk around a site discussing the iPhone when you are obviously so clueless about communicating with people who want to know how to get the most out of their gear instead of hear bone-headed name-calling?

computerbandgeek

Glad to learn that answering Gary’s question and adding my opinion with a humerous twist is called lutking.

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