Skyfire co-founder Nitin Bhandari is engaged on a brand new strategy to reducing our dependancy to social media and lowering display time with a startup known as ZenScreen.
The startup has raised $700,000 in funding from Opera (now Otello) and various angel traders. It launched iOS and Android apps final month, in addition to a Chrome browser extension.
Bhandari, who additionally served as senior vp of client apps at Opera after the acquisition of Skyfire, mentioned that in his work on cell browsers and apps, he began to fret about whether or not creating extra participating — even addictive — apps was a worthwhile purpose: “The cognitive dissonance was actually consuming at me and my group.”
Present apps lock you out of your browser or smartphone for restricted intervals of time — for instance, I take advantage of Forest to chop down on distractions after I have to give attention to writing. However Bhandari mentioned the “don’t even contact your cellphone” strategy is “simply not sensible” for many individuals.
So ZenScreen consists of a variety of totally different options which might be designed to create what Bhandari mentioned is “nearly like a balanced digital weight loss plan.” (In actual fact, ZenScreen created an “AppKins Digital Well being Pyramid” displaying which apps you should use as a lot as you need, and others that ought to be restricted.) Adults can use it to manage their very own app utilization, in addition to that of their youngsters.
For instance, as a substitute of attempting to maintain you off your cellphone for, say, an hour every morning, ZenScreen provides one thing known as Sensible Mornings, the place you will have 10 minutes to entry social apps, adopted by 20 minutes the place you possibly can solely open work apps and utilities. Equally, you possibly can set limits on how a lot time you spend on social/leisure apps in the course of the day and limit social media once more when it’s near bedtime.
To do that, Bhandari mentioned ZenScreen needed to resolve “a extremely arduous downside to determine which app is getting used and the way lengthy it’s within the foreground.” The corporate makes use of VPN know-how to watch your app utilization, although Bhandari mentioned, “Now we have a really distinctive VPN the place the entire know-how runs proper in your machine and delicate knowledge by no means involves our servers.”
ZenScreen provides entry to private app utilization analytics and its Quiet Time function without spending a dime, then prices $4.99 per 30 days for all the pieces else.
“I truly evaluate our pricing to a gymnasium membership — that’s form of what we’re doing on your mind,” Bahndari mentioned. “If you evaluate it to $80 a month, or $100 a month for the gymnasium, $4.99 looks like such a no brainer if this subject is vital to you.”