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Review Cabin - Family Tasks +Location
Get cosy with family tracking
Author: Tariq Abdulla
Date: 06 Jul 2017, tested on HTC One S
Interesting functionality, completely free, no ads
Cabin for Android is a family tracking/management app which you can use to share your current location and battery life, send messages to each other, and set reminders for things that need to be done. The interface of Cabin is OK – I got the hang of it without any trouble – but I feel like it could be simplified to make some features, like the family map, easier to find. My wife would probably love the ability to check where I am all the time, and to send endless reminders for things she asked me to do already. Luckily for me, Cabin isn’t available for iPhone yet, so I tried it with a friend instead.
There are a few quirks in Cabin for Android that should really have been sorted out during testing. The family map shows you where each person is on their own separate map; whereas it would make more sense to show where everybody is on the same map. By default, each map is zoomed in so close that you can’t really tell where the person is until you zoom a little further out. Strangest of all: anyone can freeze the account of anyone else in their group; and it needs another member to unfreeze them before they can use Cabin again. Even though I was admin of the group, my friend could freeze my account. There were no settings to prevent him being able to do this. Maybe the developers have some extreme situations in mind, where it might be necessary to kick somebody out of the family group completely?
The family compass shows you the direction and distance of your family members from you. Perhaps this is a nice way to think about them when they are a bit more distant than usual; but otherwise it isn’t that useful. Reminders pop up really prominently on your phone, so that you can’t ignore them. It’s handy that you can assign reminders to any combination of people.
With an app like Cabin, the question is always going to be: “do you really want your family to know where you are all the time?” You don’t have to let it track your location all the time of course, and it certainly would give a sense of safety when youngsters want to go out and have fun on their own. It might also be handy for when people are travelling home and can’t send frequent updates: when driving for example. Overall Cabin for Android is a good way to organise reminders and finding your family members’ locations, but the interface needs tidying up.
In Cabin, as in real life, you can only have one family, and you can't choose who they are (you have to share with your whole family, or nobody at all). Actually, I feel that in trying to reflect how families work, they have overlooked the fact that everybody has a different situation. Some people are sure to require more flexibility, and the ability to create multiple "family" groups. Other possible use cases for Cabin might be an individual who wants to share their location with a trusted friend for safety; or a large group of friends that want to explore an unfamiliar city in pairs and then find each other easily later on.