Minimalist countdowns with Fling
Fling is a minimalist timer app that simply provides users with the ability to set up their own custom countdown and alarm with the minimum of fuss. After the initial tutorial, which can be revisited at any time, the app is completely gesture-controlled. Swiping up increases the amount of time on the timer in one-minute intervals. Swiping down decreases it in the same way. Swiping from left to right changes the display between a simple text-based display that simply reads “[x] Minutes” and a countdown clock with hours, minutes and seconds. Swiping from right to left allows for a piece of custom text to be written beneath the timer, so the user is reminded of what the countdown is for. Swiping from right to left again deletes the text, and it is not saved for the next time the title feature is used. The timer starts the moment it is set, and can be stopped early by triple-tapping on the screen, which also resets it to zero.
That is essentially everything Fling does. It’s rather light on features right now, but it achieves what it sets out to do with minimum fuss and an attractive, minimalist aesthetic. There are some nice little touches in the app, too — the background color of the screen changes as the timer proceeds, for example, changing sharply from soft blue to a bold, deep pink color when the timer expires. This helps make it clear when the timer has expired even if the device’s sound is off.
There are one or two aspects where the app could be improved, however. For example, it would perhaps be beneficial for some users to be able to set hours, minutes and seconds independently from the non-text countdown clock view. At present, if you want to set a timer for any longer than a few minutes, you have to be prepared to do a lot of bottom-to-top swiping, and there’s no facility to set timers for less than a minute in length. As with many other apps, the top-to-bottom swipe gesture (required to reduce the time on the clock) tends to have the habit of summoning Notification Center when it is not wanted. It would be good to have the option for an alternative input method — perhaps a simple keypad or “up/down” buttons — for those who do not like the gestural controls. The gestural controls themselves also need some work: their sensitivity is variable and they sometimes fail to register simple movements accurately. At other times, they recognize the wrong gesture — on one occasion, while attempting to dismiss the unwanted Notification Center having accidentally summoned it, Fling appeared to think I had triple-tapped the screen, which immediately causes the timer to expire and the alarm to sound.
These issues aside, Fling is a simple, fairly elegant app that sets out to fulfil a clear purpose and succeeds in that. For free, it’s certainly a solid app, but for users to pick Fling’s charming minimalism over and above more fully-featured timer apps, the team at PixelBit should look at resolving the few issues it has and implementing a few extra features.
You can follow Fling’s progress with AppData, our tracking service for mobile and social apps and developers.