U.S. government blows $200,000 on useless smartphone app

App is 'extremely slow, it looks like butt, and it crashes all the time.'
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Senior Contributing Editor

Times are tough, but that doesn't stop the U.S. government from blowing $200,000 on a smartphone app that an Android developer described as 'completely horrible in every way.'


The app in question is the OSHA's (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) Heat Safety Tool. Essentially it is a temperature converter that  takes the current temperature in a location and transforms that into a 'safety level.'

Problem is, it doesn't work. Android developer Rich Jones has this to say about it:

Firstly, it isn't actually capable of the function it is supposed to do. When I first tried the application, it told me that it was currently 140F in Boston. It is also extremely slow, it looks like butt, and it crashes all the time. It is completely horrible in every way. If I had to reproduce it, I'd say that it would take be about 6 hours at the maximum. At my hourly rate of $100, that's $600. Now, the quality of the product didn't surprise me a huge amount - I don't ever expect very much from the federal government. Still, I was curious about how much we taxpayers payed for the program - and it knocked me off my feet.

Jones filed a Freedom of Information Act request to discover the cost of developing the application and was shocked by what he was told.

The application cost $106,467 for the Android version, and an additional $96,000 for the iPhone and (non-existent) BlackBerry version. That's more than $200,000 for less than $2,000 worth of non-functional temperature converters.

The app was developed by Eastern Research Group Inc, a Massachusetts based company owned by AEA Technology, a British corporation.

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