The Smartphone App Review

Electric Dawn has just been reviewed by The Smartphone App Review, and I think it’s fair to say that it can be considered a glowing account of the app. It’s certainly a proud moment for me, after so many years since the first iteration of the app appearing on the market.

…a superb alarm clock app that creates a nice ambient atmosphere, waking you up slowly and gently.

And with a resultant score of 90%.

Overall, this is a great alarm app, and comes highly recommended.

You can read the review in full over at The Smartphone App Review.

There are also a few free copies of Alarm Clock – Electric Dawn being given away, look for the promo codes in the review.

I made Electric Dawn Free – a sunrise alarm clock with nature sounds – to help me get going in the mornings

Hi folks,

I’m not much of a morning person so a few years ago I started work on a sunrise alarm app Electric Dawn . These days it’s a pretty mature and stable app. I’m still using it every morning – waking up to the pleasant sounds of birdsong or waves gently crashing on the beach. I found it helped reduce the grogginess I used to get from being jolted awake by the default alarm clock. I do still need to put the phone on the other side of the room to force me out of bed (to turn it off) in the morning – but that’s probably just my problem!

I wondered if anyone has tried Electric Dawn and had any feedback on how they use it, and any thoughts in general?

Thanks! Give me a shout if you have any questions or thoughts! 🙂

You can drop me an email too: .

Five Years

It is just over five years ago that Whimsical Otter launched its first Android app onto the market. Back then I was building and continually improving apps primarily for my own use, then sharing them on the market for others to enjoy. But as the market grew I decided to shift to running the business as a going concern and the focus shifted to the finances. This worked out okay for a while but as the Android market shifted from primarily pay-for-apps towards free-apps supported by in-app-purchases and advertising (in contrast to the apple market where pay-for-apps are perhaps more the norm), this new model no longer worked for Whimsical Otter.

So, in a shift back to the original values, a version of Electric Dawn is now available for free and the focus is back on sharing apps that I want to create and use.

Already in the short time that Electric Dawn Free has been available, people have been finding it really useful. The continuous improvement and development of Electric Dawn owes much to the emails, reviews, and feedback from all the users who have taken the time to get in touch. Five years of evolution whilst retaining the core principles of being robust and straightforward to use.



5 Star User Reviews for Electric Dawn Free Alarm Clock


Electric Dawn the full version is currently installed on over 1000 devices worldwide after 5 years on the market. Electric Dawn Free has reached over 200 users within only a couple of months. That’s a lot of people enjoying a better wake up every day, myself included. This is a really positive impact and something to be proud of indeed!

Here’s to the next chapter for Whimsical Otter and Android app development.

Get it on Google Play

Download Electric Dawn Free Alarm Clock





AndroidTapp Review of Electric Dawn

Recently Electric Dawn was reviewed over on AndroidTapp in a well written, thorough and constructive review. There are some great points raised, and below I’ve expanded on some of these. It’s always good to hear from people who are using these apps to understand what works for them and what could be improved to make the app work better for them. It’s through this process that has seen Electric Dawn evolve over the years to it’s present state, and what will see it continue to improve over the coming years.

The point about limited nature sounds included is quite right. The sounds themselves are high-quality recordings over longer durations (each is around 2 minutes long) to prevent looping too often and provide a more realistic ambience. In the early days of Android devices app size was critical so the number of sounds was kept small to keep the size of the app down. Now though, with more memory available, we can look at adding more sounds to the app! 🙂 Any suggestions for what sounds people would like included are always welcome.

With regards to the feature set of other gentle wake alarms compared to Electric Dawn, we decided that keeping the app as simple and robust as possible whilst still providing flexibility was the strongest feature we could have. That’s why the improvements over the years have been carefully thought through and implemented gradually without compromising simplicity. We’re always happy to receive suggestions from users for improvements that would make the app great for them, but we will always keep the goal of a simple and robust app in mind.

So if you have any thoughts, feedback, or if you just want to say hello then get in touch and leave a reply 🙂

Electric Dawn Reviews

A few more reviews for Electric Dawn in December 2013.

5 Stars : “Great app! Loving that I can use Aqueous Transmission as my alarm instead of forking out £100 for three sounds on a particular brand.”

5 Stars : “Good alternative alarm. Was quite skeptical at first but have to see that have been quite impressed after using it over the past weeks. Gradual nudging followed by the usual alarm when time is up!”

5 Stars : “Best alarm ever. This alarm has made the early hours of a morning that much easier to face. Have had this alarm before on an old phone and so happy to have it again. Excellent stuff.”

5 Stars : “Cool as hell. Totally rocks”

Android app on Google Play

Electric Dawn Reviews

A number of reviews for Electric Dawn in October and November 2013.

4★ “Very nice app Exactly what I was looking for. Nice gentle way to wake up in winter”

5★ “This app is amazing It’s winter here and I feel like I just awoke on a spring morning, puts me in a good mood all day! Will be telling friends and family to get this app, fantastic and great value, thank you!”

5★ “Nice gentle alarm, good price! I feel more awake in the mornings waking up more gently to this alarm clock. And its so worth the small price!”

5★ “Great Alarm Clock Especially when using a tablet due to the available light output”

5★ “Best dawn simulating app I’ve found! A wonderful way to ease into the morning. The app slowly wakes you up, gently increasing volume and brightness.”

5★ “Great Finally something to help in the morning.”

5★ “Great little app Works well, the light is very natural and so are the sounds. If only the cat wouldn’t whack my phone as soon as he hears the birds…”

5★ “Excellent Does everything and a bit more than my £80 Philips dawn simulator alarm which recently broke. Glad I discovered it before I forked out another £80 for a new one.”

5★ “A must have Love it..dont know what I would do without it!!!”

5★ “Just What I Needed! Beautiful app. Incredible response to request from developer.”

4★ “Possibly the best soft alarm I’ve found. A bit quirky. At first didn’t work on my HTC but developer was very responsive. It ended up working beautifully on both my HTC and samsung ohones.”

Android app on Google Play

Electric Dawn Sunrise Video

You can see Electric Dawn’s natural sunrise and birdsong in the youtube video. This is it running on a Samsung S3. Just watch out for pet cats attacking your phone whilst you sleep. 🙂

Three Years of Electric Dawn

Three years. Thirty-two releases. Three major versions. One thousand and twelve downloads. One hundred user ratings.

I first started coding Android apps in late October 2010; three years ago. In that time, I have taken a gentle and gradual approach to developing and refining the apps, including Electric Dawn. Each autumn saw a new surge in downloads, and more constructive user feedback, leading to more improvements ready for the next autumnal wave.

Somewhere in the archives on Joel on Software I remember reading an article (many years ago) that simply stated (I’m paraphrasing here): you get more downloads/sales by improving the product than you will ever get by marketing and advertising. In the early days I did indeed dabble with online advertising (Google Ads and Facebook Ads). But the sum result was a hole in the bank balance and nothing to show for it. After that I focused solely on refining and improving the app based on feedback from some really nice customers. It’s important to remember that it takes time and effort for someone to compose an email detailing the problems they’ve had with your app, or listing out numerous ways they think it could be made better. So I’m always grateful when I receive constructive feedback, and would like to add another big Thank You! to all those who have emailed me or written constructive reviews on Google Play over the years.

As well as the many customers providing feedback, I have also been lucky to have the honest opinion of friends and family. As well as their time taken in trying out early versions. So I’d also like to add another big Thanks! for them.

I believe that I’ve reached an important milestone with Electric Dawn now, and will see how it goes over this winter before making any more changes to it.

Here’s to a winter of sunrises! 🙂

Android PWM LED

One of the improvements I’ve been wanting to add to Electric Dawn since the early days of development is to make use of the Camera LED on the device. Dawn simulators tend to have gradually brightening lights that greatly outshine the average Android screen. The closest option would be to use the Camera LED and gradually brighten this during the sunrise stage. Unfortunately, it still isn’t really feasible using the approach of Java level PWM (Pulse Width Modulation) as my tests this weekend (whilst answering a StackOverflow question) showed.

Multiple Alarms and Snooze

Improvements to Electric Dawn

Multiple Alarm Profiles

Multiple Alarm Profiles

It has been a few months in the making, but the latest version of Electric Dawn now provides the option for multiple alarm profiles and a snooze function.



To Snooze, simply tap the sunrise screen to restart the dawn simulator. Or, if the alarm is already sounding, tap the screen to delay the alarm for a few minutes. You can even change the alarm snooze duration on the preferences screen.