Co.Design

Uniqlo's Smartphone Alarm App Is As Sleek As Japanese Pants

And just as reasonably priced, too.

International fashion giant Uniqlo is pretty much Asia’s Gap. They sell easily matched, mass-market-friendly clothing that, admittedly, tends to be a bit more fashion forward than our three-letter alternative. They also occasionally release digital products, like screensavers (I know, right?) and apps.

Wake Up is Uniqlo’s free alarm app that has all the understated style of a well-fitted monochromatic shirt. It’s a replacement for iOS or Android’s own built-in alarms, reskinning them with clear iconography, a soundtrack composed and performed by Keigo Oyamada and Yoko Conno, and voiceovers from a narrator.

In a crowded alarm app market, the idea is clever. The jingle that wakes you is composed to reflect the weather, so the alarm for a rainy day will be a bit different than that for a sunny one. That’s not necessarily helpful—few of us say, "Screw it, I don’t get out of bed for anything less than 68 degrees"— but these songs are quite soothing to wake to, a cross between the Super Mario World soundtrack and Tokyo train station alerts. (Really, if you’ve never visited, those alerts are really quite wonderful.)

The catch is that the narrator is, for lack of a better term, completely intolerable. It’s like Emiliana Torrini has Tourette’s and is completely unable to contain herself from randomly singing that today is "PART! lee! CLOUD! ee!" However, there is a workaround. For whatever reason, the Mandarin speaker available in the options sounds totally normal. It’s as if Japan’s developers localized the app, just assuming that Americans demanded the screeching female voices of anime with all their imported products.

Download it here (iOS) or here (Android).

[Hat tip: Lost at E Minor]

[Image: Clock via Shutterstock]

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4 Comments

  • Michael S.

    This app was much better before they updated it :( 
    I still dream of the day when it will return to it's former glory. 

  • Amy

    Looks like it's not doing so well, at least for iPhone. I was going to download it until I saw that most of the reviews gave it 1 star.

  • auricom

    : are you looking at the world atlas? I was wondering about that too.. in fact, nobody seems to set their alarm for the "normal" 5-7am time.