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Roximity App Debuts, Lets Drivers Know About Deals Nearby

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Last year, we told you about Roximity, a new location-based app that alerts smartphone owners to nearby deals. The app won the Ford SYNC App Developer Challenge, and now, after nearly a year of refinement, it's launched for Apple devices, with an Android version in the pipeline.

The way it works is pretty simple: just download the Roximity app from iTunes, set up a free account, and adjust your notification settings. You can tweak the number of alerts you receive in a day, week, or month, and you can set the distance standing between you and potential deals -- one mile, five miles, and so on.

That makes Roximity sound a little like Foursquare or even Facebook, both of which alert users to nearby bargains. There are, however, a couple of differences:

1. Roximity offers push notifications, meaning that you don't have to check in to any business to see deals. If there's a bargain nearby, a notification will automatically appear on your home screen.

2. Roximity is compatible with Ford's SYNC App Link, which means that once you plug your phone into your Ford's infotainment system, Roximity can read special deals to you while you're driving. That can either happen at your request -- when you ask for, say, lunch deals -- or as you pass by a business offering bargains.

Our take

Like it or not, this is where technology is heading. From Roximity to the dazzling new "Google Glasses", the future is all about augmented reality -- additional layers of data that can be accessed on-the-fly. No more clumsy checking in: you'll be able to see reviews, notes left by friends, and special deals just by glancing at your smartphone, windshield, headgear, or other device.

That said, Roximity isn't perfect yet, so unless you're a very early adopter, it's probably best to let this one simmer a bit.

For starters, the Roximity website is terrible, user-unfriendly, and its database doesn't seem to link up to the one serving smartphones. That doesn't inspire us with confidence.

More importantly, Roximity doesn't offer too many deals yet, and it hasn't really explained how new deals get listed. We've found a few in our area, which leads us to believe that the developers have tapped into some coupon network we don't know about -- one that apparently specializes in ghost tours and STD testing -- but we can't be sure. We assume that the deals will improve in quality and quantity once more merchants sign up, but for now...well, how many STD tests does one person need?

If you're raring to get a jump on your peers, we suggest sticking with the iPhone version of Roximity. You can download it using the iTunes app or by clicking here.

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