Countdown apps are nothing new. I remember the last countdown app I used. It was back before BlackBerry 10 landed and it was an app that counted down to the BlackBerry 10 launch day. It was a pretty cool app that included a BBM avatar with the number of days left so you could remind everyone else too. I haven't really used at any countdown apps since but one has recently come across my radar in the form of Target Dates.
Target Dates has a simple interface and adding events to the countdown is very easy. Just tap the New (+) icon and start adding in the information for that event. One nice thing is that you can add an icon for the event to make it stand out in your list. You can't add your own but there are loads of icons to choose from - plain coloured icons, airplane for flights, cutlery for food, sports icons, shopping icons. You'll definitely find something there relevant to the event you're counting down to. You then set the date and time, as well as set a ringtone too, this would probably be much better labelled as notification alert or similar, rather than ringtone. You can also set the font colour of the countdown number.
Once you have everything set, just hit Save in the top right. It will be added to the main app screen along with other countdown events. The other icon along the bottom Action bar lets you change the size of the icons, for if you wanted to be able to view more on the screen. There are three icons sizes to toggle through - small, medium and large.
You can set e-mail and text templates too and when setting a countdown you can choose whether to send these for the event. The e-mail and text templates option is found in the overflow menu (three dots in the bottom right corner). You can choose what account to send from and the recipients for the message. There is also an option to include an attachment too. Handy for events with flyers. If you have no templates, only Do Nothing appears in the drop down menu for e-mail and text.
Target Dates is also headless, so you don't need to have the app running as an Active Frame. Though, if you do, it scrolls through all your countdown events including the number of days left until the event.
When setting your countdown, you also have the option to have it come through to the Hub too. It shows up in the Notifications tab in the Hub. One thing about having this option ticked is that you end up having to notification sounds, if you set one for the event via the app. What I would probably prefer is some toast notification when you reach 0.
One other thing I would like to see is improvements to the countdown list itself. Right now it just displays the countdown events in the order you added them. If possible, I would like to see it adjust overtime, as events come and go. Or at least have the evens listed chronologically with the upcoming event listed first.
My only niggle with Target Dates is that once the notification alerts is played there is no way to turn it off, you have to let it run through. This isn't much of a problem when you use a short sounding alert but for longer ones, it can be annoying. And if you don't choose to also be notified to the Hub, all you have is this notification and you may end up wondering what on earth is it for. A toast notification with a Dismiss option would be most welcome. Otherwise, it's a simple app that does it's job. Counts down to events.
Target Dates just the job it sets out to do. Counts down to events. For those who like Active Frame, you can see your upcoming events and also see how many days left until then. It's nice that you can choose an icon to suit the target event. It could do with some fixing up, like include a toast notification and a way to stop the alert. If you're looking for a countdown type app, Target Dates will do the job for you. Plus, it's headless. You only need to have the app open if you want to add an event to the list.
Target Dates is available for all BlackBerry 10 smartphones and costs $0.99.