You’re not alone if you cringe at the sound of the Marimba iPhone ring tone, the default for Apple’s alarm clock. I’ve hated it for about as long as I’ve had my phone, which would probably apply to any repetitive ring tone. But there’s a novel, if bizarre, way to get around the bone-chilling monotony of the ring-tone alarm: a call from a stranger.
That’s how the Wakie app wakes you up: with a one minute phone call from a random person (no awkward goodbyes, the app hangs up for you). The free app, which its maker says has 1.7 million users worldwide, hails from Russia and made its way onto Google and Android phones earlier this year. Now it’s available for iOS users.
Waking to the sound of a stranger’s voice at 6am might sound equally bone-chilling to quieter types. But Wakie CEO and co-founder Hrachik Adjamian told TechCrunch that the exercise is a dose of good medicine: It wakes the mind, forcing a person to think and put effort into talking. That is, if you choose to respond—Wakie told TechCrunch it’s addressing the fact that sleepers often don’t answer, which sends the stranger straight to voicemail.
The awkwardness probably applies less to younger generations, who are more inclined to trade privacy for social connections. The average age for Wakie users? Twenty-six, its cofounder told Quartz in an email.