While car makers continue to expand the size of head unit screens, Android smartphone users have another option, a completely voice-powered DriveSync connected car Android app for CarPlay-like features.
The app was developed to minimize visual distraction with tap-and-talk voice controls to play music, Tweet, talk, text, email and post updates to Facebook.
The interface is larger than the tiny icons you usually seen on a smartphone. Smart burst technology allows for drivers to send and receive audio text messages. There are easy ways to access Internet radio, play music and operate navigation.
To start the voice app your tap the top of the phone. The Simple interface is designed for in-car use with quick app controls.
I tried it briefly, after installation I had to sign up and sign into an account. I would recommend signing into the account before embarking on any trip. The voice is a British female voice and I used American pronunciation. Some of the names in my contacts were pronounced British style. Instead of “Cook” like the person who cooks in restaurants, she said “Cookie” for the last name “Cooke.” Of course I still know who the person was. The app only works in portrait mode which you may or may not like.
Before using DriveSync while driving, it would be a good idea to practice the commands while you are not driving with the smartphone at a similar distance to the way you will mount it in the car. A car mount is your best option for use. The DriveSync app is in Beta and does have a lot to offer if you must use a smartphone while driving. Check back next week when we look at other connected car software options.
Before using DriveSync or another or app designed for car use, you have to make sure you are not violating state laws. For instance, in the State of Utah it is illegal to text while driving but cell phone use is allowed. Utah also prohibits “careless driving” — which essentially refers to any moving violation that is committed while distracted by use of a hand-held cellphone or similar activities.
The DriveSync app does take a while to download it is 95.8 MB. I personally have no need to connect with Facebook and Twitter while driving. Connected Internet Radio however is really useful while on long drives where there are not many great radio stations.
A video from YouTube demonstrates how the app works. Since the app is still in Beta, it’s worth a try as long as you drive DriveSync first and don’t do anything really foolish.