Saturday, 23 March 2013

DIY Mobile Phone Car Application

Using a mobile phone whilst driving is not allowed in the UK. Unless it is connected to a wireless handsfree system for telephony or with a suitable docking cradle, you can be pulled over by the police. The word "using a mobile phone " doesn't only mean placing a call but could be anything as long as you are caught fiddling it with your hands. The consequences could be 3 points added to your driving license and a fixed penalty or a summons to court. A lot of inconveniences. 

As answering a call is the most likely mobile phone activity we do whilst driving, making a car bluetooth enabled is the easy solution. Problem is solved by just buying a bluetooth enabled FM transmitter and a mobile phone car dock or holder to route your calls to the car's stereo system.  But sometimes there are situations where we need to place a call whilst driving. Specially in an emergency like telling your work you're running late or your bleeper went off and need to make a call as soon as possible. Fiddling your phone can be dangerous specially when you need to key in buttons like passcode, choosing the right menu to get to your contacts and finally dialing the number. Touch interfaces can be helpful but still, you need to navigate through menus which could take time and disrupt your concentration.

Dashboard Application

Solution to this is to download a mobile car application like Car Home Ultra or Car Widget for Android OS.  They are free to try but need to be purchased after 10 tries or after 30 days of use. Other free apps of this kind are limited in functionality and have some bugs on it. So if you do not fancy dipping in your pocket to have one of this, the good news is, you can make one yourself!

DIY Car Dashboard Page

First step is to know what do you want to do whilst driving. Like in my case, I want to easily connect my phone to bluetooth so I can be called and can place a call in one push of a button. I also want to listen to the mp3 music stored in it and easily control the loudness of the input from the phone, this is to eliminate crackling noise from the car speaker when the input source is not at a suitable level like to much at the maximum. Navigation is also good to be on standby,so I also need to control data signal. This is to prevent the flow of money from data charges.

Second is to create a page by tapping the bottom left hand key. Tap edit page then create a page by tapping the icon with + sign. 

Third is to add the widgets that you require in the new page you have created. Tap and hold at any empty space  until a menu asking you to add a widget or application appears on the page. If you want to make a shortcut for one touch dialing of a contact, choose  widget, then tap and hold direct dial until it goes back to the new page you've created and then choose from list of contacts that appear.  The toggle switches for bluetooth, wifi and data are not native to the widgets so if you want to put them in the new page, you need to download them from google play. You also have the choice to just use the native control by swiping your fingers downwards from the top of your S3. The same with the volume control. You need to download it as using the physical volume buttons is not easy specially when the phone is in a cradle or holder.

And here's my personalized page when I am on the go! I can toggle data, in case I need to go internet for some reason, toggle bluetooth in case there's a problem in the connection, just one touch to make direct dial to my most called contacts, MP3 music player, volume for media, phone etc, and even screen brightness. Thay are all in one page and available in just a touch. The volume control is quite good as you can customize it. Another good thing is it can work in the same page rather than opening a different window when activated.

The additional widgets I downloaded before I can add are Bluetooth and Wifi Switch (CurveFish), Data Switch (Hongyu Wang) and Slider Widget - Volumes (Hinternoffapps). I used the Samsung S3 for this post but I am sure you can also do this to other smartphones running Android.

No comments:

Post a Comment


Popular Posts