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Apps and Maps - Best Downloads for Drivers

Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 11,077
GM will soon release OnStar smartphone applications for owners to operate controls like door locks or start the engine from miles away. They can also get info like fuel level, available driving range, oil level, tire pressure and other diagnostic information - app is included with the regular OnStar subscription. Sounds like a reasonable deal to me, esp if you've already got OnStar.

I'm a big fan of Google maps. It's my opinion that with a few upgrades, they'll put an end to navigation system companies like Garmin being able to charge $100+ for map updates. They're already pretty good, especially for free.

My phone is relatively low-tech, but my S.O. is an iPhony and a heavy traveler. What are your favorite apps?

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  • fezofezo Manahawkin, NJPosts: 10,376
    Google maps is pretty good - had I not already had a nav unit when I got the latest phone I might have let the phone do all the work.

    Anyone with good Driod apps for the road?
    2015 Mazda 6 Grand Touring, 2014 Mazda 3 Sport Hatchback, 1999 Mazda Miata 2004 Toyota Camry LE, 1999.
  • SylviaSylvia Posts: 1,636
    Gas Cubby - great app for car maintenance
    http://iphoneapps.oreilly.com/2010/01/car-maintenance-gas-mileage.html

    AAA - great for roadside discounts
    http://iphoneapps.oreilly.com/2009/10/roadside-discounts.html

    AAA Roadside Assistance
    http://www.appolicious.com/tech/apps/53690-aaa-roadside-aaa

    Avego - great for carpoolers
    http://www.avego.com/

    Inrix Traffic App - crowdsources and predicts traffic congestion areas
    http://www.inrixtraffic.com/
  • At Edmunds, we're constantly reporting on and testing the latest automotive-related apps. Here's a sample of just a few:

    Google Maps Navigation: http://www.edmunds.com/ownership/audio/articles/161206/article.html

    Free iPhone nav apps: http://www.edmunds.com/ownership/audio/articles/164526/article.html

    Paid iPhone nav apps:http://www.edmunds.com/ownership/audio/articles/159848/article.html

    HD Radio app: http://www.edmunds.com/ownership/audio/articles/162726/article.html

    For more, check out the Car Audio & Electronics Center, http://www.edmunds.com/technology/, and follow Edmunds Daily, http://blogs.edmunds.com/strategies/

    Doug Newcomb, Senior Editor, Technology
  • fezofezo Manahawkin, NJPosts: 10,376
    How about us Droid folks?
    2015 Mazda 6 Grand Touring, 2014 Mazda 3 Sport Hatchback, 1999 Mazda Miata 2004 Toyota Camry LE, 1999.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    (maybe you need this app so you don't hit the car in front while playing with your phone?)

    " When mounted properly in the center of your dash, an iPhone with imaGinyze installed will detect the lane that you're in, marking it with border lines that match up with the painted lines on the road, and filling the inside with a blue overlay."

    imaGinyze augments your driving experience with AR iPhone app (Gizmag)
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    I don't like nanny devices in cars.

    I'm gonna try out INRIX traffic and let you all know what I think.

    Google Navigation (free on my Droid Incredible) is excellent---you can just throw your Garmin away **

    **caveat---for some strange, inexplicable, puzzling reason, there is no dash mount yet available for the Droid Incredible.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    StartTalking and Vlingo allow drivers to text via voice control, completely hands-free.

    Next they'll come up with one that lets you actually talk to someone else in real time. :)

    StartTalking, Vlingo (Straightline)
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    I've plugged the Pandora app into the AUX of my CD deck and it works flawlessly wherever I've driven so far. Sound quality is pretty darn good (not too "bright", but very good volume and not too much distortion). I may do the $36 a year Pandora subscribe to see if sound quality is better. Only downside is that if I'm running Pandora and NAV, even with the car charger plugged in, eventually, on a long day's drive, the cell phone finallly fades out. It gets pretty warm, too, which is a little worrisome, but so far, so good. This is a great APP for free.
  • fezofezo Manahawkin, NJPosts: 10,376
    I love Pandora. Let me know if you try the pay version. I haven't gone that route yet but could be persuaded.
    2015 Mazda 6 Grand Touring, 2014 Mazda 3 Sport Hatchback, 1999 Mazda Miata 2004 Toyota Camry LE, 1999.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    edited November 2010
    I tell 'ya, it's FANTASTIC in the car with the Droid (or probably any other good smartphone). Trick is, you need a deck that has the right AUX jack. Also, I bought a very high quality pigtail to go from the phone to the AUX. Don't cheap out on that.

    CAUTION---the Android protective plastic cover you buy as an accessory interferes with the pigtail plug in---you need to file it down just a little bit or you won't get a good plug-in.
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 11,077
    fezo, we've gone the pay route - really, for $36/year, it is WELL worth it. No ads, no skip-song limits, and no per-month listening limit, plus the sound quality is a bit better. We decided to risk it for that little an amount, and just having the no-ad feature makes it well worth it for us.

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  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    edited December 2010
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    "Not only does it provide a visual record of who was at fault in an accident, but you can also use it to record any other questionable activity that takes place in front of your car. "

    iCar app turns an iPhone into a car accident black box (Gizmag)
  • fezofezo Manahawkin, NJPosts: 10,376
    Replaying to an almost 3 month old post - I broke down and paid Pandora the $36. Between the lack of ads and the ability to skip more songs if they don't catch me it's well worth it.
    2015 Mazda 6 Grand Touring, 2014 Mazda 3 Sport Hatchback, 1999 Mazda Miata 2004 Toyota Camry LE, 1999.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Did you *really* notice any improvement in sound quality?
  • fezofezo Manahawkin, NJPosts: 10,376
    Well, most of the time it's playing though one of those cassette things with the aux plug on it in an 04 Odyssey which wouldn't really show improvement.

    When I have it in my wife's car there's maybe a little difference. Not enough that I'd pay the $36 for it's that's the only reason you'd do it.
    2015 Mazda 6 Grand Touring, 2014 Mazda 3 Sport Hatchback, 1999 Mazda Miata 2004 Toyota Camry LE, 1999.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    So long as you weren't speeding. Fun AutoObserver tweet led me to this one today:

    How My Smart Phone Got Me Out Of A Speeding Ticket In Traffic Court (skattertech.com)
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    I think if the cop had been more together with his evidence, the GPS defense would not have held up, but as it was, it was better than the cop's, so there you go.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    edited March 2011
  • fintailfintail Posts: 49,595
    Like the comments say, political grandstanding

    Aren't most checkpoints public knowledge already?

    Or could it be because a feared speed trap revenue decrease?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    many of these apps rely on information reported by other users---so yeah, try and shut down the sharing of information among citizens, and then explain it to the Supreme Court.

    I suppose if someone secretly installed GPS devices on cop cars, well, yeah, that might be illegal....:)
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    "The Edmunds app for Android combines Edmunds.com pricing, research and new car inventory in one powerful car shopping app to help you find and buy the new car you want at the best possible price. You can research new-car pricing, configure a car to your requirements, read Edmunds Car Reviews and find regional True Market Value® pricing. Then you can locate a car at a dealer, contact the dealer for a price quote and have the research at your fingertips to help get the best deal on your car."

    Edmunds App for the Android is now live!

    Android Market

    image
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    I'm downloading it as we speak. I'll let you know.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Works well---selecting the make and model is a bit tricky because the highlighting is very dim and the print is small.

    Also requires a force stop on the Android---no "close" on the menu.

    could use some spiffing up, but gets the job done!
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    edited April 2011
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    edited May 2011
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    edited June 2011
    Collision-detection system for your smartphone in beta.

    Automotive App of the Week: iOnRoad for Android (Straightline)

    image
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    The reviews are pretty funny.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    edited July 2011
    "You can command Dragon Go! to call a specific store, ask what events are happening in your area, get directions and weather info and even request something random, like where to rent a tuxedo."

    Get local gas info? Sounds like a real possibility for finding the cheapest gas nearby since you could search Bing or Google.

    Automotive App of the Week: Dragon Go!

    image
  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaPosts: 31,450
    edited July 2011
    BMW Assist seems to do just about everything when you pay the extra $199 per year for the Convenience package. Any other automaker have similar service? Does Mbrace compare? It seems a lot more expensive.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    edited September 2011
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    "With a Google Galaxy Nexus phone mounted on the windscreen, the front camera points at the driver, tracking head pose, gaze direction and blink rate. If the driver seems drowsy, a coffee cup appears on the screen and the phone bleeps.

    The back-facing camera is trained on the road and the app checks you are at a safe distance from the car in front and also checks you are not weaving outside the white lines of the traffic lane."

    Lane-keeping app makes any car smarter (newscientist.com)
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    "At the 2010 Consumer Electronics Show, Ford touted a future that included seamless in-car personalization.

    "For both the auto industry and the consumer electronics industry, the best bet is to develop products that are versatile and loaded with features that make them easy to personalize," Ford CEO Alan Mulally said at the time.

    Nearly three years later, Ford has 13 applications, including Pandora and Twitter, available through AppLink, a Sync feature that gives drivers voice-control of apps.

    Ford is still ahead of its domestic competitors, including General Motors Co. and its MyLink system and Chrysler Group LLC and its UConnect Touch. But analysts say Ford's lead is dwindling.

    "Ford's technology is sound, their execution is not," said Mark Boyadjis, manager and senior analyst at market research firm iSuppli Corp.

    Ford admits the 13 apps, now available to more than 1 million drivers through AppLink, aren't enough to meet the needs of all drivers."

    13 apps and counting for Ford (Detroit News)
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    Something like this as one example. Stick the wifi gizmo in the OBDII port and get info about engine power/torque, coolant temp, oil temp, etc. on your phone or tablet.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    I've used an app like that---I forget the name because my Droid commits ritual suicide a few times a year and deletes apps randomly...but it worked great. You just park, punch a button and it registers on google maps with a little red dot.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    Sounds like the iPad - we have one with the Verizon cell in it, and my wife will turn it on to double-check our Garmin directions on the Google Maps app (assuming we can get a cell signal). It works well for finding alternate routes without having to unfold a paper map.

    Then Google sells all our information and we get tons of targeted ads for every store for every town in route. (and I'm only half joking....).
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 27,073
    That's the one I have. It works great. I tried a few free ones and they refused to read the CEL in the wife's '08 Town & Country. This one worked perfect. I picked up the generic elm327 wifi reader off ebay for darned cheap, too.

    '19 Ioniq plug-in, '08 Charger R/T Daytona; '67 Coronet R/T; '14 Town&Country Limited; '18 BMW X2. 50-car history and counting!

  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    Do you use it for a set of "extra" gauges or mostly for the CEL stuff?
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 27,073
    So these are what I currently have on my iphone.

    MotionX GPS Drive. This is, by far, the best navi I've ever used, and that includes the factory nav in the T&C and the Leaf and a standalone TomTom One. I plug it into the ipod port of my volvo and I can listen to mp3s and the voice guidance dims the music and gives me direction when needed. It also has optional traffic updates, which I have used and it did a fabulous job getting us through NYC a few weeks ago.

    PockeyDyno. Uses a combination of the iphones GPS and accelerometer to give you performance numbers such as HP, 0-60, and 1/4 mile. I've used it on many occassions in many different cars to measure 0-60 and it usually gets right near published times, so I'm assuming it is pretty accurate. I haven't had much luck with the HP numbers because it wants you to add in the weight of the car, which I don't really know. I've estimated before and it usually comes up short.

    Cars.com app. It is exactly what you think it is.

    Ebay motors app. again, self explanatory.

    App for our Nissan Leaf to pre-warm the car when its in the garage, among other things. :)

    And, finally, Harry's Lap Timer. I have only gotten a chance to use this once so far, but its pretty damned cool. It has preprogrammed maps of a helluva lot of racetracks worldwide. You choose the one you are at and start it up before going out on the track. It uses the GPS to watch you go round and round. In the end, you can see a summary of all your lap times. Click one you want more detail on and it will tell you average speed, top speed, your speed at every turn, and a bunch of other stuff I don't even understand yet. haha.

    '19 Ioniq plug-in, '08 Charger R/T Daytona; '67 Coronet R/T; '14 Town&Country Limited; '18 BMW X2. 50-car history and counting!

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    How does it connect to the data link?
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 27,073
    I haven't used any of the other features yet. I has gauges, readouts for some engine paramaters, and a fuel usage page.

    '19 Ioniq plug-in, '08 Charger R/T Daytona; '67 Coronet R/T; '14 Town&Country Limited; '18 BMW X2. 50-car history and counting!

  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 27,073
    just but a wifi OBDII reader and your wifi equipped iphone will connect to it. Really couldn't be easier.

    BTW, warning for other iphone users, don't buy a bluetooth ELM327 device unless your phone is jailbroken. I made that mistake and now that device just collects dust as Apple doesn't permit the phone to connect to a bluetooth device from a manufacturer that hasn't paid their extortion fees.

    '19 Ioniq plug-in, '08 Charger R/T Daytona; '67 Coronet R/T; '14 Town&Country Limited; '18 BMW X2. 50-car history and counting!

  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    edited September 2013
    The MotionX GPS sounds really good. Bet it'd be nice with the iPad MINI, and you could kludge a dash mount pretty easily.

    We used the Allstays Camp and RV app this last road trip. I was a bit dubious because it was pricey for an app (~$11) but it found lots of nice campgrounds that weren't on our state maps, or in the built-in Garmin POIs or in the extra POIs that I had downloaded onto the Garmin.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    So all these apps require:

    a wifi code reader

    a cell phone

    the appropriate software

    How does this compare to say just buying an inexpensive code reader in the first place?
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