Posted on 1st March 2013
Carphone Warehouse doesn't mean to scaremonger, but we did notice a trend among manufacturers, one that wanted to make us use our phones as we drive. The Connected City had Ford's smartphone hook up features we talked about here, General Motors had a 4G Chevvy that's detailed here, but right now we're talking about the Car apps that HTC, Sony and ZTE were sporting.
First, let's see what they do. The first really decent Car app we saw was in the HTC One X, and that's been given a new look and squeezed into the HTC One. Essentially the Car app lets you play music, use the GPS and satnav, make calls and check out the weather all while you drive. To make it easier, the icons are all huge. It's nifty, safer than fiddling with the phone in normal mode, and we like it. Just bash the screen a few times and swipe across and you're done. It's perfect for when your HTC One is in a car stand. It even automatically connects to Bluetooth.
Sony's app, available in the Sony Xperia™ Z, is less polished than HTC's and a little less easy to use, but it does let you choose what apps are available, and you can then put them in folders. If you have some alternative satnav app you prefer using, or want to have a Skype call instead of a normal call, it's a great alternative. Don't go for Angry Birds though.
ZTE meanwhile came up with its own Car app, and we discovered it inside its huge ZTE Grand Memo smartphone. With a screen a whole inch larger than the HTC One, you might think it'll just have bigger buttons. But you'd be wrong. ZTE has gone down the voice activated route, so the icons are small, apart from a big mic icon. Give it a tap and start talking to tell the ZTE to call, navigate and so on. There's also a clever Don't disturb option. We couldn't test it, but it's a safe bet that you'll be left to drive in peace with it switched on.
Smartphone manufacturers want us to use smartphones all the time, so they've made it safer and easier to use them at the wheel. Check out the Car apps for yourself at a Carphone Warehouse store near you.
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