The mobile phone is a very important element in our lives because, among other things, through it we communicate in many ways with friends and acquaintances. The problem is that there is a place where its use is not only forbidden, but it is also dangerous: in the car (while driving).
But you have to have a lot of willpower not to look at the terminal when ringing for a call or notification while we’re driving. Therefore, since the beginning of Android, there were certain characteristics for use driving and we will review how it can be done safely.
No special applications
To handle the Android terminal from the car without having to install anything special there is an option that is essential: use a Bluetooth connection. This is highly recommended even if we will use some of the more advanced options. The Bluetooth connection can be standard on the vehicle, which is most comfortable, but if so you can always buy a kit to complement our radio and even use a single speaker with a clip to the sun visor.
Having a Bluetooth connection in the car allows at least receive and make calls. Receiving is the simplest. When sounds simply press the button to receive call (which may be integrated into the wheel itself, in the kit or bluetooth speaker itself, depending on the available solution). Make it calls is also simple, just press the same button and say the name of who you want to call.
These Bluetooth connections also allow, if they support the A2DP profile, listen to music from the phone in the car. Music can be something that can be available in the terminal or any streaming service like Spotify or any podcast application.
Another interesting task to perform on the vehicle’s GPS navigation. It is therefore desirable to have a support where to place mobile, there are many and it is a matter of taste. My preference? Those that are subject to the vent or weighted on the dashboard. Those who are attached to the windshield with suction cup can easily detach and end up being dangerous.
To set an address in the GPS is always convenient to do so at a standstill. Here we have many options, but if there is no desire to snoop on Google Play just use Google Maps, which comes standard on all terminals.
An option to interact more advanced form with the terminal while driving is to use the shares of Google Now, with the voice command “Ok Google”. To activate simply open the Google application and adjustments of it, and go to Voice Detection “Ok Google” and then select “From any screen.”
This allows to take actions on our Android without touching anything. For example you can send WhatsApps (“OK Google, send WhatsApp Pepe: We agreed to eat tomorrow”), set reminders ( “Ok Google, reminder when it comes to work: make report”), set a destination on the GPS navigator ( “Ok Google, Zaragoza take me”) or set the alarm (“Ok Google, put an alarm clock at 7 am”). The complete list of interaction through Google Now is quite extensive, but we must be careful because sometimes fails.
The main problem with using the “OK Google” command in the car is not usually run with the screen off, only in certain terminals. To avoid this inconvenience is necessary to bring the display on, although in Settings -> Display normally only leaves us 30 minutes without stopping the screen.
Therefore, without seeking specific applications, which can be done with an Android terminal, a Bluetooth connection and a mobile holder is: receive and make calls, listen to music, navigate and use Google Now to perform actions. Anything to get out of here requires interact with mobile and therefore it is dangerous (and illegal).
More advanced features: Automate
To improve the interaction with the phone while driving must use special applications. They are of all kinds: from keeping the screen lit terminal (to always use Google Now) until they read and allow you to answer incoming messages. However there is one that brings together the main features needed and aesthetically is quite appealing: Automate.
Automate allows the Android phone is much more useful in the car. It is still advisable to have a support and a Bluetooth connection, yes. The application only provides the most common actions in the car but it is a tremendous help against what Android provides by default.
The application is similar to Android Auto (discussed later) desktop. At the bottom, there is access to navigation, calls, a stylish start menu Google Now cards (but larger and designed to go in the car, without much information), music and shortcuts.
Most interesting, except that condense the essential information in this kind of launcher optimized for the car, is what is available in the application settings. There you can make the screen will never turn off or the application to automatically read incoming messages (SMS messages, WhatsApp and other messaging applications popular). You can even reply to these messages by voice without touching the screen.
However, the application is not perfect. If you want to take action at least you have to press the microphone on the top of the screen and use a voice command. These commands are less powerful than Google Now for example cannot be sent WhatsApp. If the voice command “Ok Google” (which, incidentally, sometimes does not work when open Automate), the end is not back to Automate and interesting options that the screen does not turn off are lost or used instead which automatically read the messages.
In short, this application provides us enough life, allows music playback, manage calls, navigation and automatic reading of incoming messages (and even answer them) but the downside is that you have to interact slightly with screen time when, thing to avoid for safety.
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What if we use Android Wear?
The search for the optimal solution in the car can lead us something strange ways and following this path we come to Android Wear. Yes, the Android Wear technology is designed for watches, but these can be quite useful in a car.
One of the functions Android Wear is precisely control your phone from wrist and voice commands. Just what is great in a car! By having an Android Wear watch just say “Ok Google” and you can use voice actions to control mobile.
Simply the voice can launch music applications “Ok Google, open Pocket Cast” start navigation (“Ok Google, browse Murcia”) or call a contact (“OK Google, call John”). It is a great facilitator of mobile phone use in the car without having to touch anything and detached view of the road.
But not everything is perfect. To play or stop music must touch the screen and watch if you receive a WhatsApp, it is true that you can answer voice, but you also have to read it on screen Android Wear and give the answer button on it. While looking at the doll, which is on the steering wheel, is less dangerous to look away to the dashboard, it is still dangerous.
Android Auto, the optimal solution (but not perfect)
And here we come to the solution proposed by Google, Android Auto. Android Auto is nothing more than a system in the vehicle rather “silly” because it has a touch screen, a cable and communication with other elements of the car, but the intelligence resides in our mobile.
By connecting our terminal Android to Android Auto car mobile is disabled for safety, and all actions will be carried through in-vehicle system. Everything is designed for interaction without distractions.
The first problem is that you either need or Android Auto vehicle serial or buy an installable kit that supports Android Auto. Google maintains an updated page on which Android Auto hire is available and what installable kits exist today.
Once you are connect the vehicle Android phone you can see a similar interface to that of Automate (because this is nothing but a copy of Android Auto). There are a number of buttons on the bottom that lead to navigation, phone, a screen with (but larger and with less information) Google Now cards and music.
The controls are two ways: tactile, with shallow depth of menus so that there is no excessive distractions; and in the form of voice, by pressing the microphone of the screen or by pressing (if available in the car) button to perform voice actions usually on the wheel. The most optimal is the latter, because they can perform many actions without looking up from the road.
Android Auto enables GPS navigation, phone calls (both receive and perform them), listening to music via compatible applications (for example Google Play Music, Spotify or Pocket Cast) and manage received messages (also from compatible applications, as WhatsApp).
When receiving a message notification is a floating on the touch screen, and clicking on it the message is read and gives us option to answer. If we do not press the notification time can always be answered from the home screen, there will be a notification Google Now style.
To send a message you can use commands Ok Google, but needless to say the famous line activation, simply press the button on the steering wheel (or touch screen) to perform the action.
Really the Android Auto option is the best there is, it allows interact in the best possible way (voice commands) and perform many actions. However it is still necessary to use the screen for certain things (put some music or incoming messages are read) and this is dangerous.
Also there are certain disadvantages when using Android Auto : first you need to have a compatible vehicle or a kit that is usually not cheap; the mobile has to be counted cable, which is cumbersome; Part of messaging is improved, it can not display the message on the screen or when the car is stopped (and the phone is locked when connected to Android Auto); applications must be compatible with Android Auto (not all are); and the GPS section is limited to Google Maps (although it has already announced its compatibility with other applications, Waze will be the first).
What is the best? It depends on the needs
At the end decide what is the best option depends, and much of the needs of each.Basics, Bluetooth connectivity with audio support, and phone holder, is sufficient for most people. If you need a more advanced use, that supports messaging, Automate is a good solution.
But if you want to use the phone in the car is more intensive I decadent by Android Wear as a cheaper solution or Android Auto if you’re thinking about changing car. But the truth is that no option is optimal for all kinds of things. And it’s better that way. At the end, when driving, the main thing is to drive safely, the rest is accessory.