Android car apps to prep for Ford SYNC

Apr 26, 2010
Autos

With Ford SYNC soon making a leap forward into hands-free cell phone use while driving, we’re sure to see more apps that work on SYNC’s platform.  As Google’s Android platform is also linking apps across devices (your phone and car, in this case), we’ll soon be able to tweet and listen to the radio without […]

With Ford SYNC soon making a leap forward into hands-free cell phone use while driving, we’re sure to see more apps that work on SYNC’s platform.  As Google’s Android platform is also linking apps across devices (your phone and car, in this case), we’ll soon be able to tweet and listen to the radio without having to touch a button.

Until then, here are some Android apps that can get you started on the right path towards more practical cell phone use while driving.

Android apps and Navigation

Google Maps has prime placement on Android phones, and frequent updates to keep users happy. The recently added voice navigation for this free app gives turn-by-turn directions to guide you to your desired destination, keeping you from having to touch or hold your phone while driving.

 

While CoPilot Live is $29.99, it’s full, voice-guided GPS navigation is a dedicated service for those seeking hands-free navigation. You’ll get turn-by-turn directions, multiple map views (including 3D), and live weather with location-sharing. With no monthly fees, CoPilot Live is a midway option between premium and free navigation apps.

Hands-free Android apps

Speech recognition and text-to-speech capabilities will grow in demand as Ford SYNC rolls out. Voice on the Go is a free Android app that lets you both hear and respond to email and text messages via voice. Designed for hands-free use while driving, you can compose, reply, forward and delete messages with fewer distractions.

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As Ford SYNC’s mobile options will enable you to tweet while driving, you can get some practice with Dial2Do.  The free Android app will read your email, SMS and Twitter messages aloud, and lets you send messages as well.  With over 30 services supported, you can also direct your phone to make calls, set Google calendar updates, post notes to Evernote, hear local weather and more.

Unsurprising useful Android apps

Though you can’t send texts or navigate your way about town, the free GPS speedometer with SpeedView gives you a run-down of your driving activity, displaying your top speed, direction and distance traveled. Providing useful stats for your own purposes is something we’ll see more of as Ford SYNC makes its way deeper into your car and mobile devices.

When the community is able to contribute data as well, the ways in which you can use driving stats increases. Waze’s community GPS navigation learns frequent routes and common traffic obstacles, among other things, to give you real-time maps of your surroundings.  Free, this Android app is another way we’ll see car and mobile information working together.

Weatherbug Elite combines weather updates with custom views and alerts for a truly local experience.  For $1.99, you get radar animation, forecasts, live camera views and additional alert settings. As weather is one of the many options to be integrated into Ford SYNC’s Android app, the localization of such important data is a necessary move and extremely helpful to drivers.

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Pandora’s free Android app makes streaming radio a mobile experience, even in the car. While not yet hands-free, you can turn the app on and let it play as you drive.   As another service to be supported by Ford SYNC’s Android integration, however, the days of hands-free mobile radio are right around the corner.

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