I love the potential of really cool Smartphone Apps. To think that my mom once carried around an old block phone when on duty for Verizon! The Cellphone market craze is allowing for developers to make awesome new Apps. The App of the week for you to check out is Waze (if you don’t have a Smartphone, get one!) This is going to be bigger than most mobile applications due to the need of many to have a car GPS.
Waze is a social GPS application that actively updates due to user involvement. Essentially, if you see a hazard, whether its traffic, police, tree, or downed elephant, you can alert people of the problem
Recently, Version 3 was released for Waze. I use the iPhone 4, but it’s also available for Android, Blackberry, and Nokia
The really cool!
- Waze is free
- It gives you live directions
- It actively reroutes you due to hazards
- You can view in 2D images or 3D
- You can interact with other drivers
- It asks you for traffic condition updates
- It works better than Maps
- It works with Current Social Media Applications
Most of these are obvious. I can’t begin to tell you how unsafe it is to drive with iPhone Maps open.
Waze integrates with Foursquare, which rocks! The quick checkins make opening Foursquare up unnecessary
The not so cool!
- When taking exits, Waze fails to recognize north or south
- It kills your battery
- Interactions with other drivers is not safe to do while moving
- Speed traps work but often are gone by the time you reach the area
- Speed limits are not available
- The little gremlin characters remind me of Pacman
1. I really don’t like that I am often making the wrong turn when leaving a highway to enter another. I was driving from Long Island to Upstate, NY and I couldn’t distinguish between North and South on my phone. I had to wait until the last moment to realize whether I should take the exit by looking at the route the GPS would take me.
2. I personally connect my iPhone to my headset for charging and then battery is not a problem. As for sound, the USB actually takes the sound from my phone and plays it through the speakers. So, while using Pandora, voice directions will fade the music and I will hear where to travel.
3. The interaction with other drivers is kind of annoying, but I understand its reason for being there. I have the option to shut it off, so I may do that. However, if I’m in stopped traffic, turning it on to hear what is going on is a good idea
4. I’ve driven through a few “speed traps” to learn that the trap left an hour before. In the long haul, this is good for drivers as I am sure that Waze will adapt to learn locations most often for police to catch speeders and warn the driver of that. However, for now, it just tells the driver to driver slow/carful.
5. As for the Speed limits being unavailable, this is my biggest problem with the service. I can turn on the phone speedometer, but I am unable to see the speed I should be driving. Some GPS’s allow the user to see when they are speeding.
6. The gremlins make me want to play Pacman and not drive
I’ve been using an iPhone Carmount in my car for the last 3 months with no complaints. It makes my phone function like an actual GPS, plus I can view incoming calls without needing to fumble around for the phone.
If possible, install a radio with a USB feature for your style of phone. If not, find another way to link sound to your car (Bluetooth, 3.5mm).
Make sure you download it for free. Even if you have a GPS, this invaluable smartphone app updates your route due to traffic conditions. Get it for the winter.