Applications, applications, applications; there was a time when the word was used to mean you were trying to get a job, get a loan, get into school, get an apartment, or get something. Now, it means you you’re being given something rather than trying to get something. Smartphone applications have revolutionized the way we do so many things, and the way we relate to so many things.
When it comes to our cars, applications written for our phones can help us find our car in a parking lot, keep track of our automotive expenses, help us avoid traffic jams, tip us off to the location of law enforcement efforts, and even keep us entertained. And, the best part is, if you’re willing to view a few ads, you can have all of the magical services of these ten best Android apps at your fingertips for “free” (all except one —that is).
You could literally spend hours wading through the App Store looking at the literally thousands of applications out there. And yeah, we kinda did that. The goods news is , we culled a selection of the ten of what we considered the most useful, and the best rated for your Android device, so you can get started with minimal hassle and risk.
You’re welcome—is just part of what your lifetime automotive advisor does y’all.
For many of us, one of our largest expense items is our car. But do we know how much we really spend on it? Depending upon what you do for a living, many of these expenditures may be tax deductible, but how can you keep track of which ones? Additionally, your car is only as reliable as your maintenance schedule allows it to be. Thing is, it’s pretty easy to lose track of all of these things. The aCar application makes keeping track of it very convenient. You simply tell it some basic information about your car; like the make, model, year, and etc. and aCar will keep track of everything for you. Tell aCar your car’s mileage and how much you paid per gallon for gas, and the next time you fill up it will tell you your cost per mile for driving your car, how far you drove every day, and even when your next fill up should be. The application also keeps track of all key information relating to the maintenance of your car.
So, there you are five minutes away from your destination, everything’s looking good for an on time arrival, and suddenly you’re confronted with an ocean of brake lights in front of you. The last time you saw so much red was in one of Stallone’s action movies. So now what do you do? Well, if you have the Beat The Traffic application on your smartphone; well, actually if you had the Beat The Traffic application on your smartphone, odds are this wouldn’t have happened to you in the first place. The application looks ahead on your route, warns you before you hit a traffic jam, and suggests another way to go. Beat The Traffic’s real time traffic information is crowd sourced by its user base, so its accuracy is pretty reliable. Further, the application can route you around the blockage. Beat The Traffic also provides turn-by-turn directions if you simply need to get to an unfamiliar place.
Recently, a case made it to court brought by a motorist cited for using their smartphone while driving. But rather than for placing a call, or sending a text message, the citation was issued for checking directions using a mapping application. Now, ostensibly, the anti smartphone usage while driving laws were put in place to deter the stupid among us from placing phone calls and composing text messages while driving. But this brings up an interesting point; how safe is looking for your favorite song on your phone while you’re driving? Car Dashdroid allows you to mount your phone on the dash just like the other controls of your car and gives you the equivalent of four preselected shortcuts to applications you’re most likely to need while driving. (And yes, you get to choose the four.)This way you can access them with one touch, just as you would your favorite radio station or set the temperature on your climate control system. You can also set Car Dashdroid up to display your speed, and the weather. Further, it can be set up to launch automatically when you dock it in your car. With Dashdroid’s “Bluetooth On Start” setting it also activates your aftermarket Bluetooth car kit if your older car didn’t come with Bluetooth and you’re using an adapter.
We suppose a lot of people would argue if you need Car Locator 3D, you probably shouldn’t be driving a car in the first place. After all, how do you lose something as big as a whole car? Well, people do it every day, and it usually happens when they have an armload of packages, or are dragging along two whining children who just want to go home and watch Sponge-effing-Bob. Oh, and of course it’s either 107 or conversely 17 degrees outside, because this never happens in perfect weather on a lovely day when you have nowhere in particular to be. Car Locator 3D uses 3D maps to help you orient yourself in urban areas, it shows you where you are in relation to your car, and it keeps track of how long you’ve been parked to help you avoid parking tickets. Now if only it would just bring the car to you—then it’d be perfect.
Like aCar, FuelLog will keep track of your fuel purchases and help you calculate the mpg your car is getting, as well as how much cash you’re spending on fuel and maintenance and etc. It also keeps track of expenditures on tolls, parking, tires, oil changes, and it will even perform calculations for electric cars, natural gas cars, as well as hydrogen fuel cell vehicles—making it very nearly future proof. It’s multilingual too, FuelLog can communicate with users in English, German, French, Dutch, and if you’d like, you can help the developer translate it into other languages as well. And yes, it does calculations in kilometers, liters, UK gallons, and cost calculations in pretty much every known currency.
OK, so you’re rolling in an older car, one didn’t come with the fancy head up display, or a compass, so you got no way to know how many G’s you pulled in that last corner, and you’re feeling like maybe you ought to get a newer car capable of telling you all of that kind of stuff. Well, yeah, you could get all spendy, go that route, and revel in the joy of having the information at your fingertips. Or, you could just download Ian Hawkins’ Speed HUD app, and get all of that stuff for free. All right, almost free; you will also need to get a mount for your phone so it can sit on your dash and project the information onto your windshield—and ads will pop up from time to time. But even with that, it’s still gotta be cheaper than buying a whole car—right? Speed HUD (as its name implies) projects speed information on your windshield, it also verbalizes speed warnings (based on your presets) and it has the capability of warning you when you’re in an area monitored by speed and red light cameras. Oh, and it has a compass too…
Imagine riding around in your car tuned to a radio station playing only what you want to hear, when you want to hear it, without making you suffer through hours of mind-numbing commercial spots blaring at you like you an idiot in need of being spoon fed a bunch of crap you’d never want in a million years. Yep, that’s Spotify. With it, you can choose specific artists, songs, or albums. And, unlike Pandora, you can play any given song at any time—that’s right—on demand. You can also create playlists to suit particular moods. Date night? Detail Spotify to play the 21st century equivalent of the mixtape you pre-programmed to keep the mood in the ride on the right track to get you to that tasty little snack. Do a little dance, make a little love—get down tonight…! OK that’s a digression, but you get the point. With Spotify, it’s what you want when you want it, and you don’t have to go out of your way to find it. Hey, what’s not to like?
If you’re the sort for whom no amount of information about your car is ever enough, Torque Pro might well overload you just the same. The list of information this app provides is nearly limitless. You’ll get instantaneous horsepower and torque output readings, transmission temperature, 0-60 times, CO2 emissions readouts, and a Track Recorder to tell you how your car performed during a specific interval or event. Further, it can serve as a head up display, a compass, and a GPS-based speedometer. But wait, there’s more; if your car is turbocharged, you can get boost readings, it will warn you if your coolant temperature gets too high, it’ll calculate your fuel economy, and it can diagnose the fault codes your car’s On Board Diagnostics system transmits. In other words, there’s just about nothing about your car Torque Pro doesn’t know and it is very willing to share it all with you—for $4.95.
They’re watching us, you’d best believe we should be watching them! Trapster's worldwide community of over 20 million drivers collaborates to keep each other informed about speed traps, red-light cameras, road hazards, traffic delays, construction, and the locations of all the best donut shops in town. (OK, we’re just kidding about that one. However, if you ever decide to commit a crime, it’s very stupid to do it across the street from the best donut shop in town—OK? Hey, we’re just sayin’…but anyway…) Trapster provides both aural and visual alerts to potential hazards. Further, it provides them in a host of languages, including English, French, German, Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese, Arabic, Russian, Swedish, and Turkish. Basically, the way it works is you’re driving along, you see a speed trap (or some other hazard) you report it and other Trapster users instantly become aware of it. The application also specifically lets you know if you’re on a path others have already blazed so you can travel more confidently.
How long does it take to get from here to the border? What border? North, south, east, or west; it really doesn’t matter, Waze knows. It also knows where there are accidents, traffic jams, speed and police traps, and it can update roads, landmarks, house numbers, and etc. Further, Waze also identifies the cheapest fuel station near a user or along their route. Want to know about real-time, community-curated points of interest, including local events such as street fairs and protests? Waze knows that too. In addition to turn-by-turn voice navigation, real-time traffic, and other location-specific alerts, Waze simultaneously sends anonymous information, including users' speed and location back to its database to improve the service as a whole. Crowd sourcing enables the Waze community to report navigation, mapping errors and traffic accidents simply by running the app while they are driving. You can even use it to co-ordinate meeting times with other friends. If both of you have the Waze application running you can know exactly when you need to leave to both get to the destination at the same time. In other words, when it comes to your travels; if you’ve a need to know, odds are Waze already does.