Google Play Store has plenty of apps that make it easier to use your phone while docked in your car, and there’s a built-in dock mode available on most Android phones out there as well. However, not everyone is comfortable with fancy voice commands or alerts, and some people just can’t be bothered automating the functions of their phone when driving. With Sony Car app, you can make using your phone while driving arguably safe. Even though it lacks even the slightest bit of automation-related features or alerts for the driver, what it does have is a clean and well laid out interface that is essentially a launcher with really big icons optimized for using in dock mode. There is more to it than meets the eye, so read all about it after the break.
The app originally came bundled with the Xperia Z, but XDA-Developers forum member ThilinaC extracted it from the device and made it available to be used on almost any Android device out there, as long as it is running Android 4.0 or higher.
Upon launch, the app greets you with four big buttons for commonly used shortcuts: Phone, Location, Media, and Settings. In addition, you are given the choice to add more shortcuts to apps of your choice to the screen as well. That said, you cannot delete the default shortcuts, but I see no reason why any of those should be removed from the list. Location will launch the good old Google Maps for your navigation needs, and Media will launch your default media player. There’s not a lot under Settings as you might have hoped for, but you get quick access to the most relevant settings for dock mode, i.e. Bluetooth and NFC.
The Dialer in Sony Car gives this app the oomph it otherwise lacks. From the screenshot above, you can see that the Phone feature is split into Favorites, Contacts and the Dialer itself, all three of which boast the dock-optimized interface just like the rest of the app. The call log list is scrollable as you would expect, and the large tiles for each entry make it really easy to hit the right spot on your screen without having to worry about calling the wrong person. Oh and if you are worried about exiting the app by hitting the back button, don’t fret – hitting back will not exit it; only the small cross button at the top-left on the main page will.
Sony Car may not be the greatest innovation, and it definitely does not make using the phone while driving 100% safe by any means. However the interface certainly makes it safer than the default apps, making it worth a try for anyone who uses the phone in the car in dock mode.