Longtime Android users who are familiar with the old-school Motorola Droid will remember its Car Home app that presented users with a simplified interface for interacting with apps designed for use in the car. Samsung continues that tradition today with the announcement and launch of its new Drive Link app for the Samsung Galaxy S3.
The app's welcome screen displays large, easy-to-read weather conditions and date and time information along the top edge. Occupying the center of this screen is a summary of the next scheduled appointment in the phone's calendar with a trio of links to set the event's address as a destination, to call a contact associated with the appointment, or to ignore the appointment altogether. Dropping down into the main menu, the user is presented with three large shortcut buttons for the Samsung music player app, the navigation app and destination search, and the hands-free calling system. There are also shortcuts to other apps that are designed for use in the car, such as TuneIn Internet radio. Samsung expects the list of additional in-car apps to expand in the future.
Incoming text messages, e-mails, and social-media updates are read aloud via a text-to-speech engine and any address included in an inbound text message can be set as a destination and navigated to with a single tap.
The app is also compatible with MirrorLink-enabled headphones and its interface can be replicated and interacted with on compatible in-dash OEM and aftermarket receivers.
The app is downloadable from Samsung Apps for Samsung Galaxy S3 users in 21 countries. Interestingly, the United States is not listed among supported markets, but Samsung states that Drive Link will be available for other smartphones (presumably Samsung's own) running Android 4.0 in the near future. Text-to-speech functionality is available for English, French, Italian, German, and Spanish speakers.