Car Mode App Missing from Samsung Galaxy S III

By Jonathan Meersman|October 12, 2012|Android, Samsung Galaxy S III|0 comments

I previously used the Motorola Electrify, which had a nice stock car mode app, which provided a screen with six customizable icons. I used shortcuts to launch my phone, Google Maps, Google Navigation, Google Play Music, and a shortcut to call my wife. The phone automatically launched this app when putting the phone into the car dock.

I have recently switched to the Samsung Galaxy S III on the US Cellular network. I also have purchased the iBolt In-Vehicle Charging Dock for S Galaxy S III. One glaring omission from the Samsung Galaxy S III seems to be a default car mode app, with shortcuts just related to apps that you might use when driving. The stock “Car Mode” simply launches S Voice and keeps the screen from turning off. I don’t like that functionality at all. While I use S Voice occasionally, I like additional driving options to be visible. There is also a “Driving Mode” which will read incoming texts aloud.

That brought me to the Google Play Shop to search for a new car mode app. I found several and tried a few of them. As a US Cellular Customer Crew member, I’m always looking for ways to help other customers so I thought I share my results with others. My search stopped when I tested CarHome Ultra which gave me the exact functionality that I was looking for, and much more!

After installing CarHome Ultra, the next time I plugged my phone into the car dock and the “Car Mode” was triggered, I was asked to choose between S Voice and CarHome Ultra (easy choice). I chose CarHome Ultra and made that my default.

Car Home Ultra ScreenshotTake a look at the screenshot from my phone. The home screen features six icons for common car apps. You can long press to customize these. There are four other screens. One is optimized for music. Back to the home screen, there are three widgets that can be customized. I have the speed, compass, and weather. It will also show the nearest location, down to the nearest address (address not visible on this screenshot).

There are also a ton of customizable settings, including the ability to hide the status bar; set day mode and night mode colors; automatically switch between day and night modes; automatically adjust or lock portrait and landscape orientation; choose units for speed, temperature, and altitude (available in another widget); how to handle sound and music; and several others.

This app is a 30 day trial. The developer also has the CarHome Ultra Unlocker app available in the Google Play Shop for $3.99 for unlimited use after the 30 day trial. I intend to pay for the full app – which will be money well spent.

The only thing that would make this app perfect would be to add another compass widget option to show the normal cardinal direction abbreviations (N, S, E, W, NE, NW, SE, & SW) and omit the numeric compass heading. I wrote to the developer with that idea and already heard back that it will be considered for future updates.

Check out CarHome Ultra from Google Play Shop for many more details. You’ll also see that it is rated 4.4 stars with over 3,333 reviews.

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