You just shouldn’t text while you drive, even if you are a dextrous teen used to multitasking all day long. Yet people still do text (and Skype and email) while they drive, and not just teens (cough, Michael). There’s not too much you can do about it. But Location Labs is coming out with an Android app for T-Mobile called DriveSmart Plus which plays on the fear of parents everywhere that their kid is going to wreck the car or worse while texting.
DriveSmart Plus uses the phone’s GPS to determine when a subscriber is in motion and likely in a car. It then disables the ability to read or send text messaging while driving and transfers all calls to voicemail or handsfree Bluetooth. The app is $4.99 and they are going to sell a ton of these, but it is not going to stop any teens who want to keep texting. The app has a big override button, which teens will be using a lot, even if they have to explain to their parents why they were overriding the controls. Parents get notified when the app is overridden, but I can already hear the excuses: “That wasn’t me, Mom. It was Rufus. I was giving him a ride home and he grabbed my phone.”
Building on the parental surveillance theme, Location Labs is also launching another geo app that works on all T-Mobile phones called FamilyWhere. This one allows parents to locate any family member on the family phone plan. They can also set up location alerts to make sure their child is at school or home before a certain hour. I’m sure it works great on spouses too, although it is not being marketed as a way to spy on adults. It’s all about safety, folks.
Location Labs, formerly WaveMarket, creates geo-fencing apps for carriers and also offers its platform to developers. DriveSmart and FamilyWhere are examples of the types of apps that can be create don its platform.