Apps are nothing new to us now; the 2013 stats show that 60.4% of all mobile phone users have smartphones in the UK. Not surprisingly smart phone applications have become a large part of normal day to day life. With a lot of these being free or only a couple of pounds they can be enjoyed quite liberally and in volume.
The increasing use of smartphone apps has actually changed a lot of our behaviour without us necessarily realising it. Apps put old technologies to bed, replace entire information sources and even create new activities for us to engage in. This post will focus on smart phone apps that relate to motoring and driving; focusing on how they are throwing old habits/behaviours to the bin.
1. GB Road Atlas 250K
This app is fantastic and replaces the old A3 style road atlas you would find in your trusty motorway service station. It has so much data packed into it and will always come in useful if you’re a regular driver. No longer will you have to pull over in a country layby with a map stretching wider than your windscreen to find your way home.
Why not just use Google maps I hear you ask? Simple, you need signal and a data connection to use Google maps; both of which are not always available. This app stores the data locally on your phone and so it’s always there for you as long as you have battery.
2. Taxi App
This app is a great example of how pulling together multiple data sources and technologies can create something truly awesome. The way we order taxis has changed a lot since smart phones came about. Remember back in the day where you had to shout out at the end of a party if anyone knew a taxi number? That was replaced by Googling local taxi firms when smart phones first arrived. Now you don’t even need to do that!
This app allows one click taxi ordering. With a single click of a button it finds your exact location, checks for taxi availability and orders the most convenient service for you.
3. Find My Car Smarter
This one is a US based app but it has to get a mention purely due to the problem it solves and the reported levels of accuracy. Using a one-time set up with a special Bluetooth device that goes in the car’s cigarette lighter you can easily find your way back to your car at any location. It sure beats buying one of those novelty aerial decorations and seeking it out in a crowded car park!
Why not just use a GPS based app and save your car’s location you ask? This has proven to be volatile and inaccurate in the past. Smart phone GPS tracking is good for roughly finding your car; but is less useful for pinpointing your vehicle in a crowded place such as a car park.
4. Parker’s Car Price Checker
This app is an absolute gem that contains pricing data on over 32k cars ranging from 1989 to 2011. Within moments you’ll be able to get an accurate market price for any vehicle of your choosing along with its mileage. With the Parker’s car price checker both dealers and buyers can finish any arguments over what the correct price for a used vehicle is instantly.
In the past people would have had to trawl through various pricing books to find the most recent valuation for any given vehicle. Now with this constantly updated bank of data you can become a more intelligent car buyer/seller in moments.
5. Campsites and Caravan Parks
This app from North West Code is a great time saver and integrates multiple data sources to give campers a truly useful smart phone app. It may surprise you but a lot of people still do go camping and traveling in and around the UK. What this app does is give you a complete list of campsites near your location or an alternative specified location including reviews, contact details and prices where available.
This is similar to the road atlas featured above; but it’s packed full of additional data specific to campers and those with motor-homes/caravans. If you’re ever planning a spontaneous road trip this app is an absolute must!
6. Tyre Safe Pressure Guide
This app from Tyre Safe has a vast amount of data on the correct tyre pressures across many manufacturers/models. In the past we had to flick through our old car owner’s manuals to find the correct tyre pressure. Now all you need to do is type in your car registration and you’ll be given the correct PSI for your front/rear tyres.
It’s definitely useful if you need some quick information and can’t find your manual; as we know that a lot of car owners are cautious about using 3rd party data on such matters.
7. Ringgo Mobile Parking Payments
This is one of the cases where the app completely changes our behaviour by reinventing how a process works. The RingGo app allows users to pay for car parking charges by simply entering a 4 digit code for the car park they want to use. This makes car parking a clean and simple process without any complications.
Gone are the days of having to run to a cash machine and then break that note in a newsagents. With the RingGo app all you need to do is enter the unique 4 digit payment code at participating outlets and you’re sorted.