Car Dock Home v3
Car Dock Home v3, is a car home replacement application for use with Android Eclair and Froyo car mode. When I first received my Nexus One, the car home app provided by Google, only let you do one of 5 things. None of them was listen to music… They have corrected that now, as their default car home application has some user customizable spots. Some of the other vendors such as Motorola and Samsung have also improved upon the car home they ship.
Car Dock Home v3 is different, in that it provides the flexibility of a standard android Home replacement app, but with a fit that is more suitable for in car use. Primarily larger icons for the shortcut and applications. It doesn’t stop at just icons and shortcuts. It also supports widgets.
So, you can customize your in car experience with an alternate home that has whatever widgets you like, support for any of the standard shortcut creators ( such as Google’s direct dial shortcuts ), and your apps.
You can customize various things, such as the icon and label of an app or shortcut. It provides a convenient in application menu for selecting a picture from any of the image sources your phone supports, as well as cropping the image.
You can control the size of the icons, if they have labels or not, if the funny glass button is drawn behind them or not…
There is a built in list of activities:
- A simple, landscape friendly starred contacts list.
- A simple dailpad.
- A link to return to in-progress google maps navigation.
There are also settings to control things like turning off wifi when you get in the car, or turning on bluetooth…
Many users, have complained about a few things missing… Largely, Car Dock Home v3 is designed to integrate the parts of the Android OS that make sense. Unfortunately some vendors choose to remove stock features. Or disable aspects of them. For instance, the dialer and contacts lists in stock Android work great in landscape on the SDK, but on my nexus one, I have to dig in, and find the option to enable auto-rotation inside the phone application so that it can be used in a car. Other situations like, Motorola removing the Google ‘Direct Dial’ shortcut creator and replacing it with their Contact Widget wouldn’t be so bad, except their Contact Widget isn’t a standards based widget, and only works withing the Motorola Home app.
So there is room for improvement. Here are a list of things that I want to work on, and the rough order of priority.
- Fix night mode
- Provide mode to allow screen blanking – maybe touch to wake instead of truly asleep
- Fix volume controls – provide control of each individual channel to user
- Fix profile toggles – WIFI can be turned off, but doesn’t turn back on, so give the users full control of in car state, and exiting car state.
- Auto sleep on undock
- Launch x, y, z on dock (like resume music, and open google navigation)
- Add ‘enable audible selection’ to settings
- Provide a direct dial shortcut creator
- Edit mode – remove long click menu from icons and widgets ( fix for some widgets not working well ) and provide an edit mode
- Arrange items in edit mode
- Custom wallpaper
- Read SMS or integrate with something like Safereader
- More theming support
I am always welcoming to user input on this list of features… So feel free to send me your feature requests, either here or in email. I don’t like to implement something though, unless I understand the use for it, so don’t be surprised if I ask for more information.
Here is the basic Car Dock Home screen. This page shows a 2×3 grid in horizontal orientation.
There are lots and lots of preferences. They are grouped as shown below.
Here you can alter the way icons appear.
(My intent is to fully document this thing, but I’d rather work on features… eventually I’ll finish this)