Color me surprised. Samsung has launched an app and it’s not called S-Driver, S-Passenger, S-Navigator or any other variant. It’s named Drive Link, and it aims to be the extra set of hands in a driver’s vehicle. Common tasks such as listening to music, navigation and speaking hands-free are the main focus of the app.
Executive Vice President Wonpyo Hong had a few words to say about Samsung’s stance on Drive Link and why it was created.
”For many, driving is an integral part of their lives and Drive Link allows us to provide a considered solution for those wishing to use their Smartphone in a car. With this application we ensure users can retain the core functionality of their smartphone while making sure their experience is as safe as possible. Samsung is dedicated to providing out customers with the optimal Smartphone user experience in any environment.”
Drive Link’s interface is clear and uncluttered, perfect for quick and intuitive use when on the move. Enlarged buttons are complemented by a simple menu structure that makes navigating through the options easy and intuitive. Upon loading the App, the user is presented with a welcome screen displaying time and weather information for the current location. Upcoming appointments saved in S Calendar are also displayed and, if they contain address information, a link is displayed and set directly as the destination.
Drive Link has complete navigation functionality using the smartphone’s GPS features, allowing the user to select preset, recent or favorite destinations, or search for a specific address. If a text message with address information is received while using the App, users can set the address as their destination with just a single click on the text.
If present, Drive Link can connect smartphones to a car’s In-Vehicle Infotainment system, or head unit, via MirrorLink. MirrorLink is the new standard connectivity protocol between smartphone and car head units from the Car Connectivity Consortium, an industry body comprising most major smartphone and vehicle car manufacturers including GM, Toyota, Honda, Volkswagen, Daimler, and Hyundai. Current working head units include JVC’s KW-NSX11), Alpine’s ICS-X8, and Sony’s XAV-701BT, XAV-741 and XAV-601BT.2). Additional compatible head units will be announced in the near future.
In terms of entertainment, every music file stored in the smartphone is accessible to be played through the car’s speaker system. Users can also go well beyond their music libraries with TuneIn (requiring version 6.2 or later), a global Internet Radio app which offers 70,000 stations and two million on-demand programs streaming from every continent. Further compatible internet apps will be made available soon.
Staying in touch during journeys can often be important. With this in mind, Drive Link incorporates a feature called Text-To-Speech, available in English(U.S./U.K) French, Italian, German, and Spanish, which enables all incoming messages, emails and updates from social media websites to be automatically read via the car’s speaker system so that drivers’ eyes are always on the road, ensuring maximum concentration and safety are maintained. All personal contacts saved in the phone are loaded to Drive Link and users can also make a phone call directly by dialing on the keypad.
Drive Link is launching on the Samsung GALAXY S III (GT-I9300) and will be made available on other smartphones running Google Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) in the near future. The app is downloadable from Samsung Apps in 21 countries including Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, Sweden, Ukraine, and United Kingdom.