Apps for your apple

Updated: Nov 17 2012, 09:22am hrs
DRIVEGAIN

Cost: Free

App size: 4.5MB

What is it

An app that analyses your driving style and helps you identify ways in which you can drive more efficiently and therefore save fuel.

How does it work

Once youve selected the make and model of your car, the next step is to register on the DriveGain website. The app then asks you to strap the phone to a holder before driving so that the phone doesnt bounce around. The app then uses the phones GPS signal to pinpoint your location, and starts calculating your journey score from 1-100 based on various algorithms. The higher the score, the more efficiently youre driving.

Verdict

The app is quite detailed in its summary and gives you all the information you need to know how well you are driving. If you use it repeatedly over a period of time, it even allows you to compare your performance from previous journeys on the same route, and thus make changes to your driving style if required. The app also lists quite a few fuel-saving tips for both manual and automatic-gearbox cars. We did encounter one problem during a drive, though. The app would sometimes stop recording the journey and look for a GPS signal, even though the phone is in full view of the sky. This affects the journey score and you have no choice but to restart the analysis.

CAR AUDIO DECK

Cost: Rs 58.29

App size: 3.3MB

What is it

An app that makes using the phones music player easy with classic audio system-style buttons.

How does it work

While the default music player works well, its interface means its not the easiest to use on the move. This app is merely a skin for the player with larger buttons and a neat look that make it easier to use when youre driving.

Verdict

With Aux ports becoming a standard feature on most cars, the use of iPhones and iPods as a music source has increased, but you still have to use the device to change tracks. With Car Audio Decks simple interface, we found it easy to select and play songs without having to take our eyes off the road.

DRIVING LICENCE GUIDE

Cost: Rs 58.29

App size: 2.0MB

What is it

For people who are learning or have recently learnt to drive in India, this is a handy app to have on your phone at all times. It contains a comprehensive list of all our road signs and the steps you need to take to apply for a driving licence.

How does it work

The app gives you three options on the home screen to choose from. The Steps for DL tab lists all the steps you need to take, forms that need to be filled and the documents that you need to carry when applying for a driving licence. Road Symbols contains a list of all the road signs and their meanings. And finally the Take a Test section contains two sections called Mock Test and Practice Test.

Verdict

It is a useful app for people who have just learnt to drive and the amount of information is quite exhaustive. The driving tests give you a reality check on exactly how much you know about driving rules in India. This app doesnt require an internet connection to work, and hence can be used anywhere.

CAR MINDER PLUS

Cost: Rs 158.29

App size: 5.0MB

What is it

An app to keep track of and manage your cars various functions such as service schedules, maintenance needs as well as repairs.

How does it work

Once you enter in the details of your car and its overall service history, the app does the rest. It keeps a track of some really important things about your car such as oil changes, tyre rotations and other maintenance requirements. The app also gives you the option to record when you fill up your car so that it can calculate its average fuel consumption.

Verdict

The app does exactly what it promises to do. In fact, you can even keep track of multiple vehicles and all their service and repair history will be stored under different tabs. There are different options to choose from for when you want the app to start alerting you, which can be either a certain number of days before the service or a set number of kilometres.

PARKING AID

Cost: Rs 53.46

App size: 2.0MB

What is it

Have you ever forgotten where you parked your car With this app on your phone, you will never face such a situation.

How does it work

The app uses the phones GPS to pinpoint your cars location on a map. Later on, when you need to find your car you can follow the directions on the map. One feature that sets it apart from similar apps is the live view, which uses the phones camera as a sort of augmented reality to lead the way using arrows.

Verdict

The interface is simple and is easy to navigate. However, the camera-based live view system is fiddly to say the least, and you will most likely get frustrated with it. Using the directions on the map is your best bet and you will always find the way back to your car.