I used to be one of those folks checking email, Twitter or my text messages while driving. After viewing some public service type announcements and having one close call to many, I decided to put the phone in my pocket before entering a vehicle. Even if I’m stuck in traffic these days, I still resist the urge to get connected. Some people just can’t hang up the habit however, and I found one company with a software solution when browsing Jason Langridge’s blog today.
ZoomSafer leverages the GPS receiver in your smartphone to determine when you’re moving about in a vehicle. If you’re zipping around the town, the software locks down your device keyboard and display, eliminating distractions. The solution can be set for auto-activation, but there’s also a “passenger mode” setting, allowing for phone use while sitting shotgun. I like the auto-respond feature as well — if set, ZoomSafer will reply to incoming text messages or emails, so folks know that you’re on the road and therefore unavailable. The software also works with a Bluetooth headset to announce callers, removing the need to look at your phone.
There’s definitely a benefit involved for the smartphone addicts out there with a product like this. You can pay either a monthly fee at $2.99 a month or buy a perpetual license for a one-time fee of $25 — both of which are likely far less expensive than an unfortunate accident caused by using the phone while driving. For now, ZoomSafer is only available on certain BlackBerry handsets, although there’s also a free beta version for select Windows Mobile handsets. The company also plans an Android version for release this quarter.
Related research on GigaOM Pro (sub req’d):