Google Car Home for Android Gets Navigation Shortcuts

Google Oct. 1 decoupled its Car Home for Android application from the Android operating system and added custom shortcuts. However, the upgrade is only good for the Google Nexus One and Motorola Droid smartphones.

Google Oct. 1 refreshed its Car Home for Android application, decoupling it from the core operating system and providing custom shortcuts for users of the Google Nexus One and Motorola Droid smartphones.

Apart from location accuracy, the hallmark of good GPS navigation products is their ability to let drivers drive without fussing over what buttons to tap on their navigation device or smartphone.

Car Home for Android now lets users create shortcuts so they can access GPS coordinates, voice commands and contacts with a single touch on their handset while driving.

Users can also customize the color of the shortcut icons and choose a wallpaper for the app in the "Settings" section.

Users will set up shortcuts by selecting an icon marked "Add shortcut" and manage them by long pressing or dragging and dropping them where they see fit on the screen.

Users can launch Car Home two ways. They can open the app directly from their phone or dock their phone in a car dock.

Now users can automatically switch to Car Home when their phone pairs with any Bluetooth device by tapping "Settings" from the Car Home screen and selecting which of the paired Bluetooth devices they want to automatically trigger Car Home.

It's nice that Car Home for Android has moved to the Android Market, following the company's decoupling of Gmail from the OS to avoid the fragmentation issue that has become associated with software upgrades.

However, Google also said the app is limited to the Nexus One, which isn't even available to the public anymore, and the Motorola Droid.

This freezes out users of the handful of other Android 2.2 devices on the market, including the Motorola Droid X, HTC Droid Incredible, HTC Evo 4G and presumably the Motorola Droid 2.

Several users complained about this in the comments on Google's blog post on the application, which is available in the Android Market for the two eligible devices now. JB wrote:

"Fragmentation for the loss, once again. Once my contract with my myTouch 3G is done I'm moving to another mobile platform. Even if I buy another android phone with 2.2 on it, there is no guarantee that it won't suffer the same fate as the myTouch 3G (it stopped getting updates past 1.6 and new apps are not supporting 1.6)."

Dave wrote: "ARRGH! Why couldn't Google have done this for 2.1 devices too?? My TMO Mytouch 3G Slide is only three months old but it can't run this!"

Mike added: "Any plans to update this app for other phone models in the near future? I've a Droid X and I'd like to update, please."