This is an odd series of events indeed. Yesterday evening, Google posted a new and updated version of the Car Home app on the Market. I happen to be browsing around the Market at the same time, so I downloaded it, intending to look at it further this morning.
By this morning, however, as I was getting ready to write up a quick article on it, I discovered that the app had been removed from the Market. So I set about doing what any good geek would have. I pulled the APK off of the phone that I had downloaded it on and immediately posted it up in to our downloads section. Before you head over and download it, beware that you must be running Froyo to use it.
As for the app itself, I have to say, this is my new go-to car home. I have a few small complaints with it, but overall it's a great improvement. For more info and some screenshots, head to the full article.
The new and improved Google Car Home represents a big step forward for those of you that like to use your Android for navigation, music, searching, etc. while it's mounted in a car dock. The original car panel app, and even the third party ones that were available on the Market often fell short in a lot of areas.
Here are some of the highlights of what I love in the new version:
- Automatically launches when your phone connects with a specific bluetooth device. This is a great feature if you don't use a OEM car dock, or one isn't available for your phone.
- Customizable shortcuts that you can assign to any app
- Easily assign shortcuts to specific addresses for navigation that you travel to regularly
- Five different screens that apps can be placed on
- Icon's are automatically shaded to a color you choose so everything matches
- Customizable wall paper
- Option to show or hide the status bar
As I mentioned in the opening segment above, the app requires Froyo. If you're running Android 2.1 or lower, it won't install (I tried.... several times).
It is a curious thing as to why the app mysteriously disappeared from the market. I can only speculate that it may be due to some bugs within the app. Perhaps it wasn't intended to be released last night but someone at Google didn't get the memo. Typically, when Google launches a new app, we see a post come up on their mobile blog. That didn't happen last night.
As for bugs in the app, I only found two that I can reproduce, and one that I can't.
- In the settings section, at the bottom, there's an option labeled "Android Settings". Tapping on that will result in a Force Close message every single time for me.
- Numerous times when I tried to add a new app to one of the shortcut boxes, the icon for the new app would be overlayed on top of the "Add shortcut" message that was in the box.
- One time, the app started maxing out the CPU on my EVO and wouldn't let it go until I rebooted the phone. This only happened once, however, and I haven't been able to reproduce it again.
The only other complaint I have about it is that the "swiping" sensitivity to move from screen to screen doesn't seem to be that great.
If you do download it, be aware that it may not show up in your app drawer. This was also confirmed by Androinica as well. That doesn't mean it isn't there though. Here is how I had to get it to launch:
- After installing the app, go in to the application drawer
- Launch the Car Panel app
- A box should pop up that asks you which app you want (Car Panel or Car Home).
- Tap the "Use default for this action" check box, then tap Car Home
- Have fun! Note that to get to the app Settings, you need to swipe to the second home screen
To download the app, click the link below. If you are browsing from your Android device, you can click the Download to Phone button below.
Google Car Home App (Direct from Robot Briefs, not a megaupload link)
Once you download the APK, you'll need to transfer it to your phone via Dropbox or USB cable.
If you're looking for a nice car dock app, this may just be what you're after. Give it download and check it out.