In this article, we're going to look at handy apps for a car dashboard. You can use these apps while driving without any unnecessary/dangerous manipulations with your phone, thus allowing you to concentrate on the road. At the same time, we're going to mention some best launchers, i.e. counterparts to Android Auto. All apps are distributed for free in their basic versions or offered for trial.
Parkopedia: Wikipedia of parking lots
The lack of a convenient parking lot makes it much more challenging to navigate around an unfamiliar city. Sometimes it takes several hours to find a suitable parking place, even if you're an experienced driver.
A small app called Parkopedia, which serves as a guide to parking in the world's largest cities can rescue you in such case. We're going to highlight the main features of the app (despite their apparent obviousness):
- Searching for a parking lot by the nearest location or a specific address
- Displaying different routes to access a chosen parking lot
- Parking status: how many places are currently available
- Additional information such as parking hours or the cost of a parking space
Parkopedia doesn't always display 100% accurate information, but it definitely can be used as a reference point. By the way, any user can leave a comment or point out a mistake made by another user. This way, the app gets better.
AGAMA Car Launcher: a worthy alternative to Android Auto
A mobile app for obtaining comprehensive information on your car via smartphone/tablet, similar to Android Auto. Install this launcher by way of alternative, mount it on your dashboard and stay aware of what is happening. AGAMA Car Launcher adapts flexibly to your car design and requirements.
The main features of the launcher:
- Setting up hotkeys to quickly launch apps
- Music player control keys (all popular apps are supported: AIMP, Spotify, Poweramp, etc.)
- Displaying a GPS speedometer with the ability to customise its design and speed limit
- Managing your smartphone/tablet via Google assistant
- Managing Google Maps and Yandex navigation apps
- Auxiliary information which duplicates the Android status bar and widgets
In general, AGAMA Car Launcher is a convenient shell combining all the features a driver can find significant. The app will make sure you aren't distracted from the road, and at the same time, it'll provide you with quick access to your gadget.
Car Launcher FREE
Another replacement for Android Auto which can be installed on smartphones, as well as tablets and digital radios running under Android 4.0 and higher. Most often, the launcher is used to quickly run and manage apps or access the installed navigation app (for example, Google Maps / Waze) and other widgets.
The app features:
- Creating a list for running frequently used apps
- Quick access to files and folders on your smartphone
- GPS speedometer and travelled distance calculation
- Configuring the smartphone screen: displaying summary information on the home screen
- Calling a smart assistant: Google / Alice
- Setting up themes and icons
- Adding screens and widgets to your dashboard
GPS-speedometer (Smart Mobile Tools)
This GPS-speedometer can be a great addition to your car dashboard. Or a temporary replacement, for example, if your digital speedometer won't work. Which happens, although rarely.
The Smart Mobile Tools speedometer uses GPS-satellites to measure your vehicle speed and travelled distance. Just open the app, enable it – and all metrics will be recorded automatically. If necessary, you can change the units of measurement, i.e. miles/kilometres.
This speedometer doesn't have a large number of features, but there is a very convenient option – speed limit. If you exceed the set speed limit, a signal will be triggered to notify you, so you reduce the speed promptly.
The app is free of charge, with an average user rating of 4.5 (which is a high score for the Play Market).
HERE WeGo: an offline navigation app for cars
If you're looking for the most robust offline navigation app for a car, the one we highly recommend is HERE WeGo. It's suitable for pedestrians, hikers, bicyclists and drivers.
Offline mode is the main advantage of this navigation app and directory. HERE WeGo won't warn you on traffic jams or speed cameras (or anything else depending on your mobile Internet connection), but you'll find a lot of useful information here. Nearest parking lots and their availability, opening hours of shops and museums, ticket prices. It supports more than 1000 major cities in the world – Berlin, Moscow, Kyiv, London, etc.
In online mode, HERE WeGo allows you to build alternative routes, monitor the traffic conditions – in general, it offers even more features that are necessary for any driver.
If you are on the road and are unsure about the quality of the Internet connection anywhere you go, simply install HERE WeGo.
Google Maps: navigation around cities and countries
Official Google app for Android and iOS users. With it, you can turn your mobile device into a full-fledged and free GPS-navigator.
Its distinctive features:
- close integration with the Google Maps service,
- accurately and quickly maps routes,
- allows finding the road conditions in real-time,
- it can work offline (only GPS-satellite connection is required).
The latest versions of the Google Maps app include a speedometer. This navigation app also informs you about radars (speed cameras), shows toll roads and advises you how to avoid them.
Waze: a free navigation app with detailed maps
This GPS-navigation app is the closest counterpart to Google Maps. The development is carried out by a community of enthusiasts (using a crowd-sourcing model). What advantages does Waze have over its competitors?
- Waze often has the highest degree of map details, especially for non-popular places and small cities
- Drivers will be able to accurately predict traffic congestion (minute by minute, almost in real-time)
- The building of an alternative route, avoiding toll roads
- Setting up voice support: for example, you can "invite" Morgan Freeman to be your voice assistant or record your own voice
- Close integration with the Android Auto notification system
However, the navigation app also has its disadvantages (compared to HERE WeGo and Google Maps). In particular, its offline mode is far from perfect and not intuitive.