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Driving You to Distraction

October 15th, 2013 - 5:06 am

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Windows Phone 8 is getting a nifty new feature:

Something that may appeal to motorists: a new Driving Mode will automatically silence incoming calls and texts so that you can focus on the road. You also can configure the feature to automatically send out a reply to say that you’re driving.

It can be activated automatically when the phone is linked wirelessly with a Bluetooth device in the car, such as a headset. Apple has a Do Not Disturb feature for iPhones, but that needs to be turned on manually.

What the Driving Mode won’t do, however, is block outgoing calls or texts. And there will be ways to override it. The feature won’t stop a teenager from texting while driving, but it will help reduce distractions for those who want that, says Greg Sullivan, director for Microsoft’s Windows Phone business.

During six years of iPhone use over three different models, I had to turn off the “Ask to Join Networks” feature under WiFi — and leave it off. Every time I drove somewhere, it would pick up local WiFi routers for just a few seconds each, and ask me each and every time if I wanted to join them. The popups were a noisy nuisance. The M7 motion chip in the new iPhone 5S tells the phone when it thinks you’re driving, and automatically stops hunting for WiFi networks for the duration of the trip. I like that a lot, and have switched “Ask to Join Networks” back on for the first time since 2007.

But this Windows Phone feature would be a very nice addition to iOS 7.1.

Hint, hint.

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All Comments   (5)
All Comments   (5)
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I disagree with you, Steve, for the reasons others have listed below. AS for "Discover Networks", I've always had the turned off, and I always will. Just because I'm someplace where there is a network, doesn't mean I want to use it. You want to use someone else's unsecured network (someone who you don't necessarily know, or trust), rather than your own connection to ATT? Why? You want to have your phone stop getting email, because it's now using some WiFi network that requires you to click on a button accepting terms before you can get any data?

Pass.
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
GPS may be able to tell if your phone is in motion, but it cannot tell if the phone belongs to the driver or a passenger.
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
Will it take emergency call like "Honey, will you please pick up some flour from the grocery store on your way home?"

26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
While it would be pretty trivial to do that sort of thing based on GPS speed, thereby side-stepping the silly bluetooth arrangement, it seems like needless clutter to me.

Get in car, flip mute switch on phone, toss phone in console or on pax seat. Done.
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
" Every time I drove somewhere, it would pick up local WiFi routers for just a few seconds each, and ask me each and every time if I wanted to join them. The popups were a noisy nuisance."

They were? I mean, they make a noise?

I never had that happen when I was using my iPhone.
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
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