Cars and mobile phones haven’t had a very happy relationship. For most people, a car/phone interface means a bracket suction-cupped to the windscreen. At best, it means a Bluetooth connection between the phone and the car’s infotainment system, that leaves much to be desired. Trying to rectify this situation, Israeli telecom company Accel Telecom describes its new VOYAGER smartphone as the “first standalone connected car smartphone,” designed with the car specifically in mind.
Using an existing phone number by way of a twin-SIM card, Accel says that the VOYAGER can be easily installed in any car. The Android and HSUPA Qualcomm-based device is designed for the car environment, with large hard keys that are easy to use by touch, as well as voice- activated command functions.
For those who have spent a lot of time shouting while using a phone on speaker mode while driving, there’s a welcome attempt at high-level noise reduction and echo cancellation. In addition, there’s a Waze launcher for navigation, and the phone provides in-car 3G-WiFi hotspot connectivity and integration with Google and Exchange.
The VOYAGER has one neat little party trick in that it can be connected to the car’s onboard diagnostics via Bluetooth or RS232 port, so when it isn’t placing calls or playing music it can provide updates on the car’s systems. However, given the quirkiness and variability of many automotive electronic systems, it remains to be seen how many cars the VOYAGER can integrate with, and how well.
Pricing has yet to be announced.
The video below introduces the VOYAGER smartphone.