Smartphone Texting While Driving Solution Not for IPhone?
Editorial by Erik Wood, Founder - OTTER LLC, October 21st, 2010
Since my young daughter was nearly run down right in front of me by a texting driver, I have been dedicated to effecting tangible change on our highways with regard to the text and drive epidemic. Our texting management app called OTTER (One Touch Text Response) has a built in GPS / texting interface which allows the driver's smartphone to know when it's in a moving vehicle. OTTER then silences all chimes, ringtones and buzzes while sending incoming texts a customizable auto reply.
Our first targeted smartphone platform was Apple's iPhone. It seemed like a natural fit for OTTER. However, we quickly found that the iPhone operating system does not allow 3rd party apps like ours to run freely on their system. Specifically I need to be able to know when a text is being received and I need to be able to access the volume settings for the phone. So I moved us to the Android operating system which presented no such programming limitations. Next we built our app for Blackberry and again did not find these limitations. Our next platform, due out in December of this year, will be in Nokia's Ovi App Store and, once again, we do not see any restriction on our apps functionality.
What is different about Apple? Just to be clear... there are absolutely no hardware restrictions. In other words, the iPhone series is a very sophisticated device that could easily run our app. It is, therefore, a management decision to lock down the iPhone operating system. Is Apple doing this because they don't care about an affordable text and drive solution? I doubt that. I think Apple has a loyal following and they earned this following by providing a measure of security to their products that their customers have come to expect. I do think that if Steve Jobs wanted OTTER to run on his phones, it would be a simple line of programming code that could get us there. We have had many OTTER fans write Apple asking them to let us in and so maybe it will happen soon. I know it will save many lives... and it would insure that my iPhone toting wife wasn't tempted by a distracting ringtone on her way home tonight.
If you would like to write Apple about this issue, please use the following link and feel free to mention my name and OTTER: http://www.apple.com/feedback/iphone.html.
This article was written in response to Marcela Shine's article Is Apple Choosing iPhone 'Life' Over Your Family's?
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