You can’t get Samsung’s In-Traffic Reply app yet, even if you have a Samsung Galaxy S-whatever smartphone, but it’s an idea whose time has come. Maybe Apple will have something similar on iPhone that connects to the Apple Car.
In-Traffic Reply is a descriptive name for a Samsung app which uses the GPS sensors in the phone to detect if a user is moving in a car or on a bike. Once you hit a certain speed, the sensors detect the motion, and will automatically respond to calls and notifications. Cool, right?
Apple might be especially wary of copying an app from Samsung, but so what? Samsung has copied Apple for a decade, so what’s a little app that should be free? Samsung is on to something, though, but it’s also nothing new.
For example, my Watch has a Do Not Disturb button which turns off notifications on both Watch and iPhone. The problem, of course, is that it’s not automatic, and not tied to a motion sensor or GPS so it doesn’t get invoked without a swipe or click.
Samsung claims they did research to figure out that people who drive feel compelled to respond to phone calls and social media notifications. Well, duh. The study was conducted in the Netherlands, which happens to be the bicycle capital of the world, and results say the same about bicyclists as you would expect about those of us who drive and use our phones.
I see all kinds of options coming if Apple could built in a motion detection and GPS monitor hook for app developers.
Think of an app that would monitor your travel, bicycle, motorcycle, or car, limit incoming notifications, texts, and phone calls, while playing your favorite podcast, as an example. If there’s motion, you cannot text or call or check anything on the phone (unless actually overridden manually, all the time, to account for passengers who take calls and send texts).
That may sound somewhat totalitarian, but there’s little doubt it could save some lives. In the Samsung situation, the Netherlands government supported a campaign to reward children for not using their smartphones while bike riding.
Samsung or otherwise, this is an idea whose time has come.
Alright, what about manual overrides? After all, there are times when you may need to use the phone in speaker mode while driving. No problem. The manual override would be required each time instead of once and forever.
Yes, humanity being what it is, some smartphone owners will try to implement the manual override while they’re driving and that will cause accidents, too.
Clever apps aside, humanity might just be doomed.