All the cool kids have them. We’re talking about smartphone applications, better known by their street name, “apps.” If you’re one of the two people in your village who hasn’t heard of them before, these nifty programs can turn your smartphone into a real-life tricorder, straight James T. Kirk style. By simply downloading an app—usually for a nominal fee—you can use your phone to close the curtains in your house, receive GPS navigation instructions, pay your bar tab, or post useless information about yourself that no one cares about on Facebook. Clearly, they cover the gamut in usefulness, but for hot rodders, there’s a growing number of must-have apps to whet your hormonally imbalanced appetites. As such, we’ve rounded up 10 of the coolest gearhead apps for your perusal.
Not that long ago, only those who displayed bizarre enthusiasm for spending obscene piles of cash on otherwise underwhelming technology (cough, iPhone buyers) could jump on the app bandwagon. Fortunately, that’s all changed. Our roundup includes apps for both iPhone and Android devices, and many software developers offer apps for both platforms. Just some of our interesting finds include apps that turn your phone into a dragstrip, show you where the local bacon is hiding, track deals on eBay for potential project cars, and calculate every relevant automotive math formula known to man.
For car guys, Steve Jobs’ legacy isn’t the Mac or iPod, but rather the accelerometer he ordered his engineers to install in the iPhone. We’re not complaining, because it didn’t take the speed demons at BunsenTech very long to turn this piece of technology into a mobile dragstrip and dyno by creating the Dynolicious app. It works off the same principle as a windshield-mounted accelerometer, but without the hassle of cords or suction cups. Once installed, Dynolicious can measure 0-to-60 times, quarter-mile e.t.’s, lateral and braking g’s, and horsepower. Furthermore, the app boasts a real-time speedometer and a circle-of-traction graphic. At $12.99, it’s less than a trip to test-and-tune night at the dragstrip, and the potential for juvenile entertainment is endless. Just make sure to follow all local traffic laws. Read more about it at www.BunsenTech.com.
All hot rodders are guilty of shopping for project cars online in their cubicles. Now you can take corporate inefficiency to the next level by shopping during senseless weekly meetings with eBay’s vehicle finder app. Just punch in the type of car you’re looking for, and bid right from your phone. It even gives you real-time updates on the status of your bids. A cool new feature is a search-by-image tool that allows users to take a picture of the type of car they’re interested in. The app then references the image to its database, and pulls up similar make and model cars that are for sale. According to eBay, nearly 2,800 cars are sold each week using the app. The bad news is that only iPhone users can get in on the action, but it’s available for free download at www.Mobile.eBay.com.
For as long as law enforcement has been making up for slow-economy-induced budget cuts by writing more tickets, John Q. Public has been trying to stay one step ahead with radar tracking devices. OK, the cat and mouse game has been going on much longer than that, but the digital era has empowered the public with new tools to more effectively track the local herds of bacon. Using your smartphone’s internal GPS, the Trapster app alerts drivers of speed traps and red light cameras in your vicinity. It can even be set up with audible warnings as you approach potential ticket zones. Interestingly, Trapster determines speed enforcement hot spots using input from its 15 million users. Any Trapster user can become an informant and rat out where the Five-Oh are hiding. Best of all, it’s free to download for iPhone and Android users at www.Trapster.com.