Out for a ride with Dragon’s Driver Mode for Android

BY GreenBot Staff

Published 18 Jun 2013

Nuance’s Dragon Mobile Assistant app for Android has just received a big update, including a Driver Mode that automatically starts listening for voice comms reading notifications when you’re behind the wheel.

Driver Mode is supposed to prevent you from ever having to touch your phone in the car. Instead of fiddling with buttons, you can simply say “Hello Dragon” to begin a voice comm. Driver Mode can be set to turn on automatically when your phone connects to the car’s Bluetooth system, docking station, or by audio cable. In theory, Dragon can also turn on Driver Mode when the car starts moving by detecting the phone’s G location.

The motion detection feature is most interesting, because many cars still don’t have built in Bluetooth or a docking station for Android phones. However, I didn’t have much luck getting this feature to work properly.

ile driving around my neighborhood with G tracking motion detection enabled, Dragon’s Driver Mode never activated on its own. Strangely, background voice detection did engage on occasion when I opened the Dragon app, but I couldn’t reliably duplicate this occurrence. Besides, having to open the app defeats the purpose of automatic voice detection.

It doesn’t help that Dragon’s settings menu for Driver Mode is confusing. Under Driver Mode settings, there are options to turn on background voice detection read aloud notifications. However, these are actually options to permanently turn on these features, whether you’re driving or not. Their placement within Dragon’s settings menu is misleading.

To make things worse, turning on voice detection read aloud notifications can be a big battery drain, caused my HTC One to become hot. so, each of these features, when enabled, create a persistent icon line on the Android notification bar.

The good news us that if you have one of the other connection methods available, Dragon’s Driver Mode works much more reliably. en I plugged in an audio cable, voice detection read out notifications both switched on immediately, they turned off as soon as I unplugged the cable. And thanks to the new update, you can now have Facebook notifications read aloud to you while you drive, can dictate entire emails.

th a Bluetooth connection, docking station or audio cable, Dragon’s new Driver Mode can be a hy hs-free solution for Android phones. st don’t expect the driving detection to work nearly as well.