An App Explosion
The Otter app ($3.99, Android, Blackberry, Nokia) has similar functionality. Two versions of the Otter app also allow the user to post auto replies for specified durations and enable one-touch text auto reply, equally customizable.
Among the functions of the TruckSmart app from TA-Petro are quick-push calls to RoadSquad mobile services: The RoadSquad national call center captures precise coordinates (latitude and longitude) of the downed trucker, providing RoadSquad precise dispatch capability. The TruckSmart app updates parking availability at all TA-Petro locations every two hours. Company rep Tom Liutkis notes the certainty this adds to finding space in the crowded evening hours. If a driver sees 30 spots available 30 miles out, he “can feel pretty certain he’ll have a place to park for the night.” TruckSmart developers are working on a Web-enabling interface for users of other smartphone platforms.
“The database of truckstops powering this app is the most complete in the country and is updated daily,” makers of the Trucker Tools app say. Services, such as TransFlo and TripPak, available at each stop are also listed and can be searched.
The CAT Scale Locator application for iPhone is also available for Android users. The app allows drivers to locate the nearest CAT Scale through GPS on their phone. Drivers can also search for CAT Scales in other areas and get directions.
Unless otherwise noted, the apps discussed here are free and available in the iTunes app store for iPhone or in application markets for other devices. Most iPhone and Android apps are also functional on tablets, such as the iPad, powered by the operating systems, though special tablet versions of the apps may be available with added functionality.
For special apps for finding freight, managing money, navigation and the brand-new Trucker Buddy app, check out our special features via http://truckersnews.com/category/Nov-Apps.
TruckerNet in August released a video promoting its one-touch emergency road service. Scan the QR code to watch the drama unfold as a downed trucker schools an at-first irascible small-town sheriff on the app’s features.
Radio and music
No surprise: Some of the most popular apps among drivers are music and radio-related. Just as satellite radio opened up broadcast continuity for interstate travelers, smartphone apps are not only enabling access to more and more music sources but also capturing local broadcasts nationally. All of these apps require a large amount of cellular data when accessed while moving, so keep that in mind before you limit your phone’s data plan.
Satellite radio is available via your smartphone. The SiriusXM Internet Radio app (most platforms) enables access to more than 120 channels to subscribers for $12.95 a month, Road Dog Trucking Radio included. For free the iHeartRadio app (most platforms) has aggregated Internet radio streams from 750-plus stations around the nation, as has the TuneIn app (most platforms) for thousands of stations around the world.
Pandora Radio’s app (most platforms) allows users to create custom radio stations based on individual preferences — a great way to discover new music. And Last.fm’s various apps for multiple platforms function somewhat similarly, with an optional sharing network included.