LG Optimus LTE Android smartphone with LG Tag+Enlarge Photo
Mobile phones are often criticized as distractions, particularly for drivers. According to Mashable, however, handset maker LG aims to make modern life a little more focused, thanks to some well-placed stickers.
Like the automobile, the television, and many other inventions, mobile phones bring people together, making the world a little smaller. But also like those inventions, the changes cell phones bring aren't entirely good. Thousands of people are killed each year in collisions caused by distracted drivers, many of whom were talking on their phones or sending text messages at the time of the accident. In 2010, nearly 3100 U.S. traffic fatalities were linked to distracted driving.
Countless solutions have been posed to address this problem. Apps like Drive Safe.ly litter the Android Marketplace and iTunes, promising to disable your phone when you're in a moving vehicle. Service providers like T-Mobile and Sprint have joined the fight, too. And just yesterday, Ray LaHood suggested new guidelines for automakers to bring them onboard.
One of our favorite inventions to date has come from a startup called Cellcontrol, which uses a small, Bluetooth-enabled device that plugs into a car's OBD-II port to disable any paired mobile phone. Now, handset maker LG has come up with a similar solution using near-field communications (NFC) technology and a series of stickers.
LG Optimus LTE with Tag+
LG recently upgraded its Optimus LTE handset, adding NFC capabilities. This will allow the Optimus to communicate with a range of nearby devices, including properly equipped vending machines and cash registers.
But LG has taken this a step further, developing a new feature called LG Tag+. In a nutshell, Tag+ comes with special stickers that can be placed anywhere -- in your home, on your desk, or in your car. Optimus owners can program the tags in such a way that when the phone is in range, it reacts a certain way. So, for example, you might program the tag to tell your phone to switch to vibrate when you're in your office. Or you might have it disable text messaging when you're in the car.
Obviously, this presents many of the same advantages of Cellcontrol, but LG's technology is likely much, much cheaper. And of course, Cellcontrol is limited to cars, while Tag+ can go almost anyplace.
Until we fully come to terms with mobile phones and how to interact with them responsibly, solutions to the problem of distracted driving are going to come from all corners -- handset makers, app developers, service providers, and car companies.
For now, however, mobile phone users are responsible for finding the solution that works best for them. LG's Tag+ could offer some exciting and effective new options on that front.