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Gadgets & Gizmos

From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

And now the iPhone is a radar detector too



Every day I peruse the iPhone app store, looking for new and innovative apps. It amazes me to see what's available and reminds me of the old Popeil Veg-O-Matic commercials:

"It's a phone, it's a camera, it's a bar-code reader, it's a pedometer, it's a radar detector, it slices, it dices..."

Except for the "slices and dices" part, everything above is now true about the iPhone. Radar detector? Yup. Enter iRadar from Cobra.


The Cobra iRadar™ is a radar, laser and speed & red light camera detection device that communicates with your iPhone through a special app, effectivley making your iPhone a radar detector. Through a Bluetooth connection you can view radar alerts, control settings, log alert history and be warned of upcoming speed and red-light cameras.

One of the unique features of this system it's advertised ability to use the data connection on the iPhone for GPS positioning and live updates. Cobra says the iRadar app provides up to the minute speed and red light camera alerts, known speed traps and dangerous intersection alerts that are 100% verified and updated daily through Cobra’s exclusive AURA™ Camera & Driving Hazard Database.


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The Cobra iRadar app can be operated in Dashboard mode or Map View. Dashboard mode shows your speed and direction, while Map View pinpoints all local AURA locations on a Google Map. The app also lets you track you radar alert history and shows previous alert locations on the Map View. This allows you to identify high enforcement areas and common false alert areas.

The iPhone app is free and will display alerts to speed & redlight cameras, known speed traps, and dangerous intersections. For full functionality including actual radar and laser detection you have to purchase the iRadar detection unit.

This is an interesting innovation. The one part I don't like, however, is it's one more device in the car that encourages the driver to look away from the road. To Cobra's credit, a splash screen offers a "legal notice" asking the user to agree not to use the app while driving. That's a CYA move on their part and very ironic, since the app is obviously intended to be used while driving. But that of course, is what keeps many lawyers in business.



[Last modified: Monday, November 1, 2010 11:06am]


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