A First Look at smartCARS Mobile

The time has finally come to show off smartCARS Mobile! In a sentence: smartCARS Mobile will help you stay active and engaged in both your flight and the community from the palm of your hand. Without further ado, let’s break into some pictures. I’ll explain more about each feature below.

 

First up, the “ACARS” system.

Photo Jun 12, 3 14 39 AM Photo Jun 12, 3 14 48 AM

There are a few key features to note here. The first and foremost is that this data is in real time. Unlike almost all other solutions (live maps, etc.), this is a live feed straight from your flight to your phone. This allows you to monitor your flight as it’s happening, and if you feel the need to intervene, you can pause your sim from the same location.

The other main feature of this system is the “Pause sim under abnormal conditions” system. Checking this box will enable an intelligent flight monitor (which will also be available to smartCARS Premium users via the smartCARS desktop client upon the release of 2.1). If your flight deviates from standard”conditions (there’s unusual altitude deviation, drastic heading variation, etc.), your flight will be paused and you will receive a push notification on your phone. This means you will never again sit back down in the cockpit to find your plane suddenly descending 500NM early – now, you’ll have the chance to step in.

This poses benefits to both the hardcore simmer who never leaves his flight unattended and the more casual simmer who’s life interferes with flying. Whether you’re there with the simulator (FS9, FSX, X-Plane, or Prepar3D) minimized, or you had to run to the store, you can be confident that your information is up to date.

The mobile flight tracking system will automatically track your active flight from any smartCARS desktop client, assuming you’ve logged in to your Premium account.

 

Next up, chat.

Photo Jun 12, 3 07 48 AM photo3[1] Photo Jun 12, 3 08 45 AM

The smartCARS Mobile chat supports both global (inter-airline and now, inter-phone) and private messaging. Private messages will deliver push notifications to your phone. There is also an option to have the smartCARS chat show you as online even when you’re not in the app (again, this is optional), so that your friends or fellow airline-members can reach you via smartCARS mobile.

All private conversations are synced across any mobile device logged in to your account – start a conversation on your Nexus and finish it on your iPad. Use of the smartCARS Mobile chat does not require a virtual airline account or an active instance of smartCARS desktop.

 

“Leaving the Cockpit”

smartCARS Premium and smartCARS Mobile both work toward saving flights from computer issues, sim problems, and unpredictable changes of plans from ending a flight unexpectedly. Quite a few virtual airlines have policies against “leaving the cockpit” during flight. Sadly, that isn’t always possible and life does get in the way sometimes. We encourage virtual airlines to look at smartCARS Premium/Mobile as a way to keep flights that otherwise may have been lost. We believe that leveraging the features of smartCARS Premium, over time, will help to make flying more convenient while retaining quality flights and realism.

 

Some Extra Images

Here are various images to show different tabs in different orientations.

photo1[1] Photo Jun 12, 3 09 01 AM photo6[1] photo5[1]

 

Availability

The apps are currently “finished” as far as core functionality and design. They are operating on their native platforms and working as expected. We are planning to enter beta within the next week (and we will post information about beta when it becomes available). A smartCARS Premium subscription includes access to the smartCARS Mobile app ($3.99/mo).

smartCARS Mobile supports any modern Android, iOS, or Windows Phone device.

 

Wrapping up

As a disclaimer, we will likely modify or improve various elements both visually and functionally between now and the release of the apps, but the pictures above are a good indication of what smartCARS Mobile will be. We’re looking forward to putting the “smart” into smartCARS and putting that intelligence in the palm of your hand very soon.

 

Edit:

This app is NOT a flight tracker for mobile flight simulators. It extends the features of smartCARS Desktop and allows you to monitor and attend to your desktop simulator from your mobile device. There was some confusion regarding this topic, so I wanted to clarify.

Posted in Development, News.

Collin Biedenkapp

I am the lead programmer at TFDi Design.