Review: EasyPlay makes your iPhone/iPod Touch slightly less dangerous to use while driving


So there you are, cruising down the road in your new Honda Civic. The sun’s beating down on the arm you’ve got casually hanging out the window, the wind riding up your sleeve. Then that damn song starts blasting out of your iPhone again — you know, the one that you’ve heard 53 times on the radio this week. “No more!”, you think to yourself, “I refuse to listen to this song again. Now, where’s that ‘Next Song’ button?” You jam your finger around aimlessly, searching for an impalpable beacon in the sea of glass that is the iPhone touchscreen. Frustrated, you glance down at the device – and BAM! You just hit a bus full of orphans.

If only you had Faceplant‘s EasyPlay! EasyPlay for the iPhone and iPod Touch wants to save buses full of orphans by enabling full iPod playback control via no-sight-needed gestures.

The concept is incredibly simple – so much, in fact, that it’s somewhat amazing that Apple didn’t incorporate this into the iPod to begin with.

First, you pick the songs you want to hear while you drive – sort of like an on-the-fly playlist. You can add individual songs, entire albums, your entire catalog, or pick from your pre-made playlists without much effort. Once your playlist is all queued up, you use gestures you’re already accustomed to from other applications to control playback without having to take your eyes off the road. Next song? Swipe right-to-left across the screen. Previous song? Swipe left-to-right. Volume control? Swipe up or down. Like we said – incredibly simple.

As a bit of a bonus feature, it can also track down and display Album Art for songs in your collection that otherwise don’t have it. It’s not going to find art for that crazy obscure local band who you figured you’d support because they kind of sucked and no one was buying their CD, but it has a pretty decent hit rate.

At $1.99, it may seem a little bit pricey for a single purpose app – but it’s a whole lot cheaper than getting your front end fixed after you drift into an embankment. (Disclaimer: Gestures or not, distractions are distractions. Keep your eyes on the road)

What we like:

  • It works exactly as promised.
  • The album art feature is a thoughtful addition, and seems to work better than we’d have expected

What we don’t:

  • There’s no way to edit your playlist once you’ve started playback – you can only start new ones.

If you drive a lot and don’t have a hands-off means of controlling playback (such as steering wheel controls), EasyPlay is a good alternative. Two bucks is a bargain if it means you can still jam out without taking your eyes off the road. Find it in the App Store here. [iTunes Link]

(Fun Trivia: EasyPlay was made by Charles Ying, who just-so-happens to have been the winner of Samsung’s TouchWiz Widget competition a few months back. If anyone’s looking to acquire some mobile dev talent, he seems like a pretty multi-faceted dude.)