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Sailfish car mode UI or future Sailfish/Jolla IVI

asked 2013-12-30 13:54:01 +0200

fk_lx gravatar image

updated 2013-12-30 13:56:25 +0200

It would be great if Sailfish had a car mode. I used to travel a lot by car with my N9 and I really liked navigation app there. But sometimes you are stuck in a trafic jam, waiting on red lights or driving on straight highway with no or very low traffic and would like to do other things than navigation - for example check e-mail or send SMS (with predefined message "I'm driving do not disturb"). Hitting small icons when your phone is laying safely in holder is a difficult action to do. Moreover even VKB should be larger and possibly take even the whole screen to make typing easy. What about simple voice commands for most frequently used functions? I can imagine such car mode UI could be also a beginning for future Sailfish IVI (yeah it might sound like a very distant in time idea to happen, but why not to think about it - there are already Android based IVIs in cars like for example Renault R-Link and as we all probably know Sailfish runs on Android hardware).

So I would like to hear your ideas on the topic:

  • How Sailfish UI should look like in car mode.?
  • What parts of current UI wouldn't be much useful in such conditions and what kind of solutions could be introduced ?
  • What options would you expect to be easily accessible?
  • What kind of additional functions of your Jolla in car enviroment you can imagine?
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Answering automatically with messages whilst driving is I think a much better idea, you shouldn't touch your phone when speeding on the motorway especially not typing messages, I certainly hope that you're not checking your emails whilst driving. Voice commands are definitely the way to go if you have to use your phone.

fasza2mobile ( 2013-12-30 14:24:09 +0200 )edit

@fasza2mobile I don't see anything wrong in checking e-mails while stuck in a traffic jam. Especially if you are waiting for an e-mail that might change your journey plans. I never typed an e-mail while on highway and yeah it's hard to imagine that.

fk_lx ( 2013-12-30 14:34:30 +0200 )edit

@fk_lx I only opposed to check your emails when driving at a speed, I have nothing against you or anyone using their phone waiting at a traffic light or in traffic. I've seen cab driver texting whilst driving on a major/busy road.

fasza2mobile ( 2013-12-30 15:01:06 +0200 )edit

Currently the display is shutdown after a delay, even while you are using Maps-app and trying to navigate. So at least that should be changed.

Milo ( 2013-12-30 17:54:55 +0200 )edit

@fasza2mobile it all depends on conditions, I had situations when I was driving through completely empty highway and read subjects and senders of e-mails occasionally and then if if it was something really expected and urgent I just stopped at nearest parking area to read it.

fk_lx ( 2013-12-30 18:15:29 +0200 )edit

15 Answers

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answered 2014-02-16 20:41:38 +0200

HighCast gravatar image

I'd like to see Mirrorlink car device connectivity at Sailfish OS. This would allow, for example, using SailfishOS UI on a car device touch screen.


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this is imo the best way to g

teun ( 2015-02-09 16:34:54 +0200 )edit

I also would like if MirrorLink would be part of Sailfish OS

mastal ( 2016-01-27 14:57:20 +0200 )edit

Mirrorlink looks promising, but it can't work when car is moving.

4dmonster ( 2017-09-06 09:26:07 +0200 )edit

would be great!

TW1920 ( 2019-06-28 02:03:08 +0200 )edit

answered 2014-01-05 13:51:36 +0200

bilgy_no1 gravatar image

It would be great for me if Jolla had some kind of 'Car Panel' mode, similar to what HTC offers on their phones. In the Car Panel mode, several apps are available on the screen: navigation, phone, music. The screen stays on, so if you want to initatie a call, you do not first need to wake the screen.

It's already very functional on Android, but I think it could be even better on Sailfish, due to the better multitasking. Navigation could stay active, while you're making a phone call (in the case of the HTC panel, you need to exit navigation first and restart it after your call. This entails too many pushes etc. which is not safe while driving). In landscape mode, you could have colums for minimised apps, and a simple sweep changes to the next app. Or even just the basic home screen, but with the associated apps opening automatically.

I also envision that the car panel mode starts up when in contact with a car dock. It would be great to use a TOH for that (start Car Panel, charge the phone, connect BT to car sound system).

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that would be great:

I also envision that the car panel mode starts up when in contact with a car dock. It would be great to use a TOH for that (start Car Panel, charge the phone, connect BT to car sound system)

peter-berlin ( 2014-02-23 16:17:30 +0200 )edit

it would be nice if your car could start when you connect Jolla to TOH car dock =) i mean your start engine button would work only after you've connected Jolla

virgi26 ( 2014-02-27 12:18:22 +0200 )edit

MirrorLink would be a great feature. I don't want to use a Android for it...

TW1920 ( 2019-06-28 02:03:45 +0200 )edit

answered 2017-08-17 22:09:23 +0200

vattuvarg gravatar image

updated 2017-08-29 13:01:09 +0200

Helm 2.0

Updated - and simplified - specs for in-vehicle use


Special hardware is no longer needed. Both phones and tablets could be used.


Some additions would be required. These modifications might also benefit the Sailfish OS experience outside the vehicle.

  • Minimalistic native navigation based on open source code with data from OpenStreetMap (or similar). Poor maps is an existing app that keeps improving. Cover shows turning direction and distance.

  • Dynamic circadian ambience engine adapted for minimized eye strain day, including a night vision mode.

  • Home screen based on the Deck of Cards idea. This would allow certain covers to be larger on the home screen. Each ambience would have a deck setting, allowing for quick changes in use mode. One ambience for driving, another for the bike and a third for walking.

  • New audio settings for navigation instructions in headset while serving in-car media.


The multitasking of Sailfish OS allows for separate apps to be used in the dashboard. Thus each app could concentrate on a specific task and still not exclude other functions. The usual gestures would be used for interacting with the system (including three-finger audio volume).

  • Speedometer based on GPS data. Digital and/or analog view. The Hud app does the job and looks could be improved.

  • Media player including FM Radio (if available on device).

  • Inclinometer and tilt meter with separated or combined view.

  • Tethering for shared WiFi access.

  • Bluetooth integration for in-vehicle audio and user headset.

  • Weather based on open data.

  • Magnetic Compass.

  • Dashboard Camera.

  • more

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Why do I post this now in such an old thread? Well, I saw the dashboard of the Riversimple Rasa, an electric car powered by a hydrogen fuel cell. It would be nice to find Sailfish OS behind that touch screen, something I've already told the nice people at Riversimple.

Riversimple Rasa dashboard

vattuvarg ( 2017-08-17 22:27:34 +0200 )edit


Helm 2.0 vertical "dashboard".

vattuvarg ( 2017-08-31 23:42:47 +0200 )edit


Concept for semi-circle speedometer layout.

The top speed of the speedometer dial should be adjustable.

vattuvarg ( 2017-08-31 23:58:44 +0200 )edit

Another step taken. Phone audio connected to car stereo. Now a Jolla C supplies the audio content inside the car, including FM radio. The cable is a bad antenna but the reception is good enough.

Poor Maps
The user interface is clean and simple to use. Lots of gestures which is nice. The cover shows instructions, which is adequate when driving rural roads. City traffic is best handled in full screen mode.

Nice to have native navigation again. Testing continues.

vattuvarg ( 2017-09-02 17:48:28 +0200 )edit

Weather data could be used while planning route and to suggest a safer maximum speed (and a more realistic travel time). The angle and intensity of the sun could also be used to improve driving safety. The rise and set times of both the sun and the moon could be used to adjust redshift and night modes.

vattuvarg ( 2017-09-02 19:51:57 +0200 )edit

answered 2013-12-30 16:14:32 +0200

chrjos gravatar image

Quick access to bluetooth-settings, answer/deny-button, maps and music will be fine. Plus, i really miss the fm-transmitter from my old Nokia N8 to listen to my music while driving and using navigation.

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I would really love the fm-transmitter in Jolla! I have my n900 all the time in the car with me because the fm-transmitter is one of the best features in it, especially when unlocked. Does anyone know if it would be possible to use n900's fm-transmitter and make a TOH with it? Or something similar because I don't want anything bad to happen for my n900 :)

joonne ( 2014-02-17 08:13:06 +0200 )edit

FM-transmitters a sub-optimal solution. You can play music over your car stereo through Bluetooth or even a jack-connector...

bilgy_no1 ( 2015-02-11 13:18:39 +0200 )edit

@bilgy_no1, eventhough Bluetooth is superior to FM, it is not easy all times. In my car, having Bluetooth but not profiles for music streaming, and factory fitted stereo, I have to do some extensive and expensive modification in the car in order to get that kind of functions working. Thus, a FM transmitter is a very feasible solution in many cases.

nick75 ( 2015-02-11 14:06:17 +0200 )edit

answered 2018-05-31 22:03:29 +0200

rgrnetalk gravatar image

updated 2018-09-04 01:00:58 +0200

Redesign and refactoring of HuD is almost done. Here is a (sneak) preview: image description

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Looks good. Will you be able to set the scale? Some people don't have the opportunity to reach 260 kmh ;)

edit : on a closer look at the picture I see the maximum speed setting

rfa ( 2018-06-01 13:56:25 +0200 )edit

yep, thats the one (especially for knots: try to sail that fast ;)

rgrnetalk ( 2018-06-01 16:17:23 +0200 )edit

HuD will be the base of my personal Helm2 setup. WhoGo is coming along very nicely. I've started nagging for a magnetic compass now... After that it's probably using my XX for Bluetooth audio IN as one of the sources in the media player.

Oh... I had a really shitty day yestarday. ...until I read your post. Thank you a thousand times for putting a smile on my face!

vattuvarg ( 2018-06-01 19:41:43 +0200 )edit

What about this idea for the cover? The line could be shorter.

smart watch face

vattuvarg ( 2018-06-01 19:52:28 +0200 )edit

@mosen - Have a look at the HuD app preview above...

vattuvarg ( 2018-06-09 21:53:43 +0200 )edit

answered 2014-01-28 23:49:15 +0200

this post is marked as community wiki

This post is a wiki. Anyone with karma >75 is welcome to improve it.

updated 2014-01-28 23:49:15 +0200

TimTTK gravatar image

When Sailfish will get more popular it could be even used in vehicles as central operating system to manage entertainment systems and other vehicle features. Something similar to the ones seen to be made by Android and Apple now in few cars. That would be something.

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It's an old answer, I know, but you're both wrong and right. Sailfish OS is better for vehicles that anything. ...because of the multitasking. But there is no reason to wait for more popularity. With popular comes imminent obsolescence. Smart TVs rarely get updated but new software in the infotainment is almost unheard of. The software of the car needs to last and Sailfish OS does that. Working with the Helm2 project made me discover that what we consider normal in our phones works well inside a car. Right now there's only three things missing from my in-car bucket list: Input from bluetooth devices (phone to car). FM radio. And an app for showing "didi" (direction and distance) to fuel, food and such things, without being a GPS. Everything else is already in place, imho.

vattuvarg ( 2018-09-07 20:23:59 +0200 )edit

answered 2014-01-29 17:17:52 +0200

Mariusmssj gravatar image

I think it would be nice to have feature similar to the one of an upcoming Windows Phone update where phone can be set into driving mode. What this does it can hold calls and automatically reply to a person by a message saying "Sorry I am driving" if the person is driving and can't answer a call or reply.

When driving mode is disabled the phone works normally.

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answered 2014-02-14 21:05:56 +0200

vattuvarg gravatar image

updated 2017-09-05 21:01:02 +0200

Jolla Helm

PLEASE NOTE that the specs below are obsolete. The updated Helm 2.0 is specified in another answer.

  • Equipped with a display for night driving (or night fishing). Super black and quickly reversable for head-up use behind the steering wheel.

  • Sticky wireless charger pad holds the phone while powering for extended GPS navigation, dashboard instrumentation and in-car media.

  • Modified Sailfish theme engine adapted for excellent night visibility while keeping night eyes clear and alert.

  • BrightNight dual colour (white and red) LED torchlight.

  • FM/DAB receiver with built-in antenna for traffic information, weather reports, in-vehicle entertainment, etc.

  • The Jumper Cable Other Half allows charging straight from 12V batteries as well as from wireless pad.

The above was posted in the Jolla second device hardware thread.

Hardware updates

  • Hydrophobically treated to endure humid environments (on a bike or a boat, etc).

  • Remote control for better driving safety. May also be controlled from bluetooth headset.

Software updates

  • Dashboard Ambience with settings for in-vehicle use. May be combined with the new deck of Cards idea.

  • Map with weather forecast overlay (based on both weather and speed data).

  • Tethering for in-vehicle WLAN access for passengers.

  • Native darkMess app for optical signaling (using the torchlight and camera).

  • Native waveHello app combines waving and dynamic display to create multicolor floating messages. (Like the monkeylectric wheel lights).

  • New audio settings for in-ear navigation and info while serving in-car media (radio, music or video).

  • Special navigational data for children, like the are-we-there-yet map mode.

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The remote control might be best done with another smartphone+app?

vattuvarg ( 2014-02-14 21:48:37 +0200 )edit

Context-based ambience colouring perhaps/ambience selection that changes to a more night change feasible?

Stskeeps ( 2014-02-15 21:53:36 +0200 )edit

Avoiding certain colours should help the biker/driver/captain/pilot keep the "night eyes". The new deck of cards idea could then arrange active covers in the shape of a dashboard. The radio (as an example) would show RDS data on the active cover. The media player already shows the current song. Maps would show next direction, etc. If the background of the dashboard ambience could be changed dynamically (e.g. to alert) then the rest would be up to the user.

vattuvarg ( 2014-02-15 23:07:20 +0200 )edit

Yes, MirrorLink, absolutely!

hwicha ( 2014-02-25 21:51:20 +0200 )edit

answered 2014-02-19 16:16:33 +0200

vattuvarg gravatar image

Changing things without looking would be nice. Matthaeus Krenn has a strange solution, but nice too. http://matthaeuskrenn.com/new-car-ui/

The multitouch idea could well be included in the IVI solution.

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Looks great, but the idea to relay on the number of fingers is a bit ....

deloptes ( 2018-10-12 01:43:33 +0200 )edit

The gestures of Sailfish OS are almost enough for my needs (with Helm2). The three-finger volume patch was nice when driving. Don't use it now, though.

vattuvarg ( 2018-10-13 18:44:21 +0200 )edit

answered 2017-09-05 00:26:57 +0200

rgrnetalk gravatar image

updated 2017-09-05 00:38:37 +0200

The design of the cover of hud could be changed to this:

image description

  • A clear scale
  • Maximum speed for the scale is chosen by the user (setting: 65, 130 or 260 kmh)
  • Important speed limits are indicated red) and can be chosen by the user (e.g. maximum 3 limits can be chosen)
  • Speed is indicated in large font
  • Speed unit is indicated in smaller font

Having a position fix can be indicated by changing the opacity of the speed and the speed unit (so no GPS icon on the cover.

(The cover can be used horizontally as wel: only the speed and speed unit has to rotate 90')

Building and testing the requested flexibility will be quite a challenge ;-)

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I would be happy with less. :) Wow.

vattuvarg ( 2017-09-05 01:03:43 +0200 )edit

Hud with Ambience

HUD with Ambience mock-up.

vattuvarg ( 2017-09-05 20:35:07 +0200 )edit

I'm very happy to anounce the development phase is over and the testing will start from now. As I already indicated: building and testing the requested flexibility will be quite a challeng and it was... I expect the new version in the store within a couple of weeks...

  • A clear scale
  • Maximum speed for the scale is chosen by the user (setting: 65, 130 or 260 kmh)
  • Important speed limits are indicated red) and can be chosen by the user (e.g. maximum 3 limits can be chosen)
  • extra - the chosen speed limits are saved and reloaded with startup
  • Speed is indicated in large font
  • Speed unit is indicated in smaller font
  • extra - I implemented the mirroring of the page as well so you can still use Hud as a -well- Hud ;-)
  • extra - I also implemented a black background as option (although against Sailfish standards, I thought it better fitting in the functionality.
  • I changed the speed indicator into a arrow (more like other Sailfish icons).

any suggestion for the app Icon (I would like it to be more Sailfish-ish)...

rgrnetalk ( 2018-05-31 01:17:46 +0200 )edit

Very good news indeed. Is there a screenshot? :)

vattuvarg ( 2018-05-31 17:22:34 +0200 )edit

No, I can't post a screenshot in a comment. But it would be a good reason to post an answer so there is news on this subject... Forgot to mention, the cover is not yet restyled :(

rgrnetalk ( 2018-05-31 18:12:58 +0200 )edit
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Asked: 2013-12-30 13:54:01 +0200

Seen: 5,386 times

Last updated: Jun 28 '19