STEUBENVILLE, OHIO — Access2Communications, maker of such automotive electronics as remote car starters and car alarms, plans April in-store availability of an aftermarket device that prevents an app-equipped Android or BlackBerry smartphone from texting, emailing and browsing the web as soon as the vehicle’s ignition is turned on.
The $179 TextBuster, currently available on the company’s website, will be available in some big-box stores in April, the spokesperson said.
TextBuster is a small box that uses a cable to plug into a vehicle’s under-dash databus port, from which the module gets power. The device transmits a command signal via embedded Bluetooth to cellphones equipped with a password-protected TextBuster app to prevent the phones from texting, emailing or accessing the Internet for data other than GPS-based navigation.
Parents can also program the TextBuster app to trigger an email alert if the car is driven faster than a preset speed (based on the phone’s GPS), driven after a set time, or driven onto a highway if a teenage driver is allowed only to drive on local streets.
One module will block texting and emailing from an unlimited number of phones equipped with the app.
TextBuster does not block incoming data to a phone, but the texts and emails can’t be accessed until the vehicle is shut off, a spokesperson said.
For do-it-yourselfers, the module and cable can be wire-tied to a wire harness under the dash.
The databus-connected TextBuster has been available on the company’s website since late last year along with a version that requires a two-wire power-and-ground installation. The two-wire unit works with any type of vehicle, including boats and motorcycles, but the version with OBD connector works only with 1996 and newer vehicles, a spokesperson said.