That Big Truck Blog

An American Car Hauler's Blog


I recently needed to replace one of the early BlackBerry Storm PDAs I use for my auto transport service and asked my oh-so-helpful Verizon Wireless customer service rep about the latest star offering from Motorola dubbed the Droid. It was explained to me that there are currently 2 different model “Droid” phones made by 2 different manufacturers available for the Verizon network…the aforementioned Motorola and the HTC Eris. The Eris has no expandable keyboard like the Motorola Droid and the present price diff is around $100.00 with the Motorola keyboard model calling for the extra Benjamins. I opted for the keyboard model having owned several Motorola phones in the past, always giving me lasting service. First impression is a well made, “heavy feel” to this phone with an amazing touch screen as compared to the BlackBerry Storm. I have found a handful of issues in my limited use so far but I am certain these will be addressed as upgrades become available via downloads. No quick way to multiple email deletions being one of them…a better IMAP mail relationship (Yahoo free mail accounts currently present multiple issues and it is yet to be determined if this is a Google tactic to increase their own GMail account use?) is another. Too many passionate users of the Droid system phones are whining about these quirks…someone will have to address them in an upgrade. Matter of fact, in the first discussion with Verizon prior to opting for the Droid phone, I was told my “free” Yahoo mail account would not work with this phone. However, it can be made to work easy enough but after a day or so, I began to see the returning emails after I deleted them…many returning emails! Again and again…it got so annoying that I did just exactly what the Google geeks were betting I would do…deleted my Yahoo mail from the device. I’ll just wait till the issues are ironed out between the competition and try again later.

So what’s the deal here for us in the automobile transport biz? Why the buzz surrounding these new smartphones? According to the Motorola folks, the Android™ phones (Droid by Motorola, Eris by HTC and the Cliq with MotoBlur from Motorola) utilize an “Android™ flexible software platform designed to deliver a personalized and customizable user experience on mobile devices. It is strongly suited to bring advanced web services, e-mail, social networking, and entertainment to consumers. Android will serve as the operating system on many of Motorola’s future handsets.” The keyword here is definitely in the customizable nature of these smartphones and this little dissertation was inspired by one of many of the current applications (apps) available to make this a potential powerhouse for a car hauler and his business.

Car haulers, check this:

GOOGLE Goggles…is a free down-loadable visual search application for Android phones. Instead of using words, take a picture of an object with your camera phone: it attempts to recognize the object, and return relevant search results. Goggles also provides information about businesses near you by displaying their names directly in the camera preview. Now, the above video will give you a brief look at the possibilities available to users of these phones using the Goggles app…on the same application plane, there are several barcode scanner apps (mostly free downloads, some have a minimal charge) that may be very useful within our business. I have tried the bar code scanner app on products of all types around my office and the scanner nailed everything…quickly bringing up pages and pages of correctly identified product info. Now…the question yet to be determined by this author is whether the scanning feature (using the camera feature built inside the phone) will actually “see” the bar code of dash-mounted VINs (in the case of General Motors branded vehicles) under the glare of the windshield. It seems likely that it would but I will determine this shortly and report back. If indeed these smartphones can do a bar code scan through the glass, it is only a few seconds app download away from copying these 17-digit VINs and placing them quickly into your favorite document editing software for bill of lading prep or forwarding to dispatch/billing departments back home. Manheim Auto Auction units also utilize a bar code label prominently placed on the outer surface of the windshield. This scanning feature is only one of the hundreds of useful utility/productivity applications with tremendous potential for the auto transport industry and they are available now. With BlueTooth capability, available printer apps as well as a host of productivity software, this feature makes this line of smartphones a potential must-have for owner/operators & drivers in the car haul field. It is quite a powerful communication/productivity package right in the palm of your hand


January 2, 2010 - Posted by | General Auto Transport


  1. The company i work for gives us a handheld computer/printer unit.The unit seperates into two pieces,the printer being the bigger unit.We use the 7″ x 5″ computer/phone to scan the bar code inside the doorjam on most cars.

    When we get to the dealer ,he signs for the car by useing a stylus pen on computer,and then i print out delivery receipt on the spot.

    You can set it up to transmit all data to a home office computer.We have it set up so customer gets an e-mail of cars delivered,vin numbers,any damage noted at auction,time of pick-up,and delivery time etc,Quite efficient system.

    Comment by StrapTrucker | February 20, 2010 | Reply

    • What is the name of the system you are using? Sounds nice, depending on the cost of course.


      Comment by Bridget | November 25, 2010 | Reply

  2. Sure would have been nice to have something like that before I retired. Now if they could only tell a driver where a vehicle actually is parked at an auction, Fontana, CA. for instance with their satellite lots or Riverside, CA., where the guards are all but useless.

    Comment by John Farrell | August 4, 2010 | Reply

  3. My husband and I own our own truck and our backhauls are cars – my husband is finely ready to let go of his Blackberry Curve and has a Droid Pro coming on the 18th. He would like to be able to print “load sheets” from his phone without pulling over to plug in his printer to his laptop, etc. Have you attempted any such thing yet and if so what apps, printers, etc. did you use for this success? Thanks for the helpful info above.

    Comment by Jennifer | November 14, 2010 | Reply

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