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Receiving Text Messages--Problem and Possible Solution

Discussion in 'Model S: User Interface' started by dburk, Dec 6, 2016.

  1. dburk

    dburk Member

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2016
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    Location:
    Virginia
    Hi Everyone!

    I love my Model S, but there is one technical shortcoming that makes no sense to me. I thought I'd describe the limitation and a possible solution and see what reactions I get.

    Text Messages: in many modern cars for a number of years, when a Bluetooth connected phone receives a text, the text will be read over the speaker and/or display on the touchscreen. Whether you can reply (usually in a limited list of possible answers) varies from car to car, but in any case you're not looking down at a phone. Teslas will only read emails to you if 1) your Bluetooth connected phone is set to read texts AND 2) (and this is the big limitation) the Tesla radio is set to listen to audio from the phone (as opposed to AM/FM/Slacker/etc.).

    I've seen and tried one potential solution to this which gets your phone to act as if it's in a phone call so that Tesla allows the voice stream from the phone. My tests with it were only somewhat successful. One of its biggest limitations is that you have to pay attention to the text message right then or lose it.

    So the ultimately correct answer is for Tesla to upgrade the software to handle texts much as many other vehicles already do. I proposed that over a year ago to Tesla's wish list, but haven't heard any movement toward a fix.

    In the meantime, here's what I've done for myself. Using a free (ad-supported) Android app, I forward my SMS/MMS texts to an email box that I set up especially for this purpose. I then have the texts (really emails now) downloaded to a website where they are formatted to show in big text with the basic information and only the very basic page navigation. The display on the website is designed to fit on a Tesla screen and doesn't use any programming features that the Tesla browser doesn't support. It's a very clean look.

    The text/email stream and the website display is updated for me about every 15 seconds with the newest text always on top. When my phone beeps to indicate a text has come in, I can change my Tesla screen to the browser and my website comes up.

    You can scroll down to see prior texts, but the texts that are older than about 24 hours disappear entirely. You can even see outbound texts although that seems kind of silly if the reason you're doing this is because you're driving. You can also see missed calls but again, if you're driving it's not likely to matter because you probably saw the call when it came in. But this way you have the number for the call on your screen so you voice dial it.

    The system does not allow you to send reply texts of any kind. Two issues: 1) remember, you're driving! and 2) sending texts from websites is not as simple as you might think if you want to retain the sender (your phone #) information.

    Right now, the system is able to handle just one user's stream (mine), but it was designed with the idea that this might be interesting to other Tesla owners as well. I'm not sure if now that I've described it, someone will go out and commercialize this faster than I can, but I really respect the Tesla community and wanted to get feedback from anyone who might be interested:

    1) Has the absence of having text messages on your display or read to you been something that you've missed? (Maybe I'm there a very few of us -- or only me? -- who cares.)
    2) Have you found any solutions (either generally available or self-made) to address this?
    3) What's your reaction to what I've described as the process and the method of viewing?
    4) If I were to set it up to accommodate individual streams so that you would see yours (and no one else would), would this be something you'd be interested in? If so, is there an amount you'd gladly pay (probably monthly) to have this functionality until Tesla figures out that this really needs to be a part of every car?

    I'd love any feedback you might have.
     
  2. AmpedRealtor

    AmpedRealtor Well-Known Member

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    If you have an iPhone, you can turn on the "Hey Siri" function. Even when in its cradle, it recognizes when I say "hey Siri" and I can ask it to read a text message or do anything that Siri can do. The original "hey siri" request goes through the phone's microphone, but thereafter the audio automatically goes through bluetooth and is broadcast through the car's hands-free system. That is the solution I have implemented and it works well.
     
    • Like x 1
  3. dburk

    dburk Member

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    Thanks for sharing your process. Wish it worked similarly on Android. The audio and call channels are separated so you have to be listening to your phone to have the text come through your audio.
     
  4. Sethsla

    Sethsla Member

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    Yes, it would be cool if Tesla enabled the text reading function. My Android workaround is to mute Tesla audio and talk to the phone mounted on my dash. Have you tried "Okay Google, read last text message?" I use "Okay Google" from my home screen (Nova Launcher enabled). I can read, reply and send without viewing or tapping. Its not the long term solution that we want, but it does work for me.
     
  5. Boatguy

    Boatguy Member

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    Yes. I've been able to invoke Siri to have her read and respond to text messages for over two years in my BMW.

    No thank you.
     
  6. S4WRXTTCS

    S4WRXTTCS Active Member

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    I just use an Apple watch, and it comes through there.
     
  7. Missile Toad

    Missile Toad Member

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    I really miss the good-old days when I could tune my radio into a frequency, and say "Addison Tower, AlphaFoxtrot 44 niner Cessna 172 on Final with Echo" and the people on the other end would just talk back to me. Do people do that any more?

    Oh wait a second. This is a car forum? Nevermind.
     
    • Funny x 3
  8. Max*

    Max* Autopilot != Autonomous

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    I think you found a solution in search of a problem and are looking for ways to milk it (a monthly subscription fee, really?)


    How often are you driving that you just NEED to see what the urgent text message says, that you can't wait till the next red light to check your phone?

    Not that I'm recommending this, but why not turn on AutoPilot and quickly glance at the phone?

    I have an app (Enhanced SMS & Called ID+) from the good old bluetooth speaker days, which would read the callers name through the BT speaker. It can also read text messages, though I haven't used the app in years, not sure how it would do in the Tesla.

    Same here, minus the Apple part.
     
  9. tpedwards

    tpedwards Member

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    I would like to use Google Voice in the car. Although you can log into a Google account fine, the screen for Google Voice does not present when invoked. Anyone else try this?
     
  10. cytranic

    cytranic Member

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    Android has a great API just for this. It's called Notifications and other apps can tie in and read them. A simple display on the Tesla screen would require about 5-10 hours of programming work.

    Why they don't have this has been a mystery to me as well.
     
  11. Altes

    Altes Member

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    Elon clearly doesn't care to add useful phone features, but he WILL devote resources to super cool Easter eggs that make the lights flash.
     

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