Although Beanco Technology’s Mobile Home ($79) has been out for a little while now, we still thought it was worth a look, considering that Apple’s CarPlay may take longer than anticipated to show up in new vehicles. Mobile Home is a Siri remote designed for use in the car — when connected, its large button acts as a Siri button, so users don’t have to actually press the Home Button on an iPhone to activate Siri. The remote allows users to operate Siri through an already existing Bluetooth system compatible with Siri; there’s no microphone, speaker, or any other features on Mobile Home.
Mobile Home’s design is purposefully simple — one large button acts as the Siri button, while a smaller flashing LED button connects to Bluetooth. The remote comes with a bracket for clipping onto the driver seat’s overhead visor like one would with a garage door opener. A velcro fastener option is also included, if you’d prefer to place the remote somewhere else.
Connecting to Bluetooth is relatively easy, as your iPhone will remain connected to both your car’s Bluetooth system and Mobile Home at the same time, though you may have to reconnect manually upon re-entering your car. Mobile Home comes with a coin cell battery already installed, and an extra battery, as well. Beanco claims the battery will last about six months during normal use.
Mobile Home does what it advertises — it allows users to activate Siri by pushing a button. There’s very little delay. But that’s all it does. You still need an existing Bluetooth system compatible with Siri, and Mobile Home doesn’t introduce any new features. Essentially, you’re paying $79 for a larger Siri button.
Though some consumers may be too antsy to wait for Apple’s CarPlay to catch on, we don’t think Mobile Home is the answer. After all, you could purchase a car mount to hold your iPhone for much cheaper, keeping Siri nearby — though the iPhone’s Home Button is smaller, it’s an easy alternative solution. (A counter argument is that turning on Siri manually will be more distracting to the driver, which is true, but is it that much more distracting than, say, changing the radio station?) It would also be less expensive to buy a car charger — you could then charge your iPhone while using the “Hey Siri” function found in iOS 8. We appreciate Beanco’s effort toward improving Siri use in the car, but the price is too high for most consumers to consider an accessory with such severely limited functionality.
Company and Price
Company: Beanco Technology
Model: Mobile Home
Compatible: iPhone 4S and later, Internet-connected iPads with Siri