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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

EC Touch For AppRadio Could Soon Be The Only App You Need [Initial Review]

UPDATE: A recent EC Touch app update has been made available for download. Some issues listed here may have been fixed. Stay tuned for more.

There's an app that has kind of been flying under the radar of AppRadio enthusiasts in the last few months. Easy Car Touch for AppRadio (EC Touch) promises to do everything you could possibly want with your car stereo without ever having to switch apps.

EC Touch was developed and launched last summer by Italian developers. I had written an initial review back then. The app has come a long way since and maybe ready to take over your AppRadio soon.

The only reason why I think the app isn't ready for primetime yet is because it still has quite a few issues that need ironing out. Some functions still don't work as advertised but the developers put out regular updates and messages detailing their progress on the known issues.

The latest app version update was made available on August 17, 2013 with a complete redesign of the app. Version 3.0.0 has promised a new user interface, improved usability and added SoundCloud support.

I downloaded EC Touch from the App Store and decided to give it a try again. The new interface looks sleek, in fact, much better than the old interface. Toggling between functions is smooth.


1. Logo: Choose from various car manufacturer logos for a background image.

2. Theme: Toggle between different color themes based on your car's interior or just your favorite color.

3. Facebook/Twitter: Link your Facebook and Twitter accounts to get regular updates right on your EC Touch homepage.

4. Full web browser: The browser has been redesigned and works flawlessly.

5. TuneIn Radio Integration: If you use TuneIn Radio (access thousands of radio stations), EC Touch has good TuneIn integration.

6. Menus: The menus have got a complete makeover. The old icon carousel is gone and has been replaced by simple icon pages which you can scroll through up and down. If you had EC Touch before and have recently updated to the new version then you can restore your purchases from the Settings menu.

7. YouTube/Video: YouTube works great and is my favorite feature integration. You can watch videos from YouTube within the EC Touch interface itself. You can even adjust video quality playback when available. Videos stored on your iPhone can also be watched here.


1. SoundCloud: Even though the app promises SoundCloud integration the function doesn't work. The app crashes each time you try to link your SoundCloud account. SoundCloud is a free social music streaming service. It also provides the ability to upload your own sound mixes (paid service).

In a service message the developers of EC Touch have mentioned that they are aware of the issues with SoundCloud and an app update to fix the issue has already been submitted to Apple for approval. Update should be available shortly.

2. iPod: In the new version iPod functionality doesn't work either. The app crashes when you click the iPod icon. If you have music already playing from the Music app then you can play it from the app. The album art shows up and you can skip tracks, pause and play without issues. But clicking the iPod icon in the Menu will still make the app crash.

3. Maps: Maps for navigation also doesn't work yet. The app crashes when trying to access Maps. App description suggests it uses Google Maps for this function. The old version of EC Touch was launched when Apple used Google Maps as it's default Maps app. Maybe the inclusion of Apple's own Maps app is causing this issue. Hopefully this function will work at some point.

4. Waze/INRIX Traffic: Although EC Touch has Waze and INRIX Traffic icons in the menu these services don't launch on clicking these icons. This integration may not have been completed yet. If either one of these apps get integrated and full functionality it will make EC Touch much more versatile.

5. In-App Purchases: Special packages have to be purchased as a one-time purchase (as in the previous version of EC Touch) to add functionality to the app. If no packages are purchased you get a 1-hour try&buy where you can use all functions (except TuneIn) of the app for an hour for free.

TuneIn Level package adds TuneIn functionality and has increased in price from $3.99 to $4.99.

Entry Level package gives you iPod Video functionality, enables search and routing in Maps and enables Address Book. This has been increased in price from $1.99 to $2.99.

Advanced Level package (the one I have) adds Facebook integration along with the features of the Entry Level package. This package has also been increased in price from $2.99 to $5.99. Since I had it purchased before I just had to restore my purchase and didn't have to pay the difference in price.

Twitter Integration is a separate purchase for $1.99.

All individual services can be purchased a la carte too. Pricing is below.

Place Service for Google Places $0.99
Address Book Service $0.99
Facebook Service $1.99
iPod Video Service $0.99
YouTube Service $2.99
SoundCloud Service $1.99

These services basically allow you to control functions directly from the AppRadio screen.

6. iPod Video Icons: If you have videos stored on your iPhone they show up as blank icons without filenames. This makes it hard to navigate through them and trying to find the one you want to play can take a while.

Other Notes: Bluetooth connection needs to be active to make phone calls from the app. An "EC Notification Center" tab has been added where service messages regarding app updates and issues are delivered directly from the developer.

Conclusion: As you can see there are way too many issues that exist with the current version that's keeping me from fully recommending this app. The add-on services are relatively pricey but are one-time purchases only. As these issues get fixed with future app updates it will no doubt make the app more desirable to use. For watching YouTube videos at the moment, this is the best app. The native YouTube app isn't fully AppRadio compatible. I would love to see the Maps function fixed next after the upcoming SoundCloud fix.

EC Touch for AppRadio Version 3.0.0 is available for download in the App Store today. ARWReview

Additional Pictures:


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. This app has always been garbage IMO so when I saw this article I did the update and a quick test. Unfortunately its still garbage. Although the interface is now better laid out the functions of this app are still very inconsistent. Sometimes certain functions work and sometimes they don't. There is still no way to login to your Youtube account so you're limited to the basic Youtube functions like "Whats Popular" The video section is horribly flakey and there is no consistent way to go back to the list without closing the app and restarting. And thats just a few of the issues I found. Because of this it is way too unintuitive to try and do all of this in a car. I say fail on this one.

  3. 2. Worked fine for me.

    3. Worked fine for me. Although searching "Walmart" brought up a Walmart in AK when the nearest Walmart is 2 minutes from my location.

    4. Waze worked fine for me. However if you touch the Inrix icon and don't have Inrix installed, it says: "Waze is not installed" LOL!

  4. 6. Worked fine for me as well with titles and album art.

  5. The only thing this app does that every other app does not and it is something very important for a car stereo: It displays the freaking time.

    I mean why is it that every single app that isn't native does not display the time?

  6. I wrote this app off at first glance. It was confused what the apps purpose was even from the description, and mucking around with things a minute or two before giving up. I'm glad I gave it another try, I'm hooked!

    +1 Love Tune-in Radio, added BoysTown Live (my favorite streaming dance radio station)
    +1 Love the Facebook/Twitter feed!
    +1 Love the car branding icon! (added Mercedes)
    +1 Love the iPod Music control, screen layout! Big Bold easy
    +1 Love the iPod Video control (easy access to my music videos)
    +1 Love the quick access to Waze
    +1 Love the Youtube integration, well done
    +1 SoundCloud is fun! I added some favorite amature/pro DJ's and will be using this more often now. I almost forgot about soundcloud!

    I couldn't get google maps service working I'll try again with the new new update I haven't tried yet.

    The web browser seemed junky I'll try again with new update.

  7. i have an iphone 5 does anyone know which app radio i need ?

  8. App Radio 2 (SPH-DA100) or App Radio 3 (SPHDA110/210)

    You will also need the Apple Digital AV adapter:

    as well as a Lightning to USB cable (the one that came with the phone) and an HDMI cable.


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