Rob Irving is the creator of Car Starter, the WP dashboard application for drivers that took top place in Mini Mission 4, which challenged developers to add elements from Nokia Music (now Nokia MixRadio) to their existing apps. We had a chat with Rob to find out more…
Tell us a little about yourself. Who are you and what do you do?
When I’m not working on my Windows Phone apps on nights and weekends, I’m actually doing more mobile development for my full time job. I’m a Senior Software Engineer for ALK Technologies where I work on CoPilot GPS.
How did you get into developing?
I studied Computer Engineering in college and always found the Computer Science classes the most interesting during my studies, so when I graduated I pursued a career in software development.
Tell us a little about your winning app. What does Car Starter do?
Car Starter is a ‘dashboard app’ — it has a driver-friendly UI to access key features from your phone while you’re behind the wheel. The most notable features of the app are voice commands that allow you to play music from your Xbox music library or Nokia Mixes!
How did you decide on this idea? What inspired it?
I have a long commute to work so I listen to a lot of music and podcasts while I’m driving. I wanted an easier way to start playing some music when the podcast I was listening to finished halfway through my drive.
Tell us about the Music update that you did for the Mini Mission. What inspired that?
To support Nokia Music in Car Starter I use the Nokia Music REST API to pull down a list of top artists. I use the list of top artists to train the Windows Phone speech recognizer to listen for new voice commands.
When you then issue a command, for instance “Play Queens of the Stone Age Mix,” Car Starter will launch the Nokia Music app and start up a mix of tracks by Queens of the Stone Age.
When I first released the app, the music voice commands could only be used to play music stored on the phone’s Xbox music library. I actually had a lot of users asking me to add support for Nokia Music so this update was a no-brainer for me!
How are you finding the Nokia Create contest so far?
I love the Nokia Create contest! I think it’s a great way to draw attention to all of the Nokia Windows Phone APIs and inspire developers to be creative with them.
You are now a finalist for the Grand Prize. Which of those prizes are you most excited about?
Going to Barcelona for MWC would be amazing! My wife and I have not been able to go on a real vacation since our honeymoon 6 years ago, so a trip to Barcelona for two would be perfect.
Did you enter any of the other Nokia Create Missions?
After making some UI changes to better support large screen devices like the Lumia 1520 and localizing the app to more languages, I’ve also submitted Car Starter to Mini Missions 5 and 6. Fingers crossed!
Why did you choose Windows Phone?
I’ve always been a fan of Microsoft technologies. As a developer I love Visual Studio and as a consumer I’m a fan of Xbox and Zune.
One dev tool you couldn’t live without?
Visual Studio. I could not imagine doing my job without it.
Although submissions to Nokia Create Mini Missions are now closed, developers can still enter their apps to our Do Good Mission and Master Missions to be in with a chance at winning amazing prizes that will help you and your apps stand out, including trips to Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, DVLUP XPs, promotions and much more. For more details, click here, and get those entries published by December 15th!