Microsoft’s new Driving Mode for Windows Phone featured on NBC’s Today show

To our eyes and ears, it looks like even big media is getting behind Windows Phone. This morning, Natalie Morales on the popular NBC morning show ‘Today’ showcased Driving Mode, which comes in Update 3 for Windows Phone.

Though the segment is brief, clocking in at 15 seconds, it highlights the fact that drivers can now automatically silence incoming text messages and phone calls, in addition to auto-responding. They contrast it against the ubiquitous ‘Airplane Mode’ that mobile phone users are all familiar with an emphasis on consumer safety.

In our walkthrough of Update 3 for Windows Phone, due later this year for general consumers but available now for enthusiasts, we noted that Driving Mode was “the most underrated feature in Update 3”. That’s in part due to its focus on care while driving but also because you can use it for other “do not disturb” moments--so long as you’re paired with a Bluetooth device.

Of course, seeing as Driving Mode appears to be extremely useful and is a good selling point for Windows Phone, we imagine it will be just a matter of time before Microsoft’s competitors instantiate similar functionality. While that will take a feather out of Microsoft’s cap, in theory, we may all be a little safer because of it.

Check out the video clip above and let us know what you think of Driving Mode (we really like the voice prompt alerting you that it is enabled).

Source: NBC; Thanks, Albert N., for the tip!

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been here covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics and ran the projectors at movie theaters, which has done absolutely nothing for his career.

  • Its a good feature...if I had Bluetooth in my car. :(
  • You can purchase an adapter for $10.
  • Hows it work? Radio signal?
  • yeah, i have a $50 adapter. It connects to your phone using bluetooth and sends the signal to the car through FM radio signal.
  • I prefer that someone just buy me a new car (with bluetooth). My 99 accord is on its last leg.
  • I have a pimped up Honda Accord 99 and that car is a beast. The only thing lacking is a built in Bluetooth and not too sure how good the Bluetooth adaptor works. Can somebody recommended any particular adaptor?
  • Belkin makes a nice one. I own it. Works great. Adds hands free calling and music streaming for less than $50
  • I like most people in Europe (I'm not sure about American cars) have a 3.5m jack for plugging my phone in, which uses significantly less power than using the Bluetooth option, and allows for listening to streaming music in a much easier way (as Bluetooth is RUBBISH!), I just wish you could turn on driving mode yourself, or even with NFC, I have the Lumina 920 wireless car charger (which is also completely shit and would not recommend anyone buy it as it destroys your battery if you use it too often and doesn't charge quickly enough to counteract the sat nav draining it away), but this charger has an NFC spot, so why not use it for that?
  • You should take your Nokia car charger back. Mine does not have any of the problems you described.
  • If you had bt in ur car it would mean you can accet calls with steering wheel button and have ur phone read texts to u via voice command. Amazing. This app basically switches this off. Not amazing
  • Not necessarily. I've got an adapter that works through the radio, basically a wireless way for me to play music. I've long since lost the mic, so no voice commands or whatnot, and no steering wheel controls.
    Or, you know, if you actually care about driving safely, you would still use this because handsfree is no better than handheld in terms of driver distraction. 
  • What adapter do you have? I'm interested in buying one.
  • I use the Jabra Cruiser 2. Love it!
  • Soundfly BT. Good FM signal strength, strong enough that I can drive from Hartford to Philadelphia and only have maybe 10 minutes where it battles with a Latin pop station, Hartford to Buffalo it does without a problem. I'll turn it off and it will have overpowered a completely clear radio station.
    But if I had to do it again, I'd just spring the extra $50 and get a new head unit with bluetooth and a buil-in mic.
  • Welcome to WPcentral where there is a 50/50 chance of your comment being deleted for no apparent reason.
  • When the comment is about as pointless as yours (and probably mine too), I would say 50/50 chance is still too generous.
  • What? Just point out a single useless comment of mine. Just one! I like turtles, btw.
  • They all get deleted.
  • the turtles?
  • Pioneer and others make nice aftermarket stereos with Bluetooth built-in. I have one installed in my 2000 Accord and my brother's 1998 Camry. It's so very slick and handy to have. *Oh, haha, I just noticed that this story is 6 months old. It popped up somewhere so I started reading it like it was new, but was kind of puzzled because I thought we were past that update already.
  • I test the driving mode this morning.  It works in a sense that my phone did not notify of the text or phone call.  What didn't work, however, is that the default text reply did not get sent back to my second phone.
  • Windows phone 7?
  • Gummy drops?
  • Wasn't that WP7 in the video?
  • Yes it was, but doesn't matter to me as long as Windows Phone gets positive.
  • True. I'm long on Nokia. The more pub the better. 6.90 and rising!!!!! Edit: good pub would be preferred.
  • Went long @ 4.00 and added to position @ 3.50. Been a happy camper.
  • Initially got in at 2.41, wish I would got in at all time low of 1.73. Wowsa!!!!
  • Thanks for posting my tip. WPCentral is awesome!
  • Instantiate? Not sure what that means, but I think you meant initiate... I have to look up the former, that's a new word for me.
  • Another awesome underrated feature is internet sharing with windows 8.1 devices from windows phone
  • Does this mean that as far as the carrier is concerned you are just using your phone, meaning it can circumvent the need for a WiFi hotspot plan/restriction?
  • I have Verizon's Shared Data Plan.  There is no extra charge for using Internet Sharing, it just goes against our data limit.  AT&T has the same plan.
  • And they used WP 7.5 for the background video? Couldn't bother finding WP8?
  • +8.0
  • +925
  • The layman won't know the difference. That's for us geeks. :P
  • I like that it pleasantly announced to me that it turned on driving mode for me. I don't have it ignoring calls, just texts, which I don't get really. I don't know if it still notifies for email and whatsapp messages... 
  • Funny thing this was featured on a big news site here in Australia as well which was a first for Windows Phone I'm pretty sure.
  • This is important cuz finally WP is getting some notice for something it can do beside good pictures...
  • Agreed!  I am getting the sick of the Lumia 1020 commercial already.  People need to see the other cool features that WP can do.
  • There isn't really anything special that 1020 can do except taking good pictures.
  • Are you sure? You're forgetting FREE OFFLINE NAVIGATION with here drive.
  • Agreed!!! You'd think Nokia was only selling cameras that happen to have some sort of phone in them too.
  • Nokia should start making digital cameras after the deal with Microsoft is closed.
  • This is cool. I HATE when I see people texting and driving. It just puts the driver and those around them in danger. This should help reduce those tendencies because quite frankly I think most things people text while driving can absolutely wait.
  • Mad respect that they aired this the following day after the update
  • Agreed!
  • Driving mode has been there for a while if you had Nokia Drive + beta. I have a 2013 CRV and everyone thinks my car asking "message from <name>. read it or ignore?" when I get a text. Windows Phone *itches. I can reply with voice to text, it says "I have automatically turned on drive mode for you" when I sit in the car and the bluetooth hooks up. Mad phone.
  • Why would they talk about this feature now when the update (GDR3) has not even been released to the carriers yet?  I would think most people are still waiting for the release.  Also wish I had Bluetooth in my car so I could take advantage of it.
  • While I love any and all WP Pub, I thought this as well. Oh well...
  • Hopefully as a side effect, this will make GDR3 come out in full w/o delays.
  • I've enabled Driving Mode and had a text from my mother this morning while I was driving to work that was successfully auto-responded to and I was notified when I turned off the car and got out of BT range.  Pretty nice.  Agree with the audible "going into Driving Mode" notification--it is very nice. 
    Can't wait till Cortana says it instead.
  • I was watching KTLA in Los Angeles this morning and couldn't believe they also mentioned the feature. They should really start to market the phone as the safe phone before the competitors catch up and do it.
  • Problem i have is that my headset doesn't stay connected for too long so the driving mode turns off as soon as the connection is dropped by the phone/headset...
  • It was on CNN Yesterday too...
  • Didn't realize this was unique.  I honestly thought iOS or Android already had it and Microsoft was just catching up.  if that's not true then congrats to them.   I agree they need another horn to blow.   41megpixels, blah blah blah, is only going to resonate with the younger crowd
  • My previous Android phone, Motorola Droid 4 had a car mode that could be automatically enabled via Moto's Smart Actions. One of the few things I miss from my Android days.
  • That's what I figured.  So it was some undeserving positive press.  That's ok.  We'll take it :)
  • I am pretty sure ATT actually offers this service, for a monthly fee of course. I've received texts before that tell me the dumbass I've tried to contact is driving.
  • Motorola Droids have had automatic "Car Mode" going back at least as far as the Droid 2.  They use a magnetic sensor in the phone coupled with a magnet in the car dock to auto-switch the phone into car mode.
    However, the auto-respond being cooked into the OS is new. (There may be Android apps available that perform the same function.)
  • Works like it should. I have wanted something like this because sometimes you don't want your texts or calls coming over your car when passengers are present.
  • Did anyone watch football and notice all the window surface tablets on the desks on full display.  Windows is definitely pushing their marketing.
  • Nice use of the word instantiate there, Daniel.
  • Just can't help but complaining (as I did in the forum) that this is ONLY for BT connections. Why not have a flipswitch for it no matter if you have a BT enabled car or not? Makes no sense to me.
  • Are you actually going to go into the settings for your phone EVERY time you get into a car? Sure, a flipswitch wouldn't hurt, but the automatic activation by bluetooth will be used much more than a manual method.
  • You said nothing to refute what I wrote and nothing I disagree with.
  • Well, you can it to the start screen... So that gets you close to the 'switches'
  • NFC tag to launch
  • *competitors, not competitor's ;-)
  • Hope NBC didn't mention apple...
  • They're using a Lumia 900, which doesn't even run Windows Phone 8?
  • Awesome news sir.
  • Those idiotic fools can't tell a windows phones from a iPhone. Lol just be happy they even mentioned it.
  • Not to rain on windows phone parade, But why is it being reported on in the news as  new revolutionary feature when Android already does this, Not sure about iOS but Android for sure. An yes i own a WP (8x) . Dont get me wrong the exposure its great im just wondering if people out there hadn't heard of this before?
  • Are you kidding me? Except for the finger print scanner on the latest iPhone model, they have never released a phone that had something other phones didn't already have, yet the the press always touted iPhone functions as if they were brand new. Let's just be happy Nokia got them to do the same now...
  • And the Finger print scanner is nothing new, Apple just copied that from opther people,...My old HP h5450 Windows Mobile PDA (I no longer have) had a finger print scanner in it...
  • Please tell me windows phone has this first so we have something to brag about to IOS and android besides kids corner. !!!!
  • Sadly, there is an iFruit company with some "big" announcements coming next Tuesday and they will say they invented this feature!
  • So we can expect these features to be in GTA?
  • I think that is an awesome feature and great WP improvement - safety first. Now it would be  great to suggest ppl who are driving to turn it on.
  • it should also be activated when mounted in the CR-200 mount via NFC. I don't have Bluetooth.
  • YES!!! As for BT in your car, Griffin Bluetrip allows you to use streaming audio and phone calls through an auxiliary port in your car. I'm getting one to work with this feature! Yay
  • I dont hear a prompt when driving mode is enabled? Hmmm...
  • Mmm. Natalie.