Alternative Approaches

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Another example of user-controlled session management is aftermarket systems

with a mobile phone docking cradle mounted on the car’s dashboard.

Besides enabling a direct and tangible way to use the in-car resources, such

systems also support phone battery charging while driving. However, the

docking cradle approach, with its unique cradle, is a single-user solution

(except the case of all users having exactly the same device). Since cars often

have many users and that family members, for instance, seldom have the same

telephone model, this solution is at odds with convenient and safe car conversations

for multiple users. Moreover, as highlighted by Towers (2002), there

are three other downsides of the docking cradle approach. First, this approach

is time-sensitive in that the cradle mounted on the dashboard must be replaced

with a new one once the mobile phone becomes dated. Second, although

aftermarket systems are typically less expensive, they suffer from poor performance

and also require holes to be made in the dashboard to attach the docking

cradle. Third, a Bluetooth solution enhances safety by enabling the use of

dashboard buttons for initiation and termination of calls. In addition, it does not

require the user to have the phone within range from the driver’s seat in case

of an incoming call.

Figure 5. Audio output can be transferred from the in-car audio system to

the mobile phone

At a first glance, the overall problem of supporting sustained car conversations

can be appreciated as a lightweight resource management issue (i.e., connecting

and disconnecting various external input/output units to the mobile phone).

However, there are two main reasons why this might not be an appropriate

solution to the problem in focus here. First, current implementations of

lightweight resource management do not consider conversations as ongoing

(Whittaker et al., 1997). Rather, current implementations rather realize resource

management by focusing on separated sessions running on separated

platforms only. Second, session management models are always concerned

with questions of available resources in terms of input/output devices, as well

as underlying infrastructures and protocols.