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August 14, 2013

Should Car Makers Give Up On Mobile-Connected Infotainment?



Siri Eyes Free

 Gadgets
Nowadays, computer software companies, such as Apple, Google and Microsoft, among others, have started supplying various car makers with infotainment solutions, that are often better than what the likes of BMW, Audi, Volvo, Honda, and Ford, creators of some of the best infotainment systems at the moment, have to offer.




The automotive infotainment market has become quite competitive in recent years, with practically every major car maker trying to create an in-car infotainment system that will be better, cooler, more sophisticated, and more high-tech than what is offered by their competitors. This race became even fiercer when several IT companies decided to enter the market. Some of the leading computer software companies, such as Apple, Google and Microsoft, among others, have started supplying various car makers with their own infotainment solutions, that are often better than what the likes of BMW, Audi, Volvo, Honda, and Ford, creators of some of the best infotainment systems at the moment, have to offer.

Apple Inc has launched various products that improve the in-car entertainment experience, such as the Siri Eyes Free and iOS In The Car. One of the coolest innovations that Apple plans to offer the automotive industry is the in-car remote control, which they patented a while ago. The remote control, that may seem very futuristic at first glance, is actually a simple device, essentially a click wheel, that can be mounted on a car's steering wheel, so that drivers can control their iPhones, iPads or iPods with it.

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Through it, you can see the content that is displayed on your Apple device, on your car's touch screen. The device has controls that are similar to those of an iPod, with a play button on the bottom, a menu button on top, a forward button to the right and a rewind button to the left. With this device, you could browse through radio stations on the Internet, or play songs from your Apple device, and you wouldn't have to take your hands off the steering wheel, or your eyes off the road, which means you wouldn't be jeopardizing your safety while using it.

Considering how hard Apple and other IT companies are trying to enter the in-car infotainment market, with devices such as the Apple remote control, it's no surprise that a lot of people have started suggesting that car manufacturers give up on infotainment completely, leaving it to those who have more experience in software development, and concentrating on creating safer, more efficient and more eco-friendly vehicles.

This is not an easy question to answer, as there are some pretty good infotainment systems that are created by car makers. For example, there is the Audi MMI, the Cadillac CUE, the Lexus Enform, and Ford SYNC, among others. But, the issue that many consumers have, as well as experts who follow everything that is going on in the auto industry, is that interfaces of infotainment systems developed by car makers are too complicated and difficult to use, and most of the features they have can be found on almost every smartphone nowadays.

This is why it would be best if car makers concentrated on developing solutions that will facilitate the integration of third-party electronic devices into the existing infotainment systems in their vehicles, since it's more or less clear that the likes of Apple, Microsoft and Google are determined to dominate the automotive infotainment market in the future, and they have the resources, the know-how and the necessary technology.


By Jordan PerchSubscribe to 33rd Square


Author Bio - Jordan Perch is an automotive fanatic and “green cars” specialist. He is an author of many how-to articles related to safe driving, green technologies, auto insurance etc. Currently blogging for DMV.com.  You can also find his work at: 

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