You kids with your fancy baby tablets, junior Bluetooths, your Facespaces reading texts in your car!
Much as I don’t like it, you’re the future of car buyers. So manufacturers have been paying attention, and what they’re planning -- not that I have to like it, despite my “Millennial” age tag -- is going to give you more of what you want. Following Microsoft’s lead with its Ford partnership, Google is collaborating with Honda, GM, and Audi to bring OEM infotainment systems to new cars.
So the odds are, we’ll be getting systems akin to the custom Android tablet setups the aftermarket has been producing for the past few years. But the real draw is that you’ll be able to get the infotainment setup straight from the manufacturers, ready to link with your devices.
Which is cool? I think? Call me cynical, but I don’t think we need more distractions behind the wheel than we already have. Then again, I choose to drive a 12-year-old hatchback, so maybe the other Millennials think I’m an old fart.
Fogey status aside, I do freely admit that cars should have touchscreen displays at this point. Why bother with HVAC knobs and a physical radio unit? Just integrate all of the systems into a big touchscreen display (such as Google’s Nexus 7) and call it a day. Which is, one hopes, the direction this will take.
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Unlike MyFordTouch, which is still a mess -- that’s Microsoft’s foray into the automotive industry. Numerous software updates seem to have improved the interface, but consumers have been rather vocal in their disdain. Google has a better mobile track record -- remember than most of the world’s smartphones still run on some version of Android -- so the first consumer version should be reasonably trouble-free.
It would be pretty funny if the automotive world winds becomes the next battleground for the Apple/Google/Windows war. It’s hard to imagine the same Internet denizen who argues about Snapdragon processors suddenly screaming in a Chevy versus Ford battle.
I just want a radio that can stream my music from my iPod and my phone. Maybe that’s not asking enough.