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The Coming Wave of In-Dash Auto System Obsolescence

timothy posted about a year and a half ago | from the new-din-standard-called-for dept.

Cellphones 445

jfruh writes "Automakers are striving mightily to bring their in-dash systems into the modern age, providing integration with smartphones and other advanced features. The problem: while smartphones go in and out of vogue every few years, modern cars have lifespans of a decade or more. Add in the fact that many (though not all) manufacturers have no plans to allow software upgrades to their systems, and you might end up driving a car with a fancy in-dash computer system that's completely useless for much of the time you own it."

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Like BMW's startac phone integration? (4, Informative)

jaymz666 (34050) | about a year and a half ago | (#42129857)

Many BMWs from 2000 or so have built in Startac phones... how useless are these now?

Re:Like BMW's startac phone integration? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42129953)

Lets see, I have a 2001 740 BWM (Bought in 2011). The phone was (apparently) an analog based and mostly useless now(don't know, when I got my car it did not include the phone). I have the cable as part of my armrest in the center.

Now, if I'm willing to spend a few hundred dollars, I can get a bluetooth module that will hookup to my current phone and I can use the cars controls for the bluetooth phone.
And, apparently on phones can display text messages on the dashboard display (1 line, 15 characters or so).

So the car is upgradeable, but it ain't cheap.

Re:Like BMW's startac phone integration? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42129993)

I was thinking the same thing! I have a 2005 BMW; there's a button on the mirror which would let me make a call if i had one of those phones or, iirc, a bluetooth module which cost $800... I think all the manufacturers should do is agree on a standard for attaching mounts to the dash, provide bluetooth to the sound system, and have usb power outlets strategically placed. Of course that's not what's going to happen.

Re:Like BMW's startac phone integration? (4, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year and a half ago | (#42130257)

I was thinking the same thing! I have a 2005 BMW; there's a button on the mirror which would let me make a call if i had one of those phones or, iirc, a bluetooth module which cost $800... I think all the manufacturers should do is agree on a standard for attaching mounts to the dash, provide bluetooth to the sound system, and have usb power outlets strategically placed. Of course that's not what's going to happen.

We already have ISO 7736. Let's just say that it is treated as more of a series of polite suggestions than as anything actually worth implementing.

And 2000 model Jaguar S type... (1)

bagofbeans (567926) | about a year and a half ago | (#42130075)

Lovely, useless, analog handsfree phone system

Sure (4, Funny)

Smallpond (221300) | about a year and a half ago | (#42129859)

This is a completely new phenomenon with smart phones. At least I'll always have my 8-track player.

Re:Sure (5, Funny)

mekkab (133181) | about a year and a half ago | (#42129935)

This is EXACTLY why I've still got my RCA 45rpm record player in my Plymouth. You really appreciate the 'warmth' of vinyl as you're cruising down the highway...

for those who care... [youtube.com]

Re:Sure (2)

Rob the Bold (788862) | about a year and a half ago | (#42130139)

This is EXACTLY why I've still got my RCA 45rpm record player in my Plymouth. You really appreciate the 'warmth' of vinyl as you're cruising down the highway... for those who care... [youtube.com]

Yes. Yes my car does play "compact discs".

Apples to oranges (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42129945)

Chances are you could swap your 8 track out for a cassette deck or CD player.

Re:Apples to oranges (4, Funny)

Rob the Bold (788862) | about a year and a half ago | (#42130097)

Actually, you wanna get the 8-track to cassette adapter, then put the audio-to-cassette adapter into that slot and plug in the CD player. Then burn your MP3s to CD and your fresh El Camino is rollin' 21st century style. Best to operate the CD off batteries, not the cigarette lighter, lots of potential ground-loop issues with those older radios.

Re:Apples to oranges (4, Funny)

Smallpond (221300) | about a year and a half ago | (#42130477)

There's a 12AU7 burned out in my radio, so I can't use it for anything right now.

Re:Sure (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42129957)

I got excited when I found an old box of mag cassettes and then realized the '94 Saturn is the only place I could try to figure out what's on them...

Re:Sure (1)

Rob the Bold (788862) | about a year and a half ago | (#42130003)

Even before phone integration, automakers have been making the entertainment systems more and more integrated into dashboards (and other vehicle systems) to the extent that it's hard or impossible to install an aftermarket system. When I bought my car a few years ago, I decided to forgo the built-in navigation and spend my money on the "performance package" instead. I guess it was a good call, since I don't think map updates for it are available anymore. And if I want HD radio, I'm out of luck, I'd need an aftermarket unit that came with a complete center console replacement and who knows what to connect to the remote audio controls. Oh well, the fancy tires are probably too loud for me to hear the difference between HD and plain old FM anyway.

Re:Sure (1)

realityimpaired (1668397) | about a year and a half ago | (#42130175)

Oh well, the fancy tires are probably too loud for me to hear the difference between HD and plain old FM anyway.

If your fancy tires are loud, you have a problem. Good tires tend not to be very loud on the road at all, because the noise they produce indicates energy lost, which means higher rolling resistance.

Re:Sure (1)

d3ac0n (715594) | about a year and a half ago | (#42130253)

Unless it's a 4x4 vehicle. In that case, "Fancy Tires" = "Noisy Tires"

Re:Sure (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | about a year and a half ago | (#42130237)

I have a friend who bought an aftermarket stereo system that connects to the remote audio controls in his car. He does not even have the mechanical aptitude to build his own PC, yet he managed to replace the car stereo...even with the console set up he had to get (although he did borrow tools--and probably got assistance from--another friend who is fairly mechanically adept).

Re:Sure (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42130421)

Does that include buying the conversion cable kit that costs more than the stereo?

what about XM? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42130319)

for the car

Re:Sure (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | about a year and a half ago | (#42130187)

Except that it has been trivially easy for anyone with even minor mechanical aptitude (if you can build your own PC, you can do this) to replace the car stereo...even the one's with 8-track players. On the other hand, I have not heard of anyone replacing these in dash systems that work with obsolete cell-phone technology.

Re:Sure (3)

d3ac0n (715594) | about a year and a half ago | (#42130325)

I have. It's easy. You can buy entire systems with an Android-based phone built right into them. You will (of course) need an account (contract or PYG) with a carrier to use the phone, but they are available aftermarket.

More commonly, people just replace it with a Bluetooth calling enabled system that allows them to connect to their existing smartphone. So unless you are driving a 1980's era Bentley with the "Robin Masters" built-in telephone handset, you won't have a problem.

no plans to allow software upgrades what autodrive (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about a year and a half ago | (#42129867)

no plans to allow software upgrades what about when we have auto drive cars??? With the gov have to force them to have them for a least a few years?

With out software upgrades that will limit the use of them when they start to roll out.

Re:no plans to allow software upgrades what autodr (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42130301)

Oh yeah, this no update policy is going to go over real well when we have self-drive cars.

This is already the case with in-dash GPS. (5, Interesting)

ZorinLynx (31751) | about a year and a half ago | (#42129873)

I already know at least two people who have in-dash navigation systems, yet use their smartphone or a standalone GPS because either the automaker stopped providing map updates, or wants to charge an exhorbitant amount of money for them (as in, SEVERAL TIMES that of a stand-alone GPS or even a smart phone!)

Someone needs to come up with a docking module on the dash, to which you can dock a standard device that can be upgraded over the years. Kind of like the old "DIN" standard for car stereos, but more flat, intended for touch screen devices. Then when your in-dash system gets outdated you can upgrade it.

Re:This is already the case with in-dash GPS. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42129903)

Someone needs to come up with a docking module on the dash, to which you can dock a standard device that can be upgraded over the years.

Yes, please make it easier for someone to steal my car stereo.

Re:This is already the case with in-dash GPS. (3, Informative)

ZorinLynx (31751) | about a year and a half ago | (#42129925)

Since the introduction of security codes, car stereo theft isn't as much of a problem as it used to be.

Without the security codes, stolen car stereos are paperweights.

Re:This is already the case with in-dash GPS. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42130027)

Since the introduction of security codes

Isn't this whole discussion about vehicles older than that?

Earlier this year I bought a 1994 Dodge Dakota pickup truck. There's a sticker on the driver's side window saying that if the stereo gets removed it has some sort of homing device to track it down and recover it. Also, the stereo is missing.

Re:This is already the case with in-dash GPS. (1)

mabhatter654 (561290) | about a year and a half ago | (#42130057)

I think what we're after is a dock for an iPad mini... That has access to the car's information and controls.

Then cars can stay "dumb" but we can have our gadgets too.

Re:This is already the case with in-dash GPS. (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year and a half ago | (#42130113)

Can we have something more standardized so I don't have to buy a walled garden device?

Usb mini and hdmi would be fine by me. HDMI if the car has an integrated display.

Re:This is already the case with in-dash GPS. (1)

chill (34294) | about a year and a half ago | (#42130349)

Well, VW has what they call a Media Device Interface (MDI). I just got a new Jetta TDI and it came with the iPod adapter cable.

I'm tempted to get the USB cable adapter and try it out with my phone, but I use the maps/nav feature of my phone and that isn't going to help if it is in the glove box.

"The Media Device Interface (MDI) offers support for USB devices (memory sticks and hard drives), iPod integration and Aux In along with displaying ID3 tags over the CANbus to the MFD and the RCD310, RCD510 and RNS510 headunit. The unit is available for the Jetta/Passat which mounts in the glovebox and the Golf which mounts in the centre console replacing the 6 stacker cd changer. It is possible to mount the unit elsewhere in the car."

Re:This is already the case with in-dash GPS. (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about a year and a half ago | (#42129917)

Someone needs to come up with a docking module on the dash, to which you can dock a standard device that can be upgraded over the years. Kind of like the old "DIN" standard for car stereos, but more flat, intended for touch screen devices. Then when your in-dash system gets outdated you can upgrade it.

It's called the "Cigarette Lighter". It can power a wide range of devices...

Re:This is already the case with in-dash GPS. (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year and a half ago | (#42130019)

Someone needs to come up with a docking module on the dash, to which you can dock a standard device that can be upgraded over the years. Kind of like the old "DIN" standard for car stereos, but more flat, intended for touch screen devices. Then when your in-dash system gets outdated you can upgrade it.

It's called the "Cigarette Lighter". It can power a wide range of devices...

Cigarette lighters provide a data connection? Since when?

Re:This is already the case with in-dash GPS. (1, Funny)

Joce640k (829181) | about a year and a half ago | (#42130465)

Why do you want to send data to your car? A car is for transport.

Re:This is already the case with in-dash GPS. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42130029)

But a docking station would allow for integration with steering wheel controls and suchlike.

Re:This is already the case with in-dash GPS. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42129973)

You're really advocating a touch screen for use in a car? By the driver?

Touch screens in for use by the driver are probably the dumbest idea I've seen for a long, long time. Yes, Ford, I'm talking to you.

Re:This is already the case with in-dash GPS. (2)

Rob the Bold (788862) | about a year and a half ago | (#42130207)

You're really advocating a touch screen for use in a car? By the driver?

Touch screens in for use by the driver are probably the dumbest idea I've seen for a long, long time. Yes, Ford, I'm talking to you.

You're a little late, gramps. Even my sister-in-law's cheap-ass Hyundai's got a touch screen.

They are, however, still not a very good idea.

Re:This is already the case with in-dash GPS. (2)

jaymz666 (34050) | about a year and a half ago | (#42130351)

Indeed. A touch screen is much harder to navigate by feel than actual buttons.

Oh, I know where the heat control knob is, I can reach down a bit and spin it without taking my eyes off the road or... I can navigate
two levels deep to find that control on touch interface and take a few seconds with my eyes off the road just to turn the heat up or down.

Re:This is already the case with in-dash GPS. (1)

d3ac0n (715594) | about a year and a half ago | (#42129991)

Why go to all that trouble? Why not simply replace the existing system with a drop-in aftermarket one with Bluetooth connectivity for smartphones? Or, if you MUST have a built-in system, build your own with a Raspberry Pi as a processor.

This is why I never buy the fancy stereo option. It's easier and cheaper to go buy an aftermarket one with all the same features and more and have it installed than to buy the top-of-the-line auto system with no support.

Of course, I also drive a Jeep, so I'm not exactly the "bells and whistles" kind of guy anyway.

Re:This is already the case with in-dash GPS. (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year and a half ago | (#42130063)

Any links to a decent one?
What i would really like is to at least provide power and accept hdmi. That way I can play sound and show the navigation display from the phone.

Yes, I have a passenger that uses the device or I stop driving to do so.

Re:This is already the case with in-dash GPS. (1)

realityimpaired (1668397) | about a year and a half ago | (#42130281)

Most in-dash video systems (and after market ones) either blank the display when the car is in motion, or use a polarized display so that the driver can't see anything while the passenger can. Since such a device would have no way of knowing if it's connected to a GPS or to a DVD player, it's unlikely you'd have a way to override it.

Personally, I just use my smartphone. Tie it in to the car's bluetooth system, and let it use voice instructions for navigation. The car has a USB socket in the center console, and it works perfectly well with any bluetooth-enabled phone, while having steering-wheel controls for manipulating the audio playback or controllling the phone. Throw in a voice-recognition dialling system (which the car has), and the obsolescence problem becomes just wanting to make sure that the phones still support bluetooth.

Re:This is already the case with in-dash GPS. (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year and a half ago | (#42130381)

My car is too old for bluetooth and usb. I use a 12v to usb adaptor to power it
My smartphone does voice dialing just fine though.

To listen to music on the device in the car I use one of those fm radio transmitters.

Over all I already meet my needs I would just like it to be more elegant.

Re:This is already the case with in-dash GPS. (1)

d3ac0n (715594) | about a year and a half ago | (#42130451)

Spend some time over at Crutchfield.com. THOUSANDS of aftermarket stereos with varying capability available.

Re:This is already the case with in-dash GPS. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42130115)

One of the problems with after-market extra is mounting them somewhere. It's not as easy as it might seem, because if you're not *really* careful you'll mount your device where when the airbag explodes in a crash it'll become a deadly projectile...

Re:This is already the case with in-dash GPS. (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year and a half ago | (#42130159)

Seems like we need a standardized method of marking where to put them. Like all cars have lift points for where the jacks go.

Re:This is already the case with in-dash GPS. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42129997)

no way. Car manufacturers are Vendor Lock in incarnated. The only way that is going to change is legislation.

Re:This is already the case with in-dash GPS. (2)

metalmaster (1005171) | about a year and a half ago | (#42130031)

yep, my parent's just got a car with a bluelink [hyundaiusa.com] package, and the most basic GPS features are lumped into their most expensive package. That's just insane considering those features can be had for $100 upfront cost [amazon.com] or by use of her smartphone considering she's already paying for a data connection.

Re:This is already the case with in-dash GPS. (2)

jjsimp (2245386) | about a year and a half ago | (#42130089)

Yeah, if only phone manufacturers would standardize their docks. Yes, most of them (not apple) have microUSB...some also have a dock connector such as the nexus line with the pogo pins. It would be nice if instead of the car stereo, their was a dock connected to the amp/speakers for my smartphone/tablet to plug into. Have an app that gives us acccess to the AM/FM tuner that is built into the dock. They could even make it turn into GPS/Stereo mode when inserted, like my Gnex does when plugged in with the pogo pins. Have it disable features that the stupid people will insist on using while driving (facebook, video). Most smartphones already have voice control built in. Then in a few years when the dock changes, all they would have to do is create an adapter. They could even charge $100 to get said adapter. But instead we have this integrated Ford Sync/Onstar/whatever the other OEMs use which if you're like me you bought your car the year before it came out. My current vehicle, I have the stereo with 6 CD changer...I have not used the CD changer in probably the last three years and use the line-in connected to the smart phone.

Re:This is already the case with in-dash GPS. (1)

somersault (912633) | about a year and a half ago | (#42130419)

My new car is going to have Toyota's Touch [engadget.com] system built in. Apparently even the cheapest new Toyotas get these as standard now.

Annoyingly Android isn't supported yet, but the only thing I really need is a 3.5 mm audio input, which my car definitely will have.. as well as a 9 speaker stereo system and sub :)

Re:This is already the case with in-dash GPS. (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | about a year and a half ago | (#42130493)

It is easier than that.
Just put in an LCD touch screen, GPS, whatever radio that the owner wants and provide a USB+HDMI connectors.
Your phone can use the HDMI to display on the cars touch screen and send audio back to the stereo. The USB powers the phone and allows the phone to control the radio, get data from the built in GPS and maybe read hard buttions if their are any and to get data from the car or control other functions.
The reason i put in a GPS when most phones have one is that a car GPS could have a larger built in antenna. They should include a cheap IMU for the times GPS hickups. The electronics become a dumb display for your device. For people that do not want a smart phone people could sell stand alone Nav and MP3 systems that just the built in GPS and or the car makers could put in some limted functions for people without smart phones. You could go farther if you wanted and have a standard to connect modules to your car to expand the functions maybe USB?
And a one TB Portable drive and have all you music and movies available. Game systems? Of course for the passengers only. Seems like a no brainer to me but the car companies make too much money off infotainment systems.

Re:This is already the case with in-dash GPS. (2)

dmoonfire (2762655) | about a year and a half ago | (#42130505)

*sigh* I know this already. My Subaru Tribeca 2008 (hate it with a passion) has a built-in GPS. And apparently Subaru wants $100+ for the annual update CD which comes on 3 now? Whereas my Garmin can handle pretty much the entire country and has better coverage and it only cost me $120 for a lifetime map support and I'm still good.

Sadly, cars were not meant to be hackable, otherwise I would have ripped it out and put in something nicer.

A coworker ended up making their own dash using an Android Tablet and something that hooks up to the OBE(?) device. Works out pretty well and isn't locked down to a single platform.

No change, in other words (4, Insightful)

OhHellWithIt (756826) | about a year and a half ago | (#42129913)

. . . [Y]ou might end up driving a car with a fancy in-dash computer system that's completely useless for much of the time you own it.

My first car had an AM radio, but I wanted FM, so I bought an FM converter for it. Car #3 had an AM/FM radio, but I wanted a cassette player, so I ended up buying and installing a radio with a cassette player in it. Car #4 didn't have a CD player, and I remedied that with a portable CD player and an adapter that slipped into the factory-installed cassette player. The current car has a radio with CD player and auxiliary input jack and Bluetooth, but I'm pretty sure it will be obsolete by the time I get rid of it.

Why would onboard computers be any different?

Re:No change, in other words (2)

jpstanle (1604059) | about a year and a half ago | (#42130327)

. . . [Y]ou might end up driving a car with a fancy in-dash computer system that's completely useless for much of the time you own it.

My first car had an AM radio, but I wanted FM, so I bought an FM converter for it. Car #3 had an AM/FM radio, but I wanted a cassette player, so I ended up buying and installing a radio with a cassette player in it. Car #4 didn't have a CD player, and I remedied that with a portable CD player and an adapter that slipped into the factory-installed cassette player. The current car has a radio with CD player and auxiliary input jack and Bluetooth, but I'm pretty sure it will be obsolete by the time I get rid of it.

Why would onboard computers be any different?

Because they are far, far less standardized and more integrated into the systems of the car itself than tradition stereo DIN head units.

okay.jpg (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42129915)

Either I get a Google self-driving car, or I drive myself places. I just need to Velcro my smartphone or tablet to the middle of my dash and be done with it. It's a car, not an appliance. At the present time, there's no need for a car to have its computers updated every year or two and why would we want to except for the enthusiasts out there? Cars are way too expensive for the vast majority of the people, debt is at an all time high, and we spend more on gadgets. I think we can afford not to upgrade cars.

Android in the dash? (2)

Xipher (868293) | about a year and a half ago | (#42129921)

I wonder if any of the auto manufacturers have considered working with Google and using Android?

Re:Android in the dash? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42130025)

To the best of my knowledge this was the route SAAB was developing, so I guess we will not be seeing that.

No plans to upgrade (1)

canadiannomad (1745008) | about a year and a half ago | (#42129923)

Then please, please, please open source it, or at least let some third party support it. Car owners will likely pay to keep their car up to date if the car manufacturers can't be stuffed.

Ford Sync (2)

cgfsd (1238866) | about a year and a half ago | (#42129931)

Anyone who has a Ford Sync system knows it is completely useless brand new.

Re:Ford Sync (2)

gstoddart (321705) | about a year and a half ago | (#42130013)

Anyone who has a Ford Sync system knows it is completely useless brand new.

Gee, it's a collaboration between Ford and Microsoft ... what did you expect? ;-)

Avoid the crap (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42129933)

I suspect that I'll be going out of my way and possibly paying extra to have HVAC and radio with real buttons and knobs and sliders that I can reach for and find while driving.

It is like the manufacturers go out of their way to avoid putting in things like analog auxiliary ports for audio. And heaven forbid they consider putting money into connectors for existing digital audio transport technologies (HDMI audio, TOSlink). And then they get fancy and start combining crap like trip computers and oil life indicators with the stock piece of crap radio.

Re:Avoid the crap (1)

jjsimp (2245386) | about a year and a half ago | (#42130217)

You haven't bought a car in a while, have you. Most cars have the basic audio analog ports and some have the USB inputs. Maybe, more of the foreign (non US) cars do not have the ports. I rent a lot of cars for work and most of the Toyotas/Nissans have them. Even a Jetta I rented had a USB power and analog audio input. Now if I rent a car and it doesn't have analog audio I think that car is strange. I even search high and low for one. Usually they are on the stereo, on the dash just below the stereo, or in the center console. I've actually seen one that the port was in the glovebox.

ridiculous (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42129943)

NY state and others are passing stricter and stricter laws about phone use. The current law as written (though not totally enforced) makes using any electronic device while driving illegal unless it is a part of the car.

Alternate solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42129947)

I use an exogear universal tablet mount + a nexus 7 for my in dash needs :)
No obsolecense there... if it gets old, i'll just replace the nexus with something new. And if I change cars, i can just take that with me...
it sends the audio to my regular stereo by bluetooth, and has built-in gps... so everything is fine ;)

Re:Alternate solution (1)

queazocotal (915608) | about a year and a half ago | (#42130359)

Your inbuilt stereo supports bluetooth - great.
Does it also support IRDA?

Wife went through this ... (4, Informative)

gstoddart (321705) | about a year and a half ago | (#42129981)

My wife's last car had an in-dash GPS. After a few years when the maps started showing their age and missing entire subdivisions, we looked into replacing it.

Turned out to buy the DVD from GM to update the maps was on the order of $700 or so. Which, was obviously way more than it would cost to buy a Tom Tom or similar.

I try to avoid such things because they do go obsolete far faster than the thing they're attached to. Though, the BlueTooth integration in my KIA is pretty sweet.

Ford Sync (2)

alphax45 (675119) | about a year and a half ago | (#42129995)

Ford has solved this with Sync: http://www.ford.com/technology/ [ford.com] Great system that leverages your ever changing smartphone.

Re:Ford Sync (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42130323)

Sync is great. Except

A) it frequently doesn't work with smartphones made after that model year
B) oh, that feature we advertise isn't quite ready yet, but it'll be free upgrade via USB at home. Did I say "free", I meant pay and overnight in the shop. Actually, no, that feature has been reserved for the next model year, sorry.

Standardized Remote Touchscreen API (2)

Runesabre (732910) | about a year and a half ago | (#42129999)

Car companies and tablet/computer/smartphone companies should work on a standardized touchscreen API. Car companies then install a general purpose touchscreen that is activated and controlled by whatever tablet or smartphone device the user currently has in her possession.

Re:Standardized Remote Touchscreen API (5, Insightful)

Peter Simpson (112887) | about a year and a half ago | (#42130151)

No touchscreens, please. Any UI that requires you to remove your eyes from the road is a non-starter. Pleas, let's not *add* to the already out-of-control distracted driving problem.

Old problem different venue (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42130005)

Multiple industries have had the same problem. The solution is to have a standard bus system and mounting hardware, sort of like computer cases and or rack mounts.

MIDI is an example of a bus that interconnects a wide variety of components that work somewhat harmoniously together.

Of course we are talking about car manufacturers who can't even standardize on most parts to their products from year to year. It's almost as if they make horendous amounts of money by selling disparate copies of what should be the same thing.

No fancy gizmos please... (5, Insightful)

sakkathotmagaa (2728241) | about a year and a half ago | (#42130039)

When I recently bought a car, I specifically searched for a model that does not have any touch screen jazzy GPS-smartphone-capable stuff thrown in. Apart from the slow upgrades that are offered by the manufacturers, I find it extremely distracting. A phone call can always wait, and I prefer physical buttons on the dash to skip music tracks or control the volume. Unless you have steering wheel mounted controls (which I admit, most cars have these days), I find the prospect of taking my eyes off the road to figure out where on the screen to touch to change route/track very distracting and potentially dangerous. Voice activated commands are not yet very accent-insensitive. I speak with a marked indian accent, and I find that a couple of systems were not able to pick up commands very easily. More distractions and it just ends up making the journey more tiresome. So car makers, please spare some of us the bleeding edge technology and give us cars that we can actually enjoy driving.

Re:No fancy gizmos please... (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about a year and a half ago | (#42130085)

Not that I like distractions that raise my risk of death in my car either, but how do you navigate if not with GPS?

Re:No fancy gizmos please... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42130169)

Some of us know how to read a map. I'm hardly a neophobe, but I find that the widespread use of GPS is degrading people's sense of direction and critical thinking skills for navigation.

Re:No fancy gizmos please... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42130173)

The same way we did before GPS, by actually knowing where we were going. I'm nearly 40 years old and never once used GPS to go anywhere and I've never been lost. I've looked at a map a time or two before I went somewhere, but never GPS. I've driven all over the country too and in some very large cities and some very backwoods locations. Never understood why people really needed GPS, seems like a fancy waste of tech to me.

Re:No fancy gizmos please... (1)

operagost (62405) | about a year and a half ago | (#42130499)

Because most people don't have your evidently photographic memory. Having a GPS read the directions to you is safer then trying to read written directions.

Re:No fancy gizmos please... (0)

seinman (463076) | about a year and a half ago | (#42130177)

I hear you can get maps printed on this material called paper, and they bind many of them together into a booklet. Sounds scary, but people tell me it's usable.

Re:No fancy gizmos please... (3, Interesting)

i kan reed (749298) | about a year and a half ago | (#42130467)

Yes, and that is somehow less distracting than a gps when you're driving? Does not solve the underlying problem.

Re:No fancy gizmos please... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42130215)

but how do you navigate if not with GPS?

Back in the olden days, people looked at a map, planned out a route, and tried to follow it. If they lost track of their position, they'd stop the car (heresy in the modern age, I know) get out the map and sort out a new route to their destination.

Re:No fancy gizmos please... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42130221)

Not that I like distractions that raise my risk of death in my car either, but how do you navigate if not with GPS?

Stop and look at a map.

Re:No fancy gizmos please... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42130249)

I use my phone as a GPS. Not only did it not cost $1000-$2000 like an in-dash GPS (I was going to own it anyway--so just $10 for a mount), it has automatic, free updates of map data, it has realtime traffic data, and I can choose between competing guidance systems.

Re:No fancy gizmos please... (0)

Rob the Bold (788862) | about a year and a half ago | (#42130255)

Not that I like distractions that raise my risk of death in my car either, but how do you navigate if not with GPS?

You could try one of these [wikipedia.org] .

Re:No fancy gizmos please... (1)

assertation (1255714) | about a year and a half ago | (#42130445)

+ 1

I think the frills are the result of a combination of looking for things to charge you more for and to substitute for a lack of MEANINGFUL, BIG innovations.........like running on alternative fuels.

They are only worried about cars? (1)

Kingkaid (2751527) | about a year and a half ago | (#42130103)

A car works for about 10 year... my sister is getting a new "smart home" which links everything to your iphone or android. Ignoring the security aspects of it.. makes me cringe when she doesn't get "your phone has a lifespan of 3 years, your house will last 90. Something is going to give" *sigh*

Re:They are only worried about cars? (1)

Cro Magnon (467622) | about a year and a half ago | (#42130285)

You don't think your sister's 2012 built house will be compatible with the iPhone 27 in the year 2100?

Re:They are only worried about cars? (2)

chill (34294) | about a year and a half ago | (#42130443)

I would question your assumption that any house constructed after about 1970 will last 90 years. More like the 30 or so they're willing to give you a mortgage for.

New tract home construction quality just doesn't impress me as being durable over the long haul.

DIN form factor mounting (4, Informative)

Peter Simpson (112887) | about a year and a half ago | (#42130129)

Best thing since FM radios in cars. Don't like the factory "whatever"? Pull it out and put in your own.

What we need is a modular and hackable approach (2)

eyegor (148503) | about a year and a half ago | (#42130135)

I've been amazed over the years at the very poor quality of in-dash software and functionality. My 2008 Subaru Legacy has a so-so Nav system and horrendously expensive map upgrades while my wife's 2011 Sienna has probably the worst in-entertainment/Nav system I've seen.

While my Legacy's Nav system is somewhat hackable, the Sienna seems resistant to any kind of tweaking to improve any aspect of its operation. Instead, we're forced to accept whatever execrable interface they provide, no matter how irksome it may be.

Both systems could be vastly improved if auto-makers would use a more modularized and upgradable approach to their in-dash systems. Rather than sticking us with a system that's more or less immutable, why not use a general purpose computer underneath whatever buttons and displays they choose to use and allow companies or individuals to provide software to support the various functions we'd like to see. Kind of a chumby approach to things. A user could plug in a NAV module, a way to expand storage, a better quality audio amp or whatever they need to interface to the latest and greatest cell phones.

Re:What we need is a modular and hackable approach (2)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | about a year and a half ago | (#42130291)

Why should they care? The customer base they are targeting buys a new car every three to five years. While some people buy new cars and keep them longer, the bulk of cars that are older than five years old are being driven by someone who is not a customer of the auto-makers (although the expansion of "certified pre-owned" programs may start to change that perception among car manufacturers).

Screw in-dash entertainment (1)

amorsen (7485) | about a year and a half ago | (#42130143)

Just give me a USB port and a cigarette lighter for charging and an AUX plug for sound. Bonus points for microphones, but those are strangely absent on most cars.

A tablet two years younger than an in-dash system will always beat the in-dash system. Controls are still a problem, but voice activation is improving. Either way, you can already by bluetooth devices for the steering wheel with buttons controlling a phone.

What the tablet cannot offer is decent speakers and a good microphone mounted close to the head, so that is what car manufacturers should provide.

So what's new? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42130153)

A 10 year old car might have a cassette player. A 10 year old car, 10 years ago, probably had an AM/FM radio with actual radio buttons. A 10 year old car 20 years ago may have had a tape deck.

Swapping out a the stereo for one that works with your iPhone 12 is about 20 minutes of effort, and will cost maybe a hundred bucks.

What the hell? (5, Interesting)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | about a year and a half ago | (#42130179)

http://www.mirrorlink.com/ [mirrorlink.com]

This problem has been solved.

So it's like every other computer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42130197)

At the time of hardware purchase, one of the top questions is always "Does this come with some sort of software which isn't maintainable?" If the answer is Yes, then the result is either NO SALE or else the machine is considered completely disposable and its purchase price is evaluated with that in mind.

If the moment you have a problem with your car's dash, if you're willing to throw the car away or recycle it like you would do with an iPhone 5 or an x86 box that can't run anything but Windows 8 -- or if you have compelling evidence that there's a high enough probability that you will get the necessary maintenance from the single source -- then it's ok to buy it. (Nine times out of ten, locking yourself into single source maintenance is a loser of an idea, but yes, there are exceptions.)

If it's priced high enough that it seems preposterous to you to lose so much of the value within a year, then don't buy it. Nancy Reagan might have been strangely biased on subject matter, but she knew three magic words of strategy, which solve most of today's "consumer problems": just say no. If someone offers you an opportunity to do something stupid which is obviously contrary to your interests, just say no.

And if enough people make decisions using this basic common sense, then someone will eventually say, "Oh, you want maintainability? Ok, I'll take your money," and there's your GNU/Car. ;-)

Rand McNally (4, Informative)

boristdog (133725) | about a year and a half ago | (#42130209)

I upgrade my big $6.95 book of Rand McNally road maps every couple years. It's not that expensive.

Classic example is the map DVD thingie (2)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about a year and a half ago | (#42130219)

My Prius model year 2006 came in with the maps stored in a DVD that was updated in Feb 2005. Car is still going strong, giving me 45 mpg in summer and about 40 mpg in winter. No problems, no issues. Except for that stupid map-DVD. Toyota thinks the updated DVD is worth 200$. And furthermore, only an authorized dealer technician can do this impossibly difficult task of ejecting old dvd and inserting the new one, labor at 80$ an hour. And the local dealer charges 20$ a day "storage fee" if you don't pick the car up when they call you to say it is done. It is a rip off. No one in right mind is paying for this stuff.

actually understates the issue (1)

sribe (304414) | about a year and a half ago | (#42130371)

If by "a decade or more" they mean 25 years, then yeah, OK. Don't forget the used car market; when the first owner of a car moves to a new car, the old one does not go straight to the scrap heap, and for modern cars 25 years is pretty common.

lol (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about a year and a half ago | (#42130413)

In-dash car stereos suck... they always have, and they always will. Lets be honest here, these "Systems" are nothing more than glorified car stereos. If you want to save some money on your car, get one without this nonsense per-installed and install your own after-market system for $200. You can replace it whenever you want then. When you get the factory system, it's often so integrated, removing it becomes a real problem.

Command-line interface: never goes out of style (3, Funny)

dstone (191334) | about a year and a half ago | (#42130431)

Seriously. Just give me a Bash shell. I'll alias some useful stuff to short commands. Voice dictation can reduce the safety issues with keyboard use. And when the car is out of warranty, the dealer has to add me to the wheel group for sudo.

Keep it simple (1)

genericmk (2767843) | about a year and a half ago | (#42130437)

Back in the olden times the stereos were so basic all you could hope for was a tape adapter to plug in something external. A standard operating set of commands with a USB plug is all that's really needed. All the car needs to provide is an amplifier and speakers plus some basic functionality on its own like a radio. The external devices progress much faster than cars, for obvious reasons so save money on developing soon to be obsolete systems and just provide a standard the phone/accessory manufacturers can work with and just amplify the audio and provide power.

Sucks to stay up to date (1)

uvsc_wolverine (692513) | about a year and a half ago | (#42130439)

My father-in-law has a 2009 Lexus RX 350 hybrid and the in-dash system is already showing signs of obsolescence. The most glaring thing is actually the built-in GPS. It doesn't take long for those maps to get out of date and guess what Toyota's solution is to upgrade the maps? Replace the computer. It would cost nearly $2000 to get updated maps loaded into his car. Toyota didn't think to have some simple way of upgrading the mapping data via USB or anything. They have to take the dashboard apart and install a new computer to upgrade the maps. That's just stupid.

This is why you need standards (1)

koan (80826) | about a year and a half ago | (#42130455)

The car computer system should be modular and easy to replace by the user, in addition we need a regulation in the US for a standard jack on the I/O of our phones and other electronics.

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