Drivers Want to Use Smartphones in Cars, Not Infotainment Systems' Software
July 18, 2013 11:10 AM
There's a large disconnect between smartphone apps and vehicle software
There's a growing debate surrounding whether automakers should still offer embedded infotainment systems, or if
mobile apps and smartphones
should take the helm.
Infotainment systems, which are offered by many different auto companies, are typically embedded in the dashboard and offer navigation, entertainment and phone services via a touchscreen.
auto navigation systems
offer beautiful graphics and larger screens, they have their faults. For starters, they're very pricey. These systems run anywhere from $500 to $2,000.
In addition, a lot of these systems run on pre-made DVDs instead of the Internet. This means that they don't run real-time updates, and to have this software updated means a time-consuming trip to the dealership.
Mobile apps found on smartphones, on the other hand, are cheap (and sometimes even free) and offer the same services as these infotainment systems. What's more is that they're constantly being updated so the driver has the most relevant information while on the road.
The problem is obvious. Automakers can't keep their infotainment systems updated fast enough, and on top of that, many drivers are complaining that the systems don't always work properly -- hence, another trip to the dealership. Mobile apps, on the other hand, receive fixes from developers and are sent directly to the smartphone users' device.
This information begs the question: should automakers keep offering their own infotainment systems, or just let
drivers use their smartphone apps
on the dashboard display?
Automakers will tell you that the infotainment software from their respective companies is deeply integrated into the very functions of the vehicle. Where smartphone apps are designed to apply to many vehicles and events, automakers create their software as a specific partner to that particular vehicle.
Also, if a driver forgets their phone, they always have the infotainment software available right in their vehicle.
Ford said it will allow developers to create apps that work with the MyFord Touch infotainment system, but won't hand over full control of the system to developers -- and it doesn't see smartphones to be a full replacement.
Others outside of the auto industry will say that automakers should stick to making cars while companies like Apple and Google should take care of the navigation, entertainment and communications.
There's a disconnect between the software in cars and the software on smartphones, and automakers will have to attempt to bridge this gap if they want their systems to be successful -- or hand the keys to the tech companies.
The Detroit News
"We don't know how to make a $500 computer that's not a piece of junk." -- Apple CEO Steve Jobs
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