Are car buyers becoming more concerned with in-car entertainment systems than traditional car factors such as size, fuel economy, engine power, cargo space and FWD vs. AWD? Most drivers just need something to get from point A to point B, but are also concerned with how their mobile device will work with a vehicle.
Smartphones are important to people on the road and off, especially on long trips. Car stereos are allowing more control from mobile devices, requiring less input from the actual stereo interface. Knowing that the difference between a car that plays nice with my iPhone versus one that doesn’t can mean the difference between a pleasant trip that leaves one feeling rested and relaxed, and a frustrating journey that just ends up fraying nerves.
Cars that run Android were among the trends spotted at CES this year, but companies have been demoing in-vehicle Android for a while now. The problem is that you often won’t recognize it. What car manufacturers need to realize is that mobile tech has answered a lot of the same problems they have when it comes to navigation apps, in-car entertainments and utility software in ways that don’t require much rethinking or translation. Taking steps to minimize driver distraction is obviously one thing, but from my experience with SYNC and the rest, that hardly ends up being a core focus on most car-focused interface-design choices, so it’s a thin argument for sticking with the existing direction most are headed in.
A user’s mobile device affects more and more of their lifestyle choices, resulting in the rich ecosystems we see out there today for accessories and appliances that are compatible with iOS and Android. Car makers need to realize this isn’t just a nice-to-have for consumers going forward, but an actual top-tier priority.