Connected Cars: Turning Your Vehicle into a 4-Wheel Smartphone
It’s hardly big news that tech companies Google and Apple have already begun setting their sights on the automotive sector. While Google is reportedly working on its ‘Driverless car’, Apple is working towards its ‘Electric Car’. The two biggest tech giants in the world are in tense gamesmanship while mainstream automotive companies have slowly but surely started embracing the idea of connected cars and advanced technologies. Not to be left out of the fray, the other big giant of technology, Microsoft, has announced its ‘Windows for the car’.
In the land from down under, Australia, many automakers are set on rolling out factory fitted in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) systems in their new models. As per the latest reports, the electronics firm Pioneer has already sold their brand of 7-inch display systems that are compatible with the new Android Auto as well as other platforms. In fact, two new Pioneer head units were launched to cater to the demand of carmakers planning to roll out factory fitted IVI systems in the newer car versions by the end of 2015. And Pioneer has not ignored the potential of Apple’s CarPlay, either. Last year, Pioneer had announced head units for the Car Play system as well.
Pioneer’s models are priced between $1149 and $1999 with additional installation costs; and they feature a 7-inch touch screen display that can be fastened to any phone running the Android Lollipop 5.0 software. The upcoming Samsung Galaxy S6, Google Nexus 5 and 6 and HTC One M9 will run the Android Lollipop 5.0 software, so drivers planning on purchasing any of these phones will be in luck.
The two head units from Pioneer also support Apple’s CarPlay system which is compatible with the iPhone 5/5c/5s/6/6+ that runs the latest version of the iOS. The external microphone provided in the system enables calls to be made, while mapping and music can even be controlled by voice activation. The presence of both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay has the potential to influence the buyer’s decision based on what phone brand they own, which could help or hurt a manufacturer depending on how strongly they exhibit brand loyalty.
It’s crazy to think of people switching their cell phone because they bought a new car, and it’s even crazier to think of a person buying a new car because they bought a new cell phone, but with this new technology, it may be happening sooner than you’d think. Not too long ago we remember a lot of people switching over to AT&T when it was the exclusive provider of the iPhone. If the technology is there, it very well could create crossover.
While these “autotainment” features add a great deal of flair to your vehicle, the biggest thing to come out of these innovative tech are the features that directly related to travel. Based on the driver’s travel history, new map services will be able to deliver real-time traffic data information. And when synced with current-gen GPS navigation systems, they could potentially provide information about school areas, red light cameras, or speed zones . With the automakers coming up with new auto products, or updated versions of their existing products, inclusion of ‘connected car’ platforms could be one of the major factors influencing consumers’ decision.
Cars have gone far and beyond their standard duty of transportation. As they evolve into the next stage of technological platforms for our increasingly interconnected world, it’s mindboggling to think that a few years ago having a phone in one’s car was an enviable luxury. Nowadays we are no longer limited to the we stay connected to the outside world, and all sorts of conveniences are being developed to make that commute more interesting and far less isolating than it used to be.
Check out a great behind-the-scenes look and a great comparison between the Apple CarPlay and the Android Auto operating systems. How many of you would consider switching cell phone operating systems because of the car your bought?!
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Alex has worked in the automotive service industry for over 20 years. After graduating from one of the country’s top technical schools, he worked as a technician achieving a Master Technician certification. He also has experience as a service advisor and service manager. Read more about Alex.