Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Auto-navigating the dashboard!


Everyone wants to differentiate and do things their own way! Yes - we do need mobility in a car! Literally! So car manufacturers are doing fancy things with the dashboard.

One thing I can't do today in my "luxury car" is plug in an auxiliary audio input!! Okay - it's about 5 years old ... but I'd  expect them to have seen that coming? It's quite mainstream today ...

Now, they're going all over(dash)board to connect up music systems (like Pandora), maps (Google maps and Google Earth), search and calendars (like Google search and Google Calendar), etc., to the car! That's all very important and very nice - but why replicate the entire stack?

Audi is apparently bringing a bunch of these features to the dashboard - as quoted:
The MMI navigation plus system has an integrated GPRS/EDGE modem that will be updated into a 3G modem mid 2010, to allow Google Earth. To use the new online services the customer needs to insert a SIM card in the MMI Navigation plus or pair their mobile phone with the MMI over the Bluetooth SIM-Access-Profile. Aside from the Customer’s existing mobile phone data plan, no additional contracts are required.
It seems the functionality that is already available in the mobile phone is being replicated into this dashboard device. GPRS/EDGE/SIM card ... do you see where this is headed?

There's no need for this, people!! The mobile phone already doubles as a navigation system (separate navigation systems are so....last decade!). You obviously need a phone to talk to someone...and you can even talk to the phone today (voice control, voice search). I get my email and calendar on my phone already. Where's my music? On the phone! 5 years back, my Sony Eriksson phone had a built-in FM radio, as do many new phones and music players - so stop wasting time, and just provide a dashboard dock for my phone that can then use the dashboard screen as a display. With Bluetooth or simple protocol to communicate with the device, e.g., via it's earphone connector, you should be able to  screen the next YouTube HD movie for the kids at the back, or get a map and directions to the theater. Yes - it would be nice to have the controls on the steering wheel.  Give me that - but I don't need another SIM card! My phone already has one!!

And my wife's contacts are different from mine - she doesn't need to see the numbers I call :-). All she needs to do is get in the car, adjust the seat (my car does provide a button for that, thank God!), adjust the mirror, and slide her phone into the dashboard dock.

I've already told you - it is just a matter of time that the phone OS is the only thing we'll really need...get with the program!

Tick Tock - it's time to DOCK!
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