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The Coming Wave of In-Dash Auto System Obsolescence 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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The Coming Wave of In-Dash Auto System Obsolescence

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  • by OhHellWithIt ( 756826 ) * on Thursday November 29, 2012 @11:20AM (#42129913) Journal

    . . . [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?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 29, 2012 @11:26AM (#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.

  • by sakkathotmagaa ( 2728241 ) on Thursday November 29, 2012 @11:32AM (#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.
  • by Peter Simpson ( 112887 ) on Thursday November 29, 2012 @11:41AM (#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.
  • Re:Sure (Score:4, Insightful)

    by rickb928 ( 945187 ) on Thursday November 29, 2012 @12:24PM (#42130769) Homepage Journal

    My idea of a vintage car with a sound system includes a big block and dual exhausts. You can't get that with Bluetooth.

    And yes, on those cars, the accelerator is more than merely a volume control.

  • by w_dragon ( 1802458 ) on Thursday November 29, 2012 @12:44PM (#42131029)
    They'll fix dangerous bugs, same as they do now. It's called a product recall. On cars, it usually amounts to taking your car to the dealer and waiting while they replace a part. You won't get the software update that makes lane changes smoother on next year's model, but you'll get the bug fix for the issue where the car sometimes mistakes the ditch for the middle of the road.

A committee takes root and grows, it flowers, wilts and dies, scattering the seed from which other committees will bloom. -- Parkinson