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Cellphones Transportation Entertainment Hardware Technology

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 ZorinLynx ( 31751 ) on Thursday November 29, 2012 @11:15AM (#42129873) Homepage

    I already know at least two people who have in-dash navigation systems, yet use their smartphone or a standalone GPS because either the automaker stopped providing map updates, or wants to charge an exhorbitant amount of money for them (as in, SEVERAL TIMES that of a stand-alone GPS or even a smart phone!)

    Someone needs to come up with a docking module on the dash, to which you can dock a standard device that can be upgraded over the years. Kind of like the old "DIN" standard for car stereos, but more flat, intended for touch screen devices. Then when your in-dash system gets outdated you can upgrade it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 29, 2012 @11:23AM (#42129953)

    Lets see, I have a 2001 740 BWM (Bought in 2011). The phone was (apparently) an analog based and mostly useless now(don't know, when I got my car it did not include the phone). I have the cable as part of my armrest in the center.

    Now, if I'm willing to spend a few hundred dollars, I can get a bluetooth module that will hookup to my current phone and I can use the cars controls for the bluetooth phone.
    And, apparently on phones can display text messages on the dashboard display (1 line, 15 characters or so).

    So the car is upgradeable, but it ain't cheap.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 29, 2012 @11:43AM (#42130173)

    The same way we did before GPS, by actually knowing where we were going. I'm nearly 40 years old and never once used GPS to go anywhere and I've never been lost. I've looked at a map a time or two before I went somewhere, but never GPS. I've driven all over the country too and in some very large cities and some very backwoods locations. Never understood why people really needed GPS, seems like a fancy waste of tech to me.

  • What the hell? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by L4t3r4lu5 ( 1216702 ) on Thursday November 29, 2012 @11:43AM (#42130179) []

    This problem has been solved.
  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Thursday November 29, 2012 @11:49AM (#42130257) Journal

    I was thinking the same thing! I have a 2005 BMW; there's a button on the mirror which would let me make a call if i had one of those phones or, iirc, a bluetooth module which cost $800... I think all the manufacturers should do is agree on a standard for attaching mounts to the dash, provide bluetooth to the sound system, and have usb power outlets strategically placed. Of course that's not what's going to happen.

    We already have ISO 7736. Let's just say that it is treated as more of a series of polite suggestions than as anything actually worth implementing.

  • by i kan reed ( 749298 ) on Thursday November 29, 2012 @12:03PM (#42130467) Homepage Journal

    Yes, and that is somehow less distracting than a gps when you're driving? Does not solve the underlying problem.

  • by MpVpRb ( 1423381 ) on Thursday November 29, 2012 @12:12PM (#42130609)

    ..and tried to tell them this

    Don't put electronics in dashboards, build interfaces and docking stations

    Concentrate on things like speakers, that must be designed to fit the space and don't change a lot

    Needless to say, I was ignored

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 29, 2012 @12:16PM (#42130671)

    Lol MTP.

    I rented a car back in May and discovered a USB socket right there on the dash. Plugged my N900 in just to charge it, but the "what type of device do you want me to be?" menu came up, so I selected "Mass Storage" and the car's audio system then searched said mass storage for MP3s and started playing them.

    Awesome. No need for MTP or any of M$'s other steaming droppings.

  • Re:Apples to oranges (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Applekid ( 993327 ) on Thursday November 29, 2012 @12:56PM (#42131233)

    While silly, that line of CD-Rs still uses the blue azo pigments in cyanine dyes instead of the newer phthalocyanine that every other disc produced today, including all of Verbatim's other discs. I have found the longevity and readability of these discs to be quite excellent, especially on older drives.

    Back then that chemistry was also available on DataLifePlus brand discs. Every single one I used to burn stuff on is still readable today (last checked this summer) while the Ritek discs I also burned at the time with the newer light green dyes are running about 2 good discs out of every 3 I pull. I believe older TDK discs also used the same Mitsubishi chemistry, but it's been a long time since such things mattered to me, since sneakernet with USB drives is more efficient.

    Anecdotal? Sure, but that's my tale.

  • by mister_playboy ( 1474163 ) on Thursday November 29, 2012 @12:57PM (#42131255)

    The late 80's had lots of GM experiments in proprietary dash layouts. The CRT touch screen system in the '87 Buck Riveria was perhaps the most (in)famous. []

  • Re:Ford Sync (Score:4, Interesting)

    by FreshlyShornBalls ( 849004 ) on Thursday November 29, 2012 @01:54PM (#42132117)

    Ha! You've clearly not actually USED Sync.

    Here's a tip: the fuse that needs to be pulled in order to do a hard reset of the system every month or so requires you to have about 7 joints in your hand to get to.

    I will say this: when it's working, it's awesome. But it was developed by / in conjunction with Microsoft.

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