Cars can’t han­dle phones

Marlborough Express - - TECHNOLOGY&SCIENCE - BLAYNE SLAB­BERT

Us­ing a phone in a car is still a has­sle even though man­u­fac­tur­ers have had a decade to ac­com­mo­date them.

I can for­give most of my own car’s fail­ings when it comes to phones as it’s pretty old.

I still get an­noyed there’s no way to con­nect my phone to the stereo. IPods had been around for a while when my car was made so

I’d at least ex­pect a USB or head­phone port. But car mak­ers didn’t try to meet the needs of iPod own­ers 10-15 years ago, and not much has changed.

Mod­ern cars still lack some ba­sic fea­tures to make life eas­ier for a phone-wield­ing driver.

I no­ticed this re­cently when I hired a newish car. I thought it was a chance for my phone to be at home in a ve­hi­cle.

The first thing I no­ticed was there was nowhere to put my phone. I as­sumed there would be a holder near the dash so I could eas­ily use Google Maps.

There was noth­ing avail­able –

I'm not sure why car man­u­fac­tur­ers ig­nore drivers' smart­phone needs.

just a place in front of the gear stick to place my phone. Even my old car has that. I as­sume this is be­cause car mak­ers want you to use their in-car nav­i­ga­tion and en­ter­tain­ment sys­tems.

But re­views of those have been mixed. Some are slow, some are com­pli­cated and all of them re­quire you to buy a new car or get an ex­pen­sive unit in­stalled.

These sys­tems have also been crit­i­cised as dis­tract­ing and putting mo­torists at risk of crashes, ac­cord­ing to a study in the United States by the AAA Foun­da­tion for Traf­fic Safety.

The ma­jor­ity of Ki­wis rely on their smart­phones to pro­vide their in-car tech needs.

That’s be­cause the av­er­age age of cars in New Zealand is 14 years, ac­cord­ing to the Min­istry of Trans­port.

It must irk new car own­ers that they have to spend the same amount to get their car smart­phone ready as it does some­one driv­ing an older ve­hi­cle.

Both types of own­ers need to buy a phone holder, a charger and a ca­ble to plug into the stereo.

I’m not sure why car man­u­fac­tur­ers ig­nore drivers’ smart­phone needs.

Un­for­tu­nately, I don’t see them chang­ing. How­ever, if any of them did fo­cus on phones, I’d bet it’d at­tract more buy­ers than some of the lat­est tech gim­micks they pro­mote.

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