Mir­ror on the fu­ture

To run your favourite apps, smart­phone-savvy cars just need a de­cent screen, good sound — and a USB ca­ble

The Courier-Mail - Motoring - - Cover Story - CRAIG DUFF

CAR com­pa­nies want to get in on the con­nec­tion we have with our mo­bile phones — and that in­volves a lot more than mak­ing hands-free calls.

An­droid and Ap­ple are work­ing with car brands to in­te­grate smart­phones with ve­hi­cle tech, though they need to be phys­i­cally con­nected via ca­ble rather than paired us­ing Blue­tooth.

Yet the gen Y buy­ers car com­pa­nies are chas­ing are those most de­terred by in-car tech­nol­ogy, ac­cord­ing to a sur­vey of 4200 own­ers in the US by in­dus­try an­a­lyst JD Power. The study found more than 20 per cent of younger buy­ers weren’t in­ter­ested in in-built apps, specif­i­cally those re­lat­ing to en­ter­tain­ment and con­nec­tiv­ity.

The least de­sired items in­cluded in-car concierge, mo­bile routers, au­to­mated park­ing, head-up dis­play and in-built apps.

JD Power spokesman Kristin Kolodge says the un­used tech rep­re­sents lost value for a car’s maker and owner alike.

“In many cases, own­ers sim­ply pre­fer to use their smart­phone or tablet be­cause it meets their needs. They’re fa­mil­iar with the de­vice and it’s ac­cu­rate,” Kolodge says.

That’s also why the An­droid Auto and Ap­ple CarPlay maps mir­ror the orig­i­nal smart­phone screen look and op­er­a­tion.

The the­ory goes that own­ers win by not hav­ing to learn a new regime or spend time work­ing out how to wade through the menus. Mak­ers win be­cause they don’t risk their ve­hi­cles’ soft­ware be­com­ing ob­so­lete ev­ery time there’s an up­date for maps or some­one launches a new mu­sic stream­ing ser­vice.

Equally, the ve­hi­cle hard­ware — up­dated only dur­ing a facelift ev­ery three or four years — isn’t as ad­versely

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