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Transportation Networking

Automakers Struggle With Pairing Smartphones To Car Infotainment Systems 187

Posted by Soulskill
from the just-make-it-a-terminal-for-pete's-sake dept.
Lucas123 writes "As Toyota owners have often found out the hard way, they cannot use Bluetooth to pair an iPhone to their car's Entune infotainment system in order to use mobile apps. Drivers can set up their iPhones as a WiFi hotspots, but there's a fee for that. Part of the problem is that Toyota bundles all of the available Internet apps — such as Bing, iHeartRadio, MovieTickets.com, OpenTable, Pandora and other data services such as local fuel prices, traffic and weather information — on the infotainment system so it can track how they're being used. The company suggests drivers simply plug their phones into the car's USB port. Toyota's not alone in its wireless dilemma. Part of the problem is automakers can't keep up with mobile app software upgrades, so they use proprietary interfaces. But that may soon be changing. Toyota said its next model year will include Bluetooth pairing, but it still doesn't solve the longer term problem of how to upgrade infotainment systems without waiting the two to four years that new car models typically take to roll off the lines. Some automakers, like Audi, are moving to modular infotainment systems that allow chipsets to be replaced on the fly."
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Automakers Struggle With Pairing Smartphones To Car Infotainment Systems

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  • Simple... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 22, 2013 @10:19PM (#45208539)

    Allow software update of the system through USB.
    Download the latest version from the Toyota website, put it on a usb key, plug in the car, select Software update in the contextual menu, and boom, you're done.
    Or have it all running directly off an SD card which can be replaced/upgraded if it ever fails instead of built-in storage that can fail over time and is harder to change.

    • Re:Simple... (Score:5, Informative)

      by turrican (55223) on Tuesday October 22, 2013 @10:52PM (#45208733)

      I work at a dealership as a tech, and I've asked essentially the same question of the manufacturer. The party line is that field updates to audio systems are problematic mainly due to the internals changing enough over the life of any given audio unit model, and that while doable, the ROI in coming up with an update that's "field-ready" just doesn't make it worth it. They figure swapping with a "remanufactured" unit (one that they've been able to go through and upgrade/replace any problematic subsystems as well as update to the latest "ideal" software configuration) is preferable and more reliable, in general, than releasing a software update that might require a technician to go through and evaluate as go/no go for a given installed unit.

      It may sound like a simple thing to send out an update with a USB key and simple instructions on properly evaluating a unit for eligibility prior to upgrade, but trust me on this - in that industry, it isn't. It's difficult enough getting most techs just to avoid ruining the USB *PORT* on the diagnostic laptop...

      • Re:Simple... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by thegarbz (1787294) on Wednesday October 23, 2013 @06:59AM (#45210671)

        It may sound like a simple thing to send out an update with a USB key and simple instructions on properly evaluating a unit for eligibility prior to upgrade, but trust me on this - in that industry, it isn't.

        Instructions? Please don't make excuses for the incompetence of the auto industry. You should NOT need instructions. The vendor has all the data, all the knowledge. There's no variance, and heck even if there was a modular design would work around that too. Just think about that next time you buy a new video card. Do you write down the name and model, and clock frequency, and brand, and then search through a giant database looking for which sub sub sub model of the GTX 7xx series of card you have? No! You go to NVIDIA's website, click download and click install.

        There is no reason why all validation can't be automatic There's no reason why a simple update process isn't available. There's no reason why this couldn't even be done OTA in the presence of a WiFi connection, not even needing USB.

        This is not "hard" and the lack of a solution is more a case of corporate laziness. It's called modular design and standardisation. The car industry could learn a bit by looking up these terms in the dictionary.

        • by sinij (911942)

          >>>Please don't make excuses for the incompetence of the auto industry.

          It isn't incompetence, it is inability to keep up with rapid changes. These things are trivial to /. crowd because we all in IT/CS-related fields. Now imagine if in order to patch your OS you had to rebuild a hydraulic pump in your computing device, because suddenly all of them had to include these.

          • by Archangel Michael (180766) on Wednesday October 23, 2013 @11:59AM (#45213101) Journal

            It isn't incompetence. It is lack of planning and the long held belief that Auto Systems need to be proprietary for the sole purpose of being a differential in the buying equation. How can FORD compete on features of the "Sync" if Toyota and Chevy also have the same "Sync" (they don't using that as example). Chevy offers OnStar, FORD and Toyota don't.

            They don't want to standardize on modular systems because then that takes away from the "distinguishing feature" that they use to sell cars.

            Here's a thought for the car manufacturers, how about you standardize a few of the common items in the car, say by offering a standardized size screen for "in dash" infotainment systems? Or perhaps two or three standard sizes? 4", 7", and 10". Then we can take that 10 year old car you don't support very well, and allow us to put a state of the art new Android or Windows (ewww) (because Apple would never go for something like this), system in with all the new features.

            I'm not the only one that would appreciate this. And it would be a huge consideration the next time I make a buying decision. Right now, I look at all of that as "Obsolete in three years, no thanks" options; actually harming your brand in my eyes.

            • by sinij (911942)
              Are you telling me people actually buy cars for features like OnStar? There is demand for this?

              My guess is that people buy for "remote assistance", or "I wanted backup camera that was part of technology package" reasons.
            • by thegarbz (1787294)

              It isn't incompetence. It is lack of planning and the long held belief that Auto Systems need to be proprietary for the sole purpose of being a differential in the buying equation. How can FORD compete on features of the "Sync" if Toyota and Chevy also have the same "Sync" (they don't using that as example). Chevy offers OnStar, FORD and Toyota don't.

              App vs system. Somehow all the Apps I have on Android 2.3 worked just fine on Android 4.3 despite there being several years and several major version differences between the two systems. There's no reason for value added features to suddenly be standard across models (though I am wondering if you actually know anyone who considers OnStar as a value adding feature that may make them pick one car over another).

              Use the app model. Have a look at the Samsung Galaxy series of phones. All the value added apps are

        • If I remember correctly - isn't Tesla essentially doing what you're suggesting with the Model S? I believe they update OTA, so it can certainly be done.

          • by thegarbz (1787294)

            Yes, but that doesn't help. Tesla has a 10% market share in one country in a field of electric vehicles. What we need is GM or Volkswagen to get on board.

        • by Necroman (61604)

          I think it's important to remember how complicated the full mechanical/electrical system of a car is. Over the life of a model of a car (normally 3 years), there will be hundreds of changes to the manufacturing process. This could mean sourcing different parts, changes to how different components are made, and lots of other junk. Rolling out a firmware update that works across all the different models of that car can be very difficult for them.

          • by thegarbz (1787294)

            Again stop making excuses. Firstly variance does not mean incompatibility. If I change the powersupply in the computer it doesn't mean my video card will suddenly need new drivers. Any variation that requires custom software should be avoided to begin with on the grounds of standardisation = cost savings.

            What the auto industry lacks is modular design. Again I invite you to hazard a guess at how many different NVIDIA Geforce GTX760 1GB models there are on the market. That's very specific but I bet you can st

      • Why not do it the same way as for PC motherboard BIOS upgrades? Have the hardware recognize whether any given update is compatible with it, and refuse the upgrade if not.

        Then, on the download site, users can chose between Toyota Prius Model year 2008-2010, or 2012-2013 for example.

        Simple no?

        Apparently not, because Toyota is not even able to make sure that the owner's manual matches the installed navigator unit...

      • by laffer1 (701823)

        If this is the case, why can ford do it? I can download sync updates and install them with flash myself. I don't need to go to the dealership and my iPhone does work over bluetooth with sync. (iOS 7 iPhone 5)

        Granted, I have a 2014 model year car too.

        • by nabsltd (1313397)

          If this is the case, why can ford do it? I can download sync updates and install them with flash myself. I don't need to go to the dealership and my iPhone does work over bluetooth with sync. (iOS 7 iPhone 5)

          Granted, I have a 2014 model year car too.

          I have a 2011 model and my Android works fine with Sync. I don't play media much using Bluetooth because I plugged in a thumb drive with all my music, but I have tested it and it works great.

          The only part that doesn't work is the display of text messages, and that's not a problem with Sync, but with my phone's version of Bluetooth...all the features on my wife's phone work fine in my car.

        • by tlhIngan (30335)

          If this is the case, why can ford do it? I can download sync updates and install them with flash myself. I don't need to go to the dealership and my iPhone does work over bluetooth with sync. (iOS 7 iPhone 5)

          Because Ford was smart - they designed a common platform and uses it across their entire line. Given Sync was originally a Microsoft collaboration, they probably also designed a lot of future proofing, device detection and other features into it initially so the platform itself can last 10+ years and st

      • by jd2112 (1535857)

        I work at a dealership as a tech, and I've asked essentially the same question of the manufacturer. The party line is that field updates to audio systems are problematic mainly due to the internals changing enough over the life of any given audio unit model, and that while doable, the ROI in coming up with an update that's "field-ready" just doesn't make it worth it. They figure swapping with a "remanufactured" unit (one that they've been able to go through and upgrade/replace any problematic subsystems as well as update to the latest "ideal" software configuration) is preferable and more reliable, in general, than releasing a software update that might require a technician to go through and evaluate as go/no go for a given installed unit.

        It may sound like a simple thing to send out an update with a USB key and simple instructions on properly evaluating a unit for eligibility prior to upgrade, but trust me on this - in that industry, it isn't. It's difficult enough getting most techs just to avoid ruining the USB *PORT* on the diagnostic laptop...

        Ford has updated its infotainment systems by shipping USB drives to customers. Don't tell me that Ford can pull this off and Toyota can't.

    • Re:Simple... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by AK Marc (707885) on Tuesday October 22, 2013 @10:55PM (#45208745)
      That doesn't include the hardware. The CPU needs to be a screen-less tablet in the center console or dash that's locked, but easily removable by non-thieves. Swap out the $50 tablet core for hardware upgrades.

      The problem is that makers have deliberately built cars to be complex and expensive. Changing radios from the '60 and '70s was easy. At most you needed a faceplate and a small wiring adapter. Now, you can't. The radio is connected to the A/C (for no good reason). If you could replace the $10,000 upgraded stereo with a $100 commodity version that's better, they'll not sell the high-profit accessories and such.
      • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

        Friend of mine has a Nissan Skyline (R34 IIRC). It has a single DIN slot for a radio, and then a second double DIN slot for the device of your choice. Seems like an ideal solution.

    • even better, mandate a standard size and power interface so anybody can produce an infotainment system to put in the space like they have been doing with car radio/cassettes for decades... you'll note that the aftermarket caters for car radio/cd players that are a simple drop in replacement...
      • even better, mandate a standard size and power interface so anybody can produce an infotainment system to put in the space like they have been doing with car radio/cassettes for decades... you'll note that the aftermarket caters for car radio/cd players that are a simple drop in replacement...

        You would think, considering how much trouble the auto manufacturers seem to have with figuring out a decent head unit and operating system, that they'd jump at the chance to pawn responsibility off onto the aftermarket.

    • Re:Simple... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by dywolf (2673597) on Wednesday October 23, 2013 @08:17AM (#45211043)

      I dont see why they make "infotainment" systems at all.

      Just make it a dumb terminal, IE, screen and speakers, that you just plug your phone into, and your phone does all the actual processing and work, etc. Sensors can report over the connection to the app on the phone, but also keep one basic builtin display function that can report all the sensor information (for those that care about that nonsense) incase no phone is present.

      Use an open standard for communication and data flow, so anyone can right their own app if they so wish.
      And if someone writes some really super cool app that's even better than the official one....buy it and make it the new official one.

      OR....

      Alternatively, instead of everyone making their own proprietary UIs and car softwares....just install bloody android. and (again) keep the communication and sensor flow stuff open and standardized so anyone can right an app that can display it.

      And this is hard?

  • The all new 2014 model SE, state of the art, uses all new technology! Sporting an impressive RHEL5 operating system, you just have to drive it.
    • How much of it is under my control and how much of it is under its maker's?

      That's the first question you'd have to answer before I even ponder thinking about remotely considering getting maybe a little bit excited.

  • Obvious solution (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Mr. Freeman (933986)
    How about simply not making it easier for people to take their eyes off the road while they're supposed to be driving? The last thing we need to add to vehicles is the ability to use apps while driving.
    • by timeOday (582209)
      You've got it backwards. If your phone doesn't link to your car, you might be tempted to take your eyes off the road to look at the phone as a map or to send a voicemail or skip to the next song. But if it links to the car, you can get turn-by-turn directions from your phone or use it to send a voicemail, etc, all eyes-free and hands-free.
  • Car manufacturers charge an ungodly amount of money for their integrated audio-and-GPS systems. People have been trying to listen to their own music for ages. I had tape adapters for my portable CD player so I could listen to better-quality music in the car since the early 90s, but line-in inputs only became standard equipment in about the last five years.

    Ten years from now, I expect this will be a solved problem, but right now it's like personal computers ca. 1980 - everyone has a different solution, each
    • Re:It's the money. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by whoever57 (658626) on Tuesday October 22, 2013 @10:37PM (#45208659) Journal

      Ten years from now, I expect this will be a solved problem, but right now it's like personal computers ca. 1980 - everyone has a different solution, each has its own merits and faults, and we're just going to have to wait until standardization occurs.

      Unless customers express a strong preference for standards, nothing is going to change. The manufacturers believe that they can make a lot of money from updates and upgrades during the life of the vehicle (just look at how much updated maps for integrated GPS systems cost) and they are not going to give up that income without a strong signal from car buyers.

      Car manufacturers love this income stream because it doesn't affect the price of a new car -- it may be the second owner who has to pay it.

      • by sd4f (1891894)
        While what you say is true, the reality is features such as GPS or any other feature they could clamp down on for an income stream are also the easiest features to implement unofficially. It's like the smart tv, adding that 'smart' functionality is the easiest thing to do compared to things such as full hd or 3D, where you can add either dedicated hardware (media centre box) or having more powerful hardware (htpc or latop). In the case of vehicles, they are competing against phones and dedicated gps or audi
      • I hope they have some signal with these GPS maps. I know a lot of people that buy a tomtom or use their smartphone because their integrated GPS maps are so outdated that it is not anymore useable and the cost of having another gadget on their windshield trump the cost of the integrated GPS update...

    • I wouldn't get my hopes up for that "standardization". If anything, it will ensure that you can't do jack yourself and HAVE TO buy some kind of overpriced solution because ... umm... safety. Yeah, we'll go with that reason. Safety is always a good enough reason when it comes to getting you to spend ten times of what's necessary on your car.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I'm a tech at a Chrysler dealership, and those uConnect systems are infuriating. We have nothing but problems with any Apple device (Except the older iPods that are physically connected via USB), and while Android devices are more compatible, there are often some features that just refuse to operate. Patching the software is generally easy, usually via USB stick with a bootloader and updated software, but it's perplexing as to why we can't update them with our factory scan tool like we do with all the oth

    • Comment...I would much rather buy a Toyota when it had Linux in it and was incompatible with Apple. I think instead if inking a deal with Microsoft which provides the "entertainment" system, they would have been much better off it they stayed with Linux. Now I think getting a car might just have to wait until they do something about this....I can already see update problems and freezing and the like, not to mention incompatibility with anything but a Windows phone. Ford does it too and were one of the earl
  • I hate these things. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by atari2600a (1892574) on Tuesday October 22, 2013 @10:36PM (#45208651)
    My girlfriend has a new Prius C. She tried to convince her father not to get the one w/ the in-dash computer but they got it anyways, & here's just a little sample of what you get: You can't seek FM channels backwards. That's right. You passed your channel by accident? You better have bookmarked it because you're gonna have to do it all over again. You can't play FLAC files if you use your phone as a USB mass storage device so get ready to haul around an auxilliary audio cable. Bluetooth playback works but there's no real means to browse on the computer-- you'll have to do song selection on your phone & better hope you don't have to rewind. Oh yeah, you can't rewind. The maps application is supposedly able to pull Google Maps maps/traffic/fuel price data through your phone but who knows how long it'll be API compatible. You're also stuck w/ bluetooth bandwidth as (I've tested) internet tethering over USB doesn't work. I say tear it out & drop in an Android 4.x anything (tablet, phablet, proper in-dash computer, even a glorified phone mount), but, you know, resale value & all.
  • by xtal (49134) on Tuesday October 22, 2013 @10:41PM (#45208683) Homepage

    I keep cars 15 years. Modern cars are very good.

    You're a sucker if you're perpetually buying new cars. Maintain them properly and save some money.

    There was a standard solution for decades, and the stupid manufacturers integrate everything.

    It's almost new car time .. 3D printing a replacement dash and integrating a AppRadio or other alternative may be the only possibility in a lot of cases.

    The real pain comes when they integrate things you need, like maintenance calculators and schedules.. car makers shouldn't get involved with consumer electronics.

    My wife drives a 1998 Subaru Forester to school every day. Do you still use .. or even own.. any electronics from 1998?

    • by couchslug (175151)

      "The real pain comes when they integrate things you need, like maintenance calculators and schedules"

      Who needs those? One sheet of (gasp) paper in the glove box is enough for many years of maintenance.

    • Do you still use .. or even own.. any electronics from 1998

      almost all my electronic test gear is earlier than that date.

      my oldest is from the 50's (a high end power supply that still beats the pants off of the modern designs). its older than me, in better shape than me (lol) and may well outlive me, truth be told.

      but then, things from that long ago were built to last. built to be repaired and maintained. the throw-away (aka 'landfill') generation wasn't even born yet, nor where their parents.

    • by Alioth (221270)

      Yes. I have a 100MHz Tektronix digital storage oscilloscope which is probably from around the mid 1990s, a Phillips function generator with a label proudly marking its last calibration date as being somewhere in 1981, and a Thurlby Thandar logic analyzer that's probably from the late 90s. Clearly these things are lab equipment and not consumery...so... ...my hi-fi I bought new in about 1996 or so. I've seen no reason to change it. The amplifier still amplifies perfectly well and the CD player still works fi

    • by thegarbz (1787294)

      Fittingly enough to the discussion my main sound system at home is pre-1998. Still going strong. Still sounds as good as the day it was bought. Just because your latest iThing is disposable doesn't mean all electronics are.

      Then there's re-purposed electronics. I have a few old AT powersupplies around the place giving 12V or 5V to various projects, one of which came from my old 286 so I'm going to hazard a guess at 1990 or so.

    • You're a sucker if you're perpetually buying new cars. Maintain them properly and save some money.

      You try finding a manual car which doesn't have its clutch burned out or which has been well maintained. They are virtually impossible to find.

      Like you, I keep my cars a minimum of a decade. My last one was just shy of 13 years. I intend to keep my current car just as long if not longer.

      As a side note, my dad has a car which is 25 years old (Honda Accord) and it runs perfectly and looks almost
      • You try finding a manual car which doesn't have its clutch burned out or which has been well maintained. They are virtually impossible to find.

        Those things can be fixed.

        I once bought a used truck with a bad clutch and synchro problems. $1500 at AAMCO to make it like new and I subsequently drove it for a decade. Sold for what I paid for it once we had our first kid.

    • Maintain them properly and save some money.

      Exactly right.

      What drives me bananas is when friends (well, friends of friends really) say "My car needs $1500 worth of repairs! I can't afford that, so I'm just going to get rid of it and buy a 2013."

      WFT?

      You can't afford $1500, but you can afford $4800 / year in new car payments?

      • by tlhIngan (30335)

        What drives me bananas is when friends (well, friends of friends really) say "My car needs $1500 worth of repairs! I can't afford that, so I'm just going to get rid of it and buy a 2013."

        WFT?

        You can't afford $1500, but you can afford $4800 / year in new car payments?

        It's called "remaining value".

        If the car needs $1500 worth of repairs, especially older models, a lot of people start questioning whether or not it's actually worth it.

        Would you spend $1500 to fix a vehicle that's only worth $4000? Especially si

        • by Richy_T (111409)

          You're right about when things just start going wrong one after the other. But the remaining value of the vehicle is not really the issue. It's the ongoing cost. The cost of a new vehicle must be amortized over the lifetime. People aren't good at that (as long as they think they can make the loan payment) and just want the new shiny.

        • by xtal (49134)

          You're doing it wrong.

          You fix things before they break to interrupt the cycle of cascading failures - work shocks contributing to added suspension damage, replace batteries before they eat alternators, making sure sensor issues that cause check engine lights are repaired, etc. Many of the items you cite (power lock failures, interior issues) can be dealt with by, well, buying a brand that doesn't have those issues.

          It is almost always cheaper to fix the car if you factor in all of the variables. A $1500 repa

    • by sinij (911942)
      Thankfully you still can get 'only-car' from Subaru if you buy basic trim. I am not sure how long this will still be the case, so you might want to accelerate your purchase and double-down on maintenance. Your next one will probably have to last you into retirement.
  • by mlts (1038732) * on Tuesday October 22, 2013 @10:47PM (#45208707)

    The way car audio is, not even the dopeheads will try to rip out radios anymore. In a way, this is a lot like the market for phones circa 2006, where there was little improvement other than perhaps a slightly thinner RAZR variant or perhaps a new feature here and there.

    A company like Apple, Microsoft or Google could easily announce a product and sweep all the competition aside. If they made a 1 DIN audio head that could handle BT audio (and I mean handle it, not "support" it half-assed), have a good navigation system, and perhaps a 3G/4G antenna built in to autodownload maps via a Whispernet-like network, run some apps, and provide the usual amenities (XM radio, local FM radio, local AM radio, a CD player, USB connection, maybe even a Wi-Fi network using the above mentioned 3G/4G antenna with a subscription.

    An audio head made by one of the above companies would utterly change the car audio industry, just like iPhones and Android devices swept out the dumbphones as mainstream devices in just a couple years. In the past one bought an Alpine for the name. Now, most OEM car audio systems are decent enough for most people. So, with the "good enough" reached, there isn't much innovation in this market segment.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      While I agree that it is ripe for the changing, I disagree on how easy it would be.

      Owning a car with such a wonder radio (that seems to fall short), and attempting to go down this yellow brick road, I discovered a few things. Basically all the integration of the console with the car functions are non-standard enough to ensure that if I ever ripped out my unit, I would effectively be replacing it with another unit that might do audio much better, but would lack the integration with my steering wheel buttons

    • by gl4ss (559668)

      why do you think it would change anything?

      because it is not even about good enough. it is about you not going to rip out the integrated solution because it is truly integrated. now a tablet-holder that plugs into audio in(which is usually available nowadays..). that just replaces all that stuf.. that might work.

      so that tech company would have to have deals in place with every large car manufacturer...... for exclusive replacement of their projected money maker(yes, car manufacturers are projecting that app

    • by Telvin_3d (855514)

      I doubt there is enough market here to be bothered with. For example, Apple has sold about 15 million appleTVs so far. That number is so small that they publicly label it a 'hobby' and actively discourage any real attention on their earnings reports. How big is the after-market car audio market? Has any single unit ever sold 15 million total? A quick Google puts the total value of the car audio industry around 2 billion. Apple's revenue last year was 156 billion. They could capture the entire market and onl

    • by chihowa (366380)

      Practically, the screen on a 1 DIN unit would be too tiny for navigation and not likely optimized for viewing position and angle. That's one of the reasons that these systems moved to 2 DIN units (which still aren't big enough) and ultimately ditched DIN altogether. Those motorized screens that come out of the 1 DIN units are crap, btw (they break, cover important stuff like climate control and still aren't in the right place to be easily interacted with. Touch interfaces on them are especially horrible bec

  • Is that a problem with the iPhone or is it the US Carriers being greedy?

    • by pla (258480) on Tuesday October 22, 2013 @11:34PM (#45208957) Journal
      Is that a problem with the iPhone or is it the US Carriers being greedy?

      Yes to both, but more to the point, the problem comes from auto manufacturers not getting the same damned clue the rest of the world figured out 30 years ago - Use cheap commodity parts instead of rolling your own everything, and at least try to hide the fact that you can spy on your customers' every move.

      I have a fairly new car, for example. It came with the manufacturer's in-house version of OnStar, which I adamantly refused to let them activate (you should have seen the look of horror on three different levels of the sales food-chain at my refusal - The manufacturer has clearly pushed them hard to get 100% compliance). Except, it just doesn't work that way - The dealership's own techs literally can't clear codes (including the easy ones like "oil change due") on the goddamned thing without processing the order through the manufacturer's website and having it download the change to my car via the built-in cell-enabled TMU module.

      So, as a result, it nags me to register it every fucking time I start the car. On the bright side, A friend scored me a copy of the technician manuals for my model, so I had no trouble disabling the cell and GPS features of the TMU (hint: You can't, but you can leave them effectively trapped inside a faraday cage with no way to talk to the outside world). On the down side, the dealer will have no choice (practically, not just contractually) but to reconnect it every time I need even the most minor work done on my car.


      "What, you don't want built-in emergency assistance?"
      "I have a cell phone"
      "The car knows your location and can dispatch EMS right to you"
      "So does my phone"
      "But your phone won't know if you rolled over and died in a ditch!"
      "I won't really care, then, will I?"
      • Care to inform us what car so that others may learn from your mistake and avoid that brand?

        • by pla (258480)

          Care to inform us what car so that others may learn from your mistake and avoid that brand?

          Oh, thought I had mentioned that - Hyundai. And as far as I could tell, all their current models come with this garbage. But really, the brand doesn't matter... The problem here involves them all pulling similar crap.

          I seriously wonder how the aftermarket car radio market even exists anymore today, when the "radio" has become the primary interface to the car's computer.

  • QNX Car 2.0 (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ArhcAngel (247594) on Tuesday October 22, 2013 @10:55PM (#45208749)
    I really like where QNX [qnx.com] is heading. [youtu.be]
  • Since autos last decades but computers are junk in a few years, do as with audio components and have a standard form-factor to facilitate swaps.

    Not likely given automaker desire for vendor lock.

  • Forget it (Score:4, Interesting)

    by brillow (917507) on Tuesday October 22, 2013 @10:58PM (#45208777)

    All they need is a phone/tablet dock. Paying extra for an infotainment system is dumb. All I need is power and audio connections for my phone/tablet. All the car need provide is speakers and microphone and maybe some steering wheel buttons which can control some phone functions.

    • Automakers have a heavy mark up on these infotainment systems. And they salivate at the thought of recording and keeping all the info people are searching for. Situation not unlike car makers using proprietary connections to sell their radios and cassette decks at heavy mark up by avoiding price competition with thirdparty products. Eventually they all settled on SAE standard connectors.

      Same way, we need to get SAE or some such body, at least nominally independent from the car makers, to specify the inter

  • Forget about adding complex UI software to a car, give me MirrorLink and some standard car APIs over that link, or ssomethin. You car manufacturers don't know about user and internet facing better

  • Is this referring to asshole carriers that charge extra to not disable the "feature" of network routing software in a device that you own?

    That's like your ISP charging you extra to use a router. Rent-seeking horseshit.

    • by Agripa (139780)

      ISPs used to do this. Part of their contract was not to use the service with more one computer.

  • by Joe_Dragon (2206452) on Wednesday October 23, 2013 @12:34AM (#45209209)

    what will happen with auto drive cars last 1-2 years before they stop getting updates and soon after that can't drive on some roads / areas? End up in crash due to a software bug that is fixed in new cars out at the time?

  • you upgrade your phone every 1-2 years, you upgrade your car 4-5 years if you dont value your money

    so yea, look into the future ball and see what android 6, or iOSX is going to have that faddy week they come out and future proof it for another 3 years past that

  • And there's no subscription fees for using the apps. Pioneer makes some real nice decks that cost about the same as upgrading the OEM deck to the app enabled model.

  • Wow, Toyota is going to "allow" bluetooth pairing in next year's models? Welcome to 2005 Toyota! This is 2013, right?

    I've had no pairing issues in my 2013 Audi with the MMI system. It works flawlessly with my Lumia over bluetooth. It even detects changes in contacts on my phone re-syncs it with the MMI system whenever the car is started. Using MMI I can also access placed and missed calls, my voice mailbox, etc. Call transfers and multi-party calls also work.

    What's this "fee" for using your phone as a hotsp

    • by cbope (130292)

      Seeing all the comments on "infotainment" systems, I'd like to add that MMI is much more than that. Many of the car's systems are controlled/customized through MMI, including steering and throttle response, suspension settings, interior and exterior lighting systems, service intervals, GPS navigation, etc.

    • "Pairing" does work (on my newly purchased Toyota Prius), but does have some small quirks (such as the A2DP audio issue described in another post, or lack of access to text messages).
  • And yet the 1V PP audio line input on my wife's MINI follows the same interface spec as my father's valve amplifier input he made from a magazine article in the 1950's.

    Sometimes, simpler is just better. Period.

  • Bundling apps which would become rapidly bitrotten is a really stupid idea. Car manufacturers should be producing bluetooth profiles and protocols which allow apps from any smart phone OS to contribute interactive information to the car display. e.g. a fuel price app could transmit some graphics (e.g. a map), audio and some buttons to the car system so the user could interact with it even though the app is running on the phone.
  • Another annoying little thing: Once you've paired a phone with the car (because you want to use the hands-free (HFP) features), then the music (from CD, radio or USB stick) goes quiet a minute or so after getting into the car, because it automatically switches to the phone's A2DP output, "just in case".

    A2DP should be selected only if explicitly selected by the user!

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