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Driver Study: People Want Fewer Embedded Apps, Just Essentials That Work Easily 148

Posted by Soulskill
from the good-news-for-apple dept.
Lucas123 writes 'A study released at the Telematics Detroit 2014 conference revealed the obvious: Most people don't want more distracting embedded apps in their cars; they just want essential apps like navigation and music to be intuitive to use and reliable. Part of the study involved a focus group of 46 people who were asked to evaluate infotainment systems from three luxury car makers and four "mass consumer" car makers. The drivers were asked to do three things: Navigate home, find a pizza shop and find a radio station. Only 40% were able to complete all three tasks. Not surprisingly, the highest rated infotainment system was Tesla because its icons were "large" and it was easy to figure out.'
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Driver Study: People Want Fewer Embedded Apps, Just Essentials That Work Easily

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 06, 2014 @04:14PM (#47182545)

    For any in car control - I need to be able to use it without looking at it.

    Too many things fail at this.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by i kan reed (749298)

      In theory, sure. In practice, we're not all perfect super drivers who pay proper attention to the road at all times, and very short glances at a control panel in realtively safe moments isn't an extraordinary risk.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 06, 2014 @05:07PM (#47183029)

        >and very short glances at a control panel in realtively safe moments isn't an extraordinary risk.

        Maybe not for you, but idiots that will not be able to do so safely won't understand that fact, because they're idiots. Adding distractions in cars puts us all at risk.

        • but idiots that will not be able to do so safely won't understand that fact, because they're idiots

          There is a substantial body of evidence that passengers are a bigger distraction than electronics. In particular, various studies reported children, teenagers, adults and old people as being sources of distraction.

          Clearly we need to ban people from cars

          its completely obvious once you think of it!

        • by mjwx (966435)

          >and very short glances at a control panel in realtively safe moments isn't an extraordinary risk.

          Maybe not for you, but idiots that will not be able to do so safely won't understand that fact, because they're idiots. Adding distractions in cars puts us all at risk.

          This.

          Idiots are too busy fiddling with something or another in a car, then look up and realise they've shoved themselves right up the trumpet of the person in front of them. Then they slam on the brakes causing a huge traffic wave behind them.

          Controls should be intuitive and in a car, easy to use when not looking at them. I expect to be able to adjust the volume or change songs on my car's stereo without looking at them because I expect to be doing this at 110 KPH and at 110 KPH, I need to be focusing

      • by chihowa (366380) *

        Looking at the console to find the appropriate knob or button is completely different from having to tap through seven different screens of icons to perform a simple task. The goal should be to make regular tasks easy to perform in a normal context. When the context is driving, the design should encourage the driver to keep looking at the road.

        In theory, sure. In practice, we're not all perfect super drivers who pay proper attention to the road at all times, and very short glances at a control panel in realtively safe moments isn't an extraordinary risk.

        From my time on the road, it seems that you're making some serious assumptions about the risks taken by many drivers out there.

        • I'm not saying that everyone does that, just that it doesn't represent the biggest source of distraction based risk.

        • by peragrin (659227)

          So what your saying is the the GUI designers for the systems need to work instead of just slapping some labels on touch buttons in random order.

          The touch control systems fail in not being easy to use. Also Most people look at the dials when adjusting them. Just to make certain they stopped at the correct location.

          So looking away for a second or two isn't a big deal. navigating a menu for 6 layers deep to do something simple is. I can't wait for apple to show car companies how to do touch screen interfa

          • by Lumpy (12016) on Friday June 06, 2014 @05:31PM (#47183257) Homepage

            I already have Android in my dashboard. a simple double din CHINA car stereo running Android 4.2 is 80X better than any of the crap that FORD or GM has ever came up with.

            WAYZE is the best navigation app in the world for User interface, I can even report a cop location with very little attention taken from the road.

            I installed one of the older "CAR MODE" launchers and it's even better. I can customize it to hell and back in my driveway and then enjoy ease of use and even voice control to the point that I can say ,"ok google, text my boss that I will be late due to traffic"

            BOOM! the text message is off and I did not have to do anything but hold down the home button.

            Whatever GM,FORD,Toyota,Honda,BMW,Mercedes, or whoever car company tries to come up with will be a complete worthles turd compared to a dirt cheap $500 Ebay china stereo with regular old android on it.

            • Google Now Launcher is almost perfect. Putting into a "car dock" mode would be even better, where it is always on. Allowing me to change the default "wakeup" from Okay Google to Okay KITT would be over the top cool for me.

            • by mythosaz (572040)

              Can you recommend your device? Hard to find informative reviews that aren't shills. ...already have the FreedomPop hotspot waiting to serve this sucker.

      • In theory, sure. In practice, we're not all perfect super drivers who pay proper attention to the road at all times, and very short glances at a control panel in realtively safe moments isn't an extraordinary risk.

        No, but after owning a car for a while it should be possible to change the radio station or temperature without looking at the display. This is pretty damn hard to do with touch screens. Physical dials an buttons simply make more sense for most controls like this in a car.

      • by jhecht (143058)
        Short glances are one thing, but the new displays require focusing and reading, which takes more time. An old-fashioned dial-meter takes only a glance to roughly estimate speed, fuel, and engine temperature. A large two-digit speed display works because it takes only an instant to read. But that was the only legible display on the 2014 Prius C I test-drove. The second digital display on the top displayed small characters that were hard to focus on, and switched through a series of four displays to boot. If
        • A decade or so ago insurance companies put real time video cameras in people's cars. They saw that the average time spent not looking out the windshield before having an accident was 2 seconds.
      • very short glances at a control panel in realtively safe moments isn't an extraordinary risk.

        And collision avoidance systems in modern cars (standard for some amnufacturer, about to be mandatory in a couple of years in EU) are definitely a help to make the "short glances away of the road".

        Of course, such systems ARE NOT an excuse to do a lousy jobs and construct very distracting and attention grabbing interfaces.
        BUT it's always reassuring to know that electronics can help making your travel a bit safe.

    • by rsborg (111459)

      For any in car control - I need to be able to use it without looking at it.

      Too many things fail at this.

      This is the single reason that I think Google (and later Apple) have developed always-listening voice interfaces "Hey Google/Siri" with no button clicks is about as look and even touch free as you can get. Of course, if voice control were more mature yet, it'd probably be the preferred interface over fingers (see: Star Trek).

      • by beefoot (2250164)
        For people like myself with accent:


        me: ok google, please lower the temperature
        google: yes sir, your car is shifted down to 2nd gear
        me: no don't do that. I'm driving at 140kmph
        google: yes sir, sit tight. the car will accelerate to 140mph
        me: not mile per hour
        google: sorry sir i don't understand
        me: I gave up. stop listening to me
        google: yes sir, I will stop the car now. Please ensure the seat belt is on. You're travelling at 140mph.
        me: (me on the way to heaven) thank you google
        • I speak the Queen's standard English, and the result is very similar. I assume some specific American accent is required - but I perhaps it might need to be Korean.
          • by boris111 (837756)

            I speak standard non-regional American dialect and still same results. I'm Ron Burgundy?

    • by Lumpy (12016)

      BMW had that. They even had a navigation system that only talked to you and nobody liked it. Every single person wanted a moving map display.

      • by nukenerd (172703)

        BMW had that. They even had a navigation system that only talked to you and nobody liked it. Every single person wanted a moving map display.

        I was obviously misssed in that survey as I don't drive a BMW.

        However, I was an early adopter of satnavs and from the first I have gone by the voice and never looked at them (they are face down on a shelf), except when programming before a journey. I regard a satnav as the equivalent of ny 12 yo son giving directions while he reads the map. Then when other people started using satnavs I was horrified to see them being positioned to be read while driving. I thought it must be illegal or would surely so

    • by PRMan (959735)

      Yeah and if I HAVE to look at it, a touch screen (like the one in my old car) takes a single finger point, where that blasted knob clicker thing (in my new car) takes my attention away from the road for a long time trying to figure out how to click the thing I already looked at and know I want.

      Who's the idiot that thought that would be easier?

    • There are hundreds of warnings waiting to seize your attention and distract you, one for each nifty wow item that you might crash if it became disabled while driving.

  • What I want (Score:5, Funny)

    by clinko (232501) on Friday June 06, 2014 @04:17PM (#47182577) Homepage Journal

    "The car stereo I wanted 10 years ago"
    "The car stereo I want today":

    http://i.imgur.com/NGcUN.jpg [imgur.com]

    • Why would a Bluetooth audio system need a jack? :-)
      • Why would a Bluetooth audio system need a jack?

        Because the Bluetooth stack is a piece of shit - you have evidently not tried using one of these!

        • It doesn't have to be specifically Bluetooth, I was actually aiming more at the idea that perhaps that panel could use one fewer connector.
    • by mwvdlee (775178)

      This.

      All I'm reading in TFA is "I want something that is exactly my mobile phone".
      Just offer in-dash "car kits" where you just clip the phone in a 2-DIN. (these already exist).
      Fancier cars could offer similar for tablets.

      Nobody needs a $4000 in-car navigation when their $400 phone already does the same thing better.
      Heck, they might even just leave a phone/tablet in permanently and it'd still be cheaper.
      "Cheaper" is probably why this isn't a standard option in cars; $4000 for $400 worth of technology is so m

      • by mwvdlee (775178)

        Or just one of these $400-$500 puppies: http://www.dx.com/s/android+di... [dx.com]

      • by ttsai (135075)

        Nobody needs a $4000 in-car navigation when their $400 phone already does the same thing better.

        I actually prefer the built-in system. For example, I have a limited data plan because my non-wifi data needs are low, so using an online map like Google Maps or Waze costs extra on a recurring basis. With a phone, I would have to go through the motions of removing it from my pocket, attaching it to the bracket, and plugging it in, as well as the reverse motions when leaving the car. I would also need a special bracket to hold the phone, and even with this bracket, the screen would shake more than an int

      • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

        Mirror Link. Mirrors your phone screen on the dashboard with touch control. Uses the car's GPS antenna. No messing about with clips, plug in one cable and stick the phone out of the way. Phone can switch to driving mode automatically. Let's you listen to the radio too. Widely available in aftermarket head units and in some manufacturer standard ones (Toyota, Subaru).

    • by gman003 (1693318)

      You forgot the USB port for keeping your phone charged.

    • by vux984 (928602)

      Close

      1) it should be a USB port not an AUX port. (If I'm using a flash drive it should just plug in. If I'm using a phone / ipod / whatever I want it to charge up)

      2) It should have physical play / pause / skip / and volume controls.

      Several years ago I installed one of these:
      http://www.dfwcamper.com/drupa... [dfwcamper.com]

      Play/pause, skip are simple. The volume 'knob' is brilliant.

      The display is gorgeous, (album art, track, album, song, etc). These days I just have an old 30GB ipod classic in the glovebox attached to it; t

    • "The car stereo I wanted 10 years ago"
      "The car stereo I want today":

      http://i.imgur.com/NGcUN.jpg [imgur.com]

      The one at the bottom is the one I wanted 10 years ago, and remains the one I want today. Why is that so hard!?!

  • more time in the shop....profit!
  • The less time we spend touching the screen, the better one can keep their eyes on the road and avoid becoming absorbed with the gadget. That means sensitive touch controls with very little lag, quick look-up times, and voice inputs. Google/Bing integration would keep data entry to a minimum too; if I've already have a place marked on the maps, I wouldn't have to enter it into the system all over again.

    Of course I have no time to watch movies on my screen or visually sort through ads to get what I need.

    • by Gaygirlie (1657131) <gaygirlie@hot m a i l.com> on Friday June 06, 2014 @04:40PM (#47182799) Homepage

      That means sensitive touch controls with very little lag

      No. That means no touch controls. Touch controls force you to look at where you're placing your fingers and what's happening. Actual physical knobs and buttons can be used even without looking.

      • by afidel (530433)

        And ideally those controls are on the steering wheel so you don't even have to take your hands off the wheel to perform an action.

      • That means sensitive touch controls with very little lag

        No. That means no touch controls. Touch controls force you to look at where you're placing your fingers and what's happening. Actual physical knobs and buttons can be used even without looking.

        As can your voice. My car, which is a low-end compact, still has a microphone in the steering wheel and can connect via bluetooth with my portable device. As a result, I can give it commands, and the car stereo system uses voice responses to those commands. I don't need knobs or screens; I just need to give commands and have them be understood. Right now, that last bit is lacking a bit (me: "find pizza hut near me" device: "Playing song named 'be the heart near me,' or even better, 'calling contact Zahu

      • by PRMan (959735)

        No. They can't. They just require me to jump through hoops to click the thing I already knew I wanted 10 seconds ago.

        Having had both, I can assure you I am 10x more distracted now with the stupid knob.

  • GPS indash included in the stereo, and bluetooth so it interfaces with a cellphone
  • I WANT BUTTONS (Score:4, Insightful)

    by maliqua (1316471) on Friday June 06, 2014 @04:37PM (#47182757)

    Things that i can feel i'm working and not touchscreens!

    BUTTONS KNOBS AND TACTILE FEEDBACK!

    • What I've thought would be cool would be a touchscreen that could simulate tactile feedback (maybe through small electric charges, or vibrations). Because for fucks sake, futzing around with a device which uses virtually half of the surface area as input is not conducive to driving in a jittery, bouncing car. (IE mobile phone)

      This thread has made me want to dig out my old Minidisk player to use in my car's aux jack vs my touchscreen MP3 player. :( (navigating directories/tracks was so much simpler, could b

      • by maliqua (1316471)

        NO! no clever touch screens Buttons!!!

        buuuuuuuuttttttttttttttttooooooooooooonnnnnnnnnssssss!

      • by Chelloveck (14643)

        No, a touchscreen with tactile feedback wouldn't be very useful in this application. Ideally you want to operate the controls without taking your eyes off the road. To do that you need controls which don't move around or change function. The volume control, for instance, should always be available and should never change its position on the dashboard. It should never be dual-purposed; ie., a volume control in radio mode but a scroll control for selecting an MP3 from a directory. A dynamic tactile touchsc

    • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

      Tesla have the right balance. As well as the touchscreen there is a second screen behind the wheel with wheel mounted controls. What is displayed on this screen can be customised. You could set it to control audio and navigation, for example. Physical buttons for the things you want, no clutter.

  • The drivers were asked to do three things: Navigate home, find a pizza shop and find a radio station.

    I can do all these things *now* w/o any fancy crap. The radio in my Civic is dead simple to use, and I know where I live and how I got where ever I am now because I drove there. I also know where my local pizza shops are and don't generally go about look for random ones.

    I guess Nav systems may be great for traveling and when one is *really* new in town, but other than that, I'm not convinced.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      If you drive in England, you use satnav literally all the time. If you need to get from one road to the next, through a small town, there is often only one correct route that can join you there without having to backtrack. It's similar within Central London. There is quite often only one choice (circuitous, too) of routing between two points. You wouldn't generally figure it out from intuition if it wasn't your neighborhood.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Em Adespoton (792954)

      My experience is that people either use the nav system in their head, or they use the one in their car. They have problems doing both at the same time. This means that if you depend on a nav system, you'll always be really new in town, as you'll never learn to associate the instructions with what your eyes actually see out the window.

    • by Belial6 (794905)
      You must either explore your region extensively, or not at all. We regularly drive in ~75 mile radius of our home. To know where everything is would require either that to be a full time activity, or never happen.
    • by suutar (1860506)

      I use my nav system mostly to see which of three or four routes that I know is least bogged by traffic.

    • by Ksevio (865461)
      So basically you're saying you didn't understand the basic premise or the article.

      I can easily navigate home and find a pizza shop normally too, but when I want a navigation system to get home I'm often somewhere where I DON'T know the best route. I might be able to drive back, but if it's a multi-leg trip or through areas without 2-way streets then it doesn't help. Nav systems for normal driving are most useful for when they can route around traffic, since they know more than I can in that situation.
    • You seem to be assuming that everyone has the same experience you do, and especially the spatial intelligence that you have. It is a lot simpler to exclude every other person on the planet from your considerations, but it just makes you look like a douchebag.

      • You seem to be assuming that everyone has the same experience you do, and especially the spatial intelligence that you have.

        They have these papery things called "maps" and people have this thing called "memory".

        It is a lot simpler to exclude every other person on the planet from your considerations, but it just makes you look like a douchebag.

        Or devices like this are the gateway to Idiocracy [wikipedia.org].

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 06, 2014 @04:48PM (#47182869)

    I test drove a Cadillac recently and GM's touch screen looks like it was built by people with zero UI experience. Of course, it's just about as bad as every other modern app. Nobody understands flow anymore. And it's not an American thing either. The same problems plagued touch interfaces on imports as well. Oddly, BMW's is much better than it used to be.

    This garbage is so sluggish, too. Adjusting climate controls used to be a matter of turning on a knob. Now, I have to tap on a vague piece of plastic. Nothing happens, so I tap again. Then again. Finally, the fans kick on FULL BLAST... And apparently there are only three speed settings. And seriously, adjusting volume by sliding your finger across a screen? Jesus Christ, whomever thought that shit was a good idea is a fucking MORON... Why have umpteen volume levels if all you can do is wildly skate between 0 and MAXIMUM with barely any control.

    I don't care if I sound like the old man on the porch, shaking his fist. These UIs are completely retarded.

    • by macdude22 (846648)
      I love gadgets, my satchel is filled with phones, tablets, games, radios. I love gadgets. The modern propensity toward touch interfaces in vehicles is frightening. We have a 2013 Dodge Journey and I swear to you adjusting the climate controls on that thing is a road hazard. And you are spot on about it being sluggish, the resistive screen is like using an old VTech kids laptop or something. My 2007 focus, 3 knobs, you could figure that thing out blindfolded (I don't advocate driving blind). These in car sys
    • by hax4bux (209237)

      You sounded old at "cadillac"

    • by hey! (33014)

      This is not some new-fangled "gee I don't know how to design a 'computerized' user interface" thing. Poorly thought out and over-elaborate controls are embedded deep within GM design culture, and have been for at least fifty years if not longer.

      As proof I present the heat controls [ebay.com] which I remember totally ruining my Mom's otherwise awesome '68 Skylark Sport Coupe for her.

      To call for heat or air conditioning, you frob the thumb wheel until you think the bar graph is indicating the temperature you might want

  • by cyberspittle (519754) on Friday June 06, 2014 @04:58PM (#47182937) Homepage
    I need Microsoft Office embedded app so I can work on business-critical documents.
  • by Toshito (452851) on Friday June 06, 2014 @05:04PM (#47182997)

    Like the new Lincoln MKZ with TOUCH controls for volume and temperature, on a smooth surface, without any tactile reference. Bravo!

    I even hate the push buttons and rotary controls for the heater, it used to be that you could control everything with 2 slides, one for temp and one to choose where to send the air.

    It was very easy to know, only by touch, where the slides are. With a rotary button, you have to look at it to see where it is pointing. And the push buttons are also much less convenient, if I have to put the control on front defrost quickly (because the windshield is suddenly fogging) with the old controls I only had to slide it all the way to the right.

    Now I have to find the front defrost button wich is the second to the right, flush with all the other buttons.

    Even in some car manuals of the 70's and 80's it was stated that if you want to defog or defrost the car in an emergency you just put all the slides to the right or to the top (depending on the orientation of the controls) without thinking, it will automatically put the heater to front defrost,maximum heat, full fan, outside air (no recirculation).

    It's the same problem with almost every interface today, from electronics (think about how easy and fast it was to change the volume or choose the input on a 70's Receiver, with it's big buttons compared to receivers of today with it's tiny buttons and display you have to look at)

    Don't get me started on volume and mute controls. Why don't laptops get a physical cut off switch as a mute button? When I power up my laptop in a library or at school I have to remember if I put it on mute the last time, and if not I need to wait for the mute button to become responsive but since it's controlled by software and a certain driver, it becomes usable right after Windows decide to play it's login sound. Very annoying. How much would it cost to put a physical switch to cut out the electrical signal to the speakers???

    I think we're moving backward with UI, today look ingenuity and trend is more important than usability.

    Now get off my lawn!

    • by 0123456 (636235)

      I haven't figured out how I'm supposed to use a touch-screen in my car when it's forty below zero and I'm wearning thick gloves.

    • Its not just cars - the F35 fighter plane has touch screen controls!

      If you think manipulating a touch screen on a bumpy road is bad, imagine trying to do it while making 6-G turns in a fighter. In turbulence I sometimes have trouble hanging onto physical knobs on my 50 year old Beechcraft.

      At SLAC we have installed real physical knobs to control the accelerator and they work. Operators can look at displays and have the tactile feedback of moving a control. It speeds up machine tuning.

      Touch screens are a way

    • Question is, when will shoppers seriously evaluate the UI as part of the test drive, when will the auto press do the same, and how much will this affect the buying decision?
    • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

      You know you can disable that log in sound, you know. It's the first thing I do after installation.

    • by omnichad (1198475)

      Might be worth getting a headphone plug and a resistor and viola - instant simulated headphones. No, it shouldn't come to that, but might not be a bad thing to have in the laptop bag.

  • I have a 2006 Prius and just recently we got a 2014 Prius V... And the '06 has a vastly superior navigation system. The '14 comes with crapware-loaded Entune and some of the worst user-interface decisions I've ever seen in a product.

    I like that it shows me the traffic, but it'd be nice if they licensed Google Maps for the information so it'd be closer to accurate. And it'd also be nice if roads in cities weren't grey-on-grey with grey text. (Why are you showing me that I'm in a city by changing the backg

  • Many cartoons over the years have made jokes about people adding completely ridiculous things to their cars in the name of convenience. They usually end up in a hilarious, hubris-fueled accidents. Unfortunately, it's turning out to be a lot more prophetic and a lot less hilarious than anyone wants to admit.

  • If you're going to do a study on automobile infotainment systems, you need a broader set of data: 46 people with 7 types of systems, 2 of which are very uncommon. This dataset sounds like they just asked around their office and of the 46 people that work there, only 7 employees had any sort of infotainment system, 3 being the bosses.

    Want to do this study right? Go rent 10-12 cars with the various systems, park them at Walmart one day and survey, park them at the mall the next day and survey, park them at the fancy downtown shopping district and survey, and then hold a private dinner for the upper-class folks and survey. 4 distinct groups and hundreds or thousands of data points.

    Be sure to include systems that actually are used: Toyota Entune, Ford Sync, GM/Chevrolet Intellilink/MyLink, Honda HondaLink, Dodge/Chrysler Uconnect, Nissan NissanConnect, Mazda, Volkswagen, BMW ConnectedDrive, Mercedes Comand, and Cadillac CUE.

    Come on, how many people actually have a Porsche with an infotainment, or a Tesla? Seriously, Ford sold twice as many Fiesta's in the US last year than Tesla has sold total.

  • It's not just that embeded apps in cars are garbage "new" but I've yet to see an car that has constant support for the newest innovations and devices (USB ports not compatible with new phones) that give the car owner reason to try to use said features when there is a big chance things that they will try to use with it in a year or two will not function due to the car not being updated to support them.

    How do you provide updates to car? Auto manufactures are already pretty closed chested with the basic co
  • Is somebody that is buying a new car and does not own a smart phone? I do not want much in the way of smarts. I want a nice sunlight readable touchscreen, buttons on the steering wheel (more are better), and a HUD. The stereo should turn into an amp and radio tuner (maybe a USB storage interface) for the cellphone. The screen buttons etc should slave themselves to that same cellphone. Nice to haves might be a fixed GPS for better reception, OBD access to get vehicle info. All this can happen today via B

  • Moreover, people tend to replace their smartphones every two years or so, and when you get a new phone you may have to completely reconfigure your infotainment system in order to use the new apps.

    My wife an I have two vehicles with completely different controls (Subaru and Chevy). When we take a long trip we rent a car, different make every time. Don't tell me I need to learn all those different Infotainment systems, that won't happen. We have phones that we know and a Garmin GPS (because Google screwed up Maps Navigation on Android last summer). That's all we need.

  • Unfortunately, what we want/need is not what we're willing to pay for. When we're sitting at the dealership for 10hrs strait, wondering how society has devolved into such a state that you can't just walk in and buy a car without being force to wait through the most soul crushing nightmare of a sales pitch ever created... and we get presented with $25k Ford that has a basic radio, and a $25k GM that has a touch screen that does... well we don't know, but it's pretty. Our reptillian brain takes over and we go

    • by tomhath (637240)
      If you sat in a showroom for 10 hours strait (sic) you're doing it wrong. Decide ahead of time what you want and how much you'll pay. Make an offer, if they don't like it - get up and walk away.
      • by mjwx (966435)

        If you sat in a showroom for 10 hours strait (sic) you're doing it wrong. Decide ahead of time what you want and how much you'll pay. Make an offer, if they don't like it - get up and walk away.

        This.

        Show me the car or I'll walk.

        This is one of the many reasons I think buying 2nd hand is better. Every moment the dealer wastes fucking me about is a dollar they lose by keeping the car.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I'm perfectly happy using my phone. Just make a cradle for the phone (with charger), add a screen to display what's on my phone, and add controls (both voice and tactile) that allow me to control it. That's all.

  • What do I want in my car? 4 wheels (plus a spare in the boot), pedals and a gear leaver (that are physically connected to the things they control), an engine, seats, windows that open and maybe a radio. Anything else is just something to fail or distract me from what I'm supposed to be doing (driving). I'm not old enough to be a stick in the mud but I like having a car that is relatively simple and easily maintained.
  • Really. If you want to try that test again. I've never used a GPS. I've barely used a touch screen. My current car radio has awesome buttons that you don't have to look at once you know which set is scan vs step. I've beta tested many complex games and a 50k accounting system while it was live.

    I'll tell you real quick just how annoying it is to use :) Just don't make me keep it....

    • by mjwx (966435)

      My current car radio has awesome buttons that you don't have to look at once you know which set is scan vs step..

      This, I recently bought a 2002 Nissan 200sx (Silvia S15) and replaced the stock CD player with something that knew what a MP3 file was. My number 1 priority was making sure I could change the volume, track and folder without looking at the head unit.

  • Having physical buttons for things means you can do things by feel and not have to take your eyes off the road. I replaced the stereo in my 10 year old Pathfinder with a Kenwood that had a touch screen. I hate it. It's impossible and dangerous to use while driving owing to the location of the radio at the bottom of the stack in the dash.

    My Armada and my Altima both still have the factory radios, which are both knob-and-button. No touchscreens for me, ever again.

  • And I haven't figured out the magic incantation to associate one of the "bookmark" buttons with a radio station.

    I keep hearing that iDrive has gotten better. I can't imagine how bad it must have been before.

  • I have a new car... 2014 Chevy Volt and I've found the thing pretty darn intuitive. I can do all of those functions from the steering wheel. The only exception would be if I'm at some FM radio station and I want to tune to some other FM radio station I have to use the tune scroll wheel... but I had to do the same thing on my 14 year old car I just sold.

    Setting favorites is as easy as merely pressing and holding the spot on the favorites for 3 seconds... then it's set.
  • The problem with "essential apps like navigation and music" being hidden in an overly complex control set is that navigation and music are neither one essential to drive a car. Windshield wipers, heater, defroster, and in some places air conditioning are the next most essential things to control after the throttle, brake, steering, and shifter. Mirrors, seats, steering column angle, and steering column length aren't even necessary to adjust during driving. They can and generally should be adjusted while sto

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