The surprising thing I find about cars in dealer showrooms is that they usually still have CD players as standard. It took a long time for the car manufacturers to move on from supplying tape cassette players, but even though CD sales are in freefall, cars still come equipped to play them.
But what’s next for our vehicle entertainment systems? Car manufacturers need to provide systems that are open and not just supported by a single provider. Spotify is a good example – they have been working hard with car manufacturers to be adopted as a standard for in-car streaming music services, but if Ford supplied a car fitted with a streaming system that only supported one provider then they might be accused of creating a monopoly. How is this going to work?
This situation is developing beyond just music, with in-car video becoming a consumer expectation too. Apple has partnered with several car manufacturers in the roll out of their CarPlay system that allows integration between the iPhone of a driver and their vehicle. CarPlay will allow the services available on the phone to be used by the car, for example with controls on the steering wheel.
AT&T has teamed up with Cloud TV specialist QuickPlay to create a streaming video on demand service for cars and they are now trialling the system with Audi.
It’s great to see these services being displayed at the motor shows, but I would never want my car to define which phone I have to use. The car manufacturers will need to think carefully about which model provides a good enough service, but is also brand-agnostic regarding the way content is streamed.
In the meantime, while all these services are trialled, I’ll see if I can find a few old CDs from the 1980s to provide entertainment on long drives.
Photo by Oliver Chesler licensed under Creative Commons