12 Volt: Content & Connections in the Dashboard: Its the next big thing in your customer's cars
Our world revolves around an enormous selection of consumer technology choices we encounter each and every day. Choices for how we consume content (whether music, information, etc.) are literally overwhelming, and when they jump to the vehicle dashboard, it ignites the controversy of convenience versus safety. We already know that. These are the realities with which 12-volt manufacturers and retailers struggle when balancing the latest and greatest products with something that’s dependable and user friendly for their clientele, all at a price where the consumer finds value.
In a nutshell, as an industry we still have yet to hit the holy grail of ubiquitous content accessibility while keeping safety behind the wheel on the top of the list. Something’s got to give. Nobody needs the government making our product development decisions for us.
Mirror Link: Almost There
There are bright and shiny pockets of opportunity in the months and years ahead of us, though. MirrorLink (a.k.a. ‘Terminal Mode’) is an upcoming technology that allows the phone’s functions to appear on a remote screen or device (such as an in-dash head unit) in the car. While the U.S. market is still waiting on wide deployment of smartphones that provide a working ‘MirrorLink’ (such as Samsung’s Galaxy S3), European users are already enjoying it. Not to worry, MirrorLink is going to be one of next year’s big leaps forward with North American consumer desire to have more connected device experiences in their cars. Still, there are going to be balances with access to those smartphone apps and content versus the ever-present concern of driver safety and focus.
As of this writing, Alpine (ICS X8), Sony (XAV-610BT and XAV-701HD) and Intraphex have each announced products forthcoming with MirrorLink connectivity and as the MirrorLink-enabled smartphone handsets become more and more present in consumers’ hands, it’s surely something we’ll see more of in the years ahead. Read more about MirrorLink and its operational possibilities at www.terminalmode.org.