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Apple CarPlay Rollout Delayed By Some Carmakers

Soulskill posted about a month ago | from the methods-to-increase-auto-accidents dept.

Android 76

Lucas123 writes: Some car makers are delaying the implementation of Apple's CarPlay iPhone interface for vehicle infotainment systems. The delays, which are prompting manufacturers such as Mercedes, Volvo and Honda to push their announcement from 2014 to 2015, appear to be related to a few snags in the integration process or in choosing which model cars should have the middleware. At the same time, many of the automakers rolling out CarPlay are also implementing Android Auto, which will provide a vehicle head unit user interface for Android smartphones. Analysts believe the addition of Android Auto earlier this year may also be causing delays because manufacturers want to be able to announce availability of both platforms in their new model vehicles.

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analyst (2)

WilyCoder (736280) | about a month ago | (#47731701)

"Analysts believe the addition of Android Auto earlier this year may also be causing delays because manufacturers want to be able to announce availability of both platforms in their new model vehicles."

Put Tim Cook on a treadmill-generator to burn off his rage and we could power NYC

Hey, great idea here, guys... (1, Redundant)

pla (258480) | about a month ago | (#47731723)

"USB mass storage".

I know, mind-blowing, eh? Instead of supporting fifteen different incompatible protocols to get people's phones to talk to your massively sub-par onboard electronics, you just treat everything like a dumb ol' external HDD, and they all just work like magic. Who'da thunk it?

Re:Hey, great idea here, guys... (5, Interesting)

AvitarX (172628) | about a month ago | (#47731759)

No thanks, I want my phone's maps and navigation on my car display.

Music subscription services too.

I'd love to have a car interface to my phone apps on my car's screen, something like chromecast, but gets data from the phone instead of the internet, and the ability to send back interactions from a knob, a couple buttons, and touch.

Re:Hey, great idea here, guys... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47731775)

Phones are too small to be useful in an auto application.

Just put actual tablets in the dash. They already have everything we need/want.

Re:Hey, great idea here, guys... (1)

AvitarX (172628) | about a month ago | (#47731907)

That'd be good enough if they allowed unlimited tethering on my unlimited data plan.

Still, some custom stuff, integrated steering wheel controls, a set of "car" buttons that apps can respond to (I really would want a click knob for menu navigation over touch for interacting with apps/changing the app displayed).

I think if the OS people (Apple and Google) create a set of expectations for the hardware, apps will release car related interfaces, similar to how chromecast, and I assume apple tv works. Custom never updated tablet from a car manufacturer is less than ideal I think, and base android isn't the best car interface.

Re:Hey, great idea here, guys... (1)

Richy_T (111409) | about three weeks ago | (#47732625)

integrated steering wheel controls

For a second there, I had an image of a steering wheel app.

Re:Hey, great idea here, guys... (2)

laird (2705) | about a month ago | (#47731979)

Apps that run on phones are fantastic for in-car use: Waze, NextExit, GasBuddy, etc.

They just want to be on a larger display, and integrated with the driver's controls.

Which, amazingly enough, is what CarPlay does.

Re:Hey, great idea here, guys... (1)

pak9rabid (1011935) | about a month ago | (#47732323)

So does this, but with both Androids and iPhones: http://www.pioneerelectronics.... [pioneerelectronics.com]

Re:Hey, great idea here, guys... (1)

djrobxx (1095215) | about three weeks ago | (#47733537)

When was the last time you actually used Pioneer's audio gear? It's a pathetic joke. The included entertainment system in a Toyota Camry is better than that garbage.

Last year we bought a 2012 AVIC-X740BT which had a 4.5 out of 5 star rating on Crutchfield. It also has the "AppRadio" feature you mention. Checked out various reviews, they all suggested this was a decent unit. Using it very much reminds me of the crappy smartphones we had before Apple and Android took control of the cellular market.

1) The Windows-CE based unit takes forever to boot up, probably around 30 seconds.
2) The bluetooth pairing process does not start until after the unit has completely booted. So it takes almost 45 seconds to a minute before you can use bluetooth audio or make a call. Even my 2008 G37 pairs quickly after the car is started.
3) Bluetooth audio does not auto-play. You have to manually start the music on the device once it notifies you that the phone has connected. At this point you might be halfway to your destination if it's nearby.
4) USB mass storage devices are limited to a few hundred songs. It takes about 2 minutes to scan a USB stick full of music each time you start the car. The inter-track delay increases as you get further down the list of songs, too. Checking out various car audio forums, most everyone suggests buying an iPod [avic411.com] because that's the only way you get a usable music playback interface for a decent size music library.
5) The touch screen is slow and it's hard to scroll through lists fluidly.
7) The app radio stuff is super slow and clunky. It's barely functional, just enough that the concept sounds appealing but something you'll probably never actually use in practice. It's way easier to just use Pandora, etc. through the bluetooth audio.

After seeing the AppRadio implementation on this unit, I can't even imagine having the "dumber" unit that only does AppRadio. Granted, things may have improved in the 2013 and 2014 models but I seriously doubt they've completely changed their ways.

I pretty much have to assume that CarPlay and its Android counterpart will be far superior what Pioneer is currently offering. Both Apple and Google have a much better understanding of how to implement intuitive consumer electronics than the big name aftermarket car audio guys ever will from what I've seen.
 

Re:Hey, great idea here, guys... (1)

pak9rabid (1011935) | about three weeks ago | (#47786755)

Pioneer definitely sucks. I stopped buying their head units in favor of Clarion's. I shied away from the AppRadio not because of the UI or anything like that, but because of its lack of RCA pre-outs, not to mention they're shitty 2V (compared to Clarion's 4V). I figured that wouldn't be an issue for most people since they're probably not running multiple amps with 12+" subs.

Re:Hey, great idea here, guys... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47734535)

Which, amazingly enough, is what CarPlay does.

Are you sure that is what CarPlay does, for Waze, NextExit and GasBuddy? My impression is that Apple is restricting CarPlay to Apple Maps, iTunes and a few carefully selected partners who don't "compete" with Apples own apps.

Important: This class is only used for CarPlay. Using it requires a special entitlement issued by Apple. Apps without the correct entitlement will not appear on the CarPlay home screen.

Re:Hey, great idea here, guys... (1)

laird (2705) | about three weeks ago | (#47760237)

It's what CarPlay does. Which apps Apple approves is up to Apple, though they showed about a dozen apps on the web page and invited inquiries, so it doesn't feel like they're aiming at "a few carefully selected partners". The language on the page is about apps being well designed not to distract users from the road.

Re:Hey, great idea here, guys... (1)

mspohr (589790) | about a month ago | (#47732355)

Or do like the Tesla does and install a 17" tablet that runs everything, uses Chrome browser, has a wireless connection and integrates with iPhone and Android.

Re:Hey, great idea here, guys... (2)

ArhcAngel (247594) | about a month ago | (#47731841)

No thanks, I want my phone's maps and navigation on my car display.

You might have just hit on the reason for the delay. They charge $600 for that GPS system in the car and I'm sure Garmin, Tom Tom, Magellan, & Nokia are lobbying to keep their turf safe.

Music subscription services too.

I'd love to have a car interface to my phone apps on my car's screen, something like chromecast, but gets data from the phone instead of the internet, and the ability to send back interactions from a knob, a couple buttons, and touch.

You mean [wikipedia.org] like [computerworld.com] MirrorLink? [mirrorlink.com]

Re:Hey, great idea here, guys... (1)

AvitarX (172628) | about a month ago | (#47731925)

Yes, I think a set of expectations for mirror link could be perfect, and perhaps a slightly more intelligent display that allows for better than VNC communication.

Garmin & TomTom already set (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | about a month ago | (#47732461)

They charge $600 for that GPS system in the car and I'm sure Garmin, Tom Tom, Magellan, & Nokia are lobbying to keep their turf safe.

Garmin & TomTom already make (expensive) navigation apps, so they really shouldn't care about the revenue source changing.

It's the car makers that get most of the cash from those way expensive in-car GPS systems (which are invariably horrible compared to the most modest GPS app).

Re:Hey, great idea here, guys... (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about three weeks ago | (#47732699)

Toyota and Subaru have offered Mirrorlink on their head units for a couple of years at least now. Whatever lobbying the sat nav manufacturers have been doing it doesn't seem to be working.

Mirrorlink for screen mirroring (based on VNC) and MTP for media sharing is all we need and already exist.

Re:Hey, great idea here, guys... (2)

ArhcAngel (247594) | about three weeks ago | (#47733115)

Yeah but MirrorLink isn't Apple and really hasn't caught on so well. It just may be the thought of an Apple friendly version scared them enough to try harder.

Re:Hey, great idea here, guys... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47731933)

This is how Android Auto works from what I understand. The phone runs the apps and the car display just displays an H.264 stream from the phone. Touch events, buttons, wheels etc... are configured by the auto manufacturer and map back to events in the Android Auto SDK that application developers take advantage of. I received a demo of Android Auto installed in an Audi this year at Google I/O.

Re:Hey, great idea here, guys... (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about a month ago | (#47731973)

I'm not sure why we can't have nice things^Hboth.

It's not hard to make a device compatible with USB mass storage. It doesn't even have to be a top menu choice. Just bury it in settings under 'Advanced' and savior the irony.

Re:Hey, great idea here, guys... (2)

AvitarX (172628) | about a month ago | (#47732135)

I suppose that's correct, and perhaps they'll have both.

What I am really looking forward to is buying a new car, and having the interface upgrade over the life of the car. Things that were nifty in a car ten years ago aren't the same now (though with my lack of imagination I can't think of anything past navigation, podcasts, and music, others may, or may make those things better).

XM radio called me about my free trial on my new (used) car, and it was like I was in a time warp, I live in a world of Pandora, Spotify, Google Play, Groove Shark, etc., why on earth would I pay for radio? I have everything via bluetooth audio. I as much as asked the guy (after telling him I didn't use it a single day in my 60 day trial), he said the comedy stations, like Howard Stern. Basically saying the talk radio was what they had. But I have Bill Maher (for free), and a dozen other podcasts, more than i can listen too, it really is an anachronism.

The same thing with OnStar, why would I subscribe to a look up local business service, but all of the GM cars I test-drove were pushing it, even in the 2013's it was the center of the technology, yet the Bluetooth was hands-free only (no AD2P), but it did have XM was pointed out to me *sigh*.

Re:Hey, great idea here, guys... (1)

mlts (1038732) | about three weeks ago | (#47732555)

XM still has a place. They used to offer a deal where you paid $800, and the car receiver had permanent access. Forever. Vehicle changes hands? Irrelevant. Then, it was useful for some alternative on a long trip, or listening to a talk radio station (although some of the AM stations in rural areas can go in some strange subject directions.)

Oddly enough, I have been happy with Ford's SYNC service. It works well with both Android and iOS, and can handle handsfree calls as well as A2DP.

Time will tell... but, since phones change so often compared to how often someone changes cars (well, unless they are super rich), it would be nice to have the audio head firmware intended to be as phone OS agnostic as possible and not have to be iOS or Android specific. Who knows... 2-3 years down the road, Tizen, FirefoxOS, BlackberryOS, Symbian, or some OS we may never have heard of might be a third contender.

I'd like to have the audio head have the ability to use media, both as a mounted drive, as well as MTP/PTP access. Bluetooth formats of handsfree and A2DP go without saying. The key is going with established standards, not something that depends on one OS or company.

Maybe the answer might be a modular system. A generic program that would work with everything, then CarPlay and other middleware if the user wants it. However, this seems like a bunch of redundant work, when the car audio system should be a completely separate entity from the phone.

Re:Hey, great idea here, guys... (1)

AvitarX (172628) | about three weeks ago | (#47732797)

Yes, I'd really like it to be open standard too, which appears to be what MirrorPlay has going.

The Android Auto has a lot of nice features though, such as giving GPS data to the phone (from an external GPS), external mobile antennas, etc.

Considering it's pretty much a video stream, and some preset data to send back, it really should be open, or FRAND at least.

I had a rental with sync 3 or 4 years ago, I hated it. It had the worse UI ever (note, this was 3 or 4 years ago, when it was relatively new sauce).

To use AD2P, I had to go to a menu item "audio settings", there was an item by that name in 2 different places, one 2 items deep, and the other 3 items deep, only one of the "audio settings" menu items allowed me to set the audio to the AD2P stream, and I had to redo it every time I got in the car.

Re:Hey, great idea here, guys... (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | about three weeks ago | (#47733553)

What I am really looking forward to is buying a new car, and having the interface upgrade over the life of the car.

Well you better hope it's not Android then. They can't even give updates over the much shorter lifespan of a mobile phone. You're lucky if you get one update.

Re: Hey, great idea here, guys... (1)

AvitarX (172628) | about three weeks ago | (#47737911)

My point is that the device is essentially a monitor and keyboard, it doesn't need updates, my phone is what needs them ( via apps, updates, and buying new)

Re:Hey, great idea here, guys... (1)

jrumney (197329) | about three weeks ago | (#47734595)

It's not hard to make a device compatible with USB mass storage.

It is hard. USB MS exposes the internal storage as a block device for the USB host to do with as it pleases. The device has to avoid using the filesystem it is exposing for the duration that it is plugged in to avoid corruption, and when unplugged it has to dump any media indexes and reindex everything, as it has no way of knowing what changed.

This is why modern Android devices are now MTP only. With MTP, file access is via high level commands that are implemented on the device, so the device can track and control what is going on.

Re:Hey, great idea here, guys... (2)

Kolisar (665024) | about a month ago | (#47732145)

I like having access to my phone's functions (in particular my car's ability to connect to my iPhone for music), but I do not want to be forced to use my phone for GPS or any other functionality that can be built into the car. I know that built-in GPS systems are out of date as soon as the DVD is made, but I do not want to be forced to use my data plan for functionality that previously did not require it. I do not know how much cellular data the GPS would use, but having a built in navigation system currently uses none.

Car manufacturers, device and software manufacturers ( especially those ones who think everyone wants their data on "the could" ) please give us choices, not dictates. We like new features and ideas, but not necessarily new ideas that result in added, recurring expenses (fees for cloud storage, data usage and possible increased data plans because of the increased data usage).

Re:Hey, great idea here, guys... (1)

AvitarX (172628) | about a month ago | (#47732343)

The data use of GPS approaches zero (I am at 50-100MB / month for Maps, I use Maps a few times a day, and Navigation a few times a week)

Re:Hey, great idea here, guys... (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | about a month ago | (#47732529)

Even if built-in nav services in phone used much data at all (they do not) you could still buy any number of offline map apps that require no data use at all.

But it's really better to use a connected navigation program, that can route you around traffic as needed.

Re:Hey, great idea here, guys... (2)

DigiShaman (671371) | about a month ago | (#47732391)

So it's like this: Normally you're phone is an peripheral to your car dashboard/radio. With CarPlay, it's the other way around. So yes, I agree. Maps, navigation, audio, handsfree, etc, all that is just a firmware update away. None of this proprietary BS that costs an arm and a leg, often outdated, and soon be obsolete in five years anyways. With a standard API, it makes that a whole lot easier to manage. Ditto for the Android equivalent.

Re:Hey, great idea here, guys... (1)

lexman098 (1983842) | about three weeks ago | (#47732591)

Miracast (wifi direct) was made to solve this.

Re:Hey, great idea here, guys... (1)

TigerTime (626140) | about a month ago | (#47731839)

That's what should have been done 5+ years ago. We've moved well beyond that. However i do disagree in the method that they are moving forward with of competing technologies. It should be something like "Bluetooth 5.0" that supports Audio and Video. Frankly, if Bluetooth had really kept up, we wouldn't need these diverging methods.

Re:Hey, great idea here, guys... (1)

laird (2705) | about a month ago | (#47732037)

Except for power, of course. Plug in a phone into a cable and it's got high speed data and power. Connect a phone via bluetooth and it's got decent speed data but a power drain.

Re:Hey, great idea here, guys... (1)

Richy_T (111409) | about three weeks ago | (#47733197)

You don't know what device you are connecting to so you don't know if power is an issue or not (realistically it will be but it's an assumption worth questioning).

OTOH, there are USB docks out there that do audio and video so perhaps that might have been an option to go to. I have no idea how compatible they would be with Android but I believe they just connect as standard USB devices with no fancy drivers needed.

Re:Hey, great idea here, guys... (1)

lexman098 (1983842) | about three weeks ago | (#47732605)

They've made this "bluetooth 5.0" you speak of. It's called Miracast.

Re:Hey, great idea here, guys... (1)

jrumney (197329) | about three weeks ago | (#47734633)

They've made this "bluetooth 5.0" you speak of. It's called Miracast.

More accurately, it was Bluetooth 3.0. Miracast is a pure WiFi solution. Bluetooth 3.0 supports establishing video streams over Bluetooth which are handed off to WiFi. In theory. I've never seen an actual working implementation of Bluetooth 3.0 in a commercial product.

Re:Hey, great idea here, guys... (1)

james_shoemaker (12459) | about a month ago | (#47732149)

Where did you find a modern android phone that supports usb mass storage, my S4 only does MTP.

Re:Hey, great idea here, guys... (1)

mspohr (589790) | about a month ago | (#47732411)

Most "modern" Android phones have USB host support and you an use a USB OTG plug for mass storage.

iDon't know... (0)

Viol8 (599362) | about a month ago | (#47731739)

...much about the carplay system, but if its not installed in BMWs i3 and i8 then there must be a disturbance in The iForce.

Aftermarket head units support CarPlay (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | about a month ago | (#47731761)

My previous comment below.

http://slashdot.org/comments.p... [slashdot.org]

Re:Aftermarket head units support CarPlay (1)

ArhcAngel (247594) | about a month ago | (#47731901)

You're car must be old because most of the new vehicles I have looked at recently are no longer capable of supporting an aftermarket head unit because the system is so integrated with the rest of the vehicle.

Re:Aftermarket head units support CarPlay (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | about a month ago | (#47732233)

2010 RAV4. Aftermarket bracket (custom molded for make/model) turns it into Double-DIN or Single-DIN (bottom half being a little for phone, billfold, or whatever). Check the link below to see stuff is available for your car including the aftermarket bracket needed. In my case, the plastic used makes it look as though it was an OEM feature. So it's not always cheesy looking.

http://www.crutchfield.com/ [crutchfield.com]

Re:Aftermarket head units support CarPlay (1)

m2shariy (1194621) | about a month ago | (#47732531)

Building car around a stereo? Sounds like amazingly bad design.

Re:Aftermarket head units support CarPlay (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47732823)

Care to name a couple of these? I'm very skeptical.

Re:Aftermarket head units support CarPlay (2)

DigiShaman (671371) | about three weeks ago | (#47733603)

The parent sorta has a point. I can't vouch for the ratio, but I would definitely agree that newer cars have a proprietary/integrated dash and console arrangement that don't conform to the DIN standard (ISO 7736) in comparison to older vehicles. My perception is that this is getting worse with each new model.

There is a ray of hope however. Scosche is a major brand of custom aftermarket bracket and adapters for car audio. Chances are that if it's dimensionally possible, they've already created a kit for your vehicle. For example I also own a 2009 Honda Civic; the Scosche-HA1561 Dash Kit [crutchfield.com] is only 40 bucks from Crutchfield (discounted when purchased with other stuff). It also comes in three colors depending on your interior. If they didn't take the market seriously, I wouldn't have expected that as optional. For reference, here is a photo of the factory radio [akamai.net] for a comparison.

BTW, I don't mean to come off as a shill for Crutchfield, but I'm experienced in shopping there in the past. If you know of a competitor that you recommend, by all means share. I'm always looking for reliable alternative sources that I can price cheaper. :)

Re:Aftermarket head units support CarPlay (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47734669)

Usually it's just a panel on the dash, which can be easily replaced with an aftermarket panel with a 1 or 2-DIN hole. The mounting brackets in behind still comply with DIN standards. A few cars integrate various displays (eg HVAC) into the head unit, but even then, there are often aftermarket options that interface to any AV head unit via an external video or reverse camera input.

Its QNX (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47731809)

which can run already run andriod applications whats the real delay?

Standards? (2)

Vainglorious Coward (267452) | about a month ago | (#47731853)

Imagine a world where there were multiple standards for cigarette lighter^W^W accessory power connectors, and how different the market for accessories would be. Im surprised that car manufacturers, whose product development cycle is quite lengthy, are willing to accomodate proprietary (and likely fleeting) technologies.

Re:Standards? (1)

Macrat (638047) | about a month ago | (#47731919)

Imagine a world where there were multiple standards for cigarette lighter^W^W accessory power connectors...

You mean like the car having an actual standard power connector in the first place instead of the outdated cigarette lighter hack?

Re:Standards? (2)

laird (2705) | about a month ago | (#47732077)

Note that the car companies care about compatability, and there's a while ecosystem built around using cigarette lighters into cars. That's why they're all over minivans - they're no longer for cigarettes, they're now the standard car power plugs. :-)

That being said, cars are starting to get USB jacks. That's a good thing. But car technology changes slowly, for good reasons - if they put something into millions of consumer cars, people have to live with it for many years, so they are cautious about making changes.

Re:Standards? (1)

laird (2705) | about a month ago | (#47732057)

I'd think that as a part of integrating iPhones/Lightning cables into cars, Apple would have to commit to supporting the technology for 5+ years, with backwards compatibility, so that people could plug their phones 5 years from now into the car that they buy now and have it "just work". Both the car companies and Apple care about that. Google too, most likely.

Re:Standards? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47732681)

What the hell is wrong with people that they think 5 years is good enough? The manufacturers have power-train warranties way longer than that now. They keep making parts well past 5 years. You start limiting the tech to a 5 year support window and resale value is going to take a hit. Shitty resale value leads to less new car sales.

You know, you might buy or lease new cars all the time, but there are a lot of people out there that buy those cars after you're done with them.

Re:Standards? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47732403)

> (and likely fleeting) technologie

What, do you think apple, or android phones, are just going to change their connector standard? You think some new wiz band usb is coming out or something?! LOL! GET WITH THE TIMES, TECH DOESN"T CHANGE!

Re:Standards? (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about three weeks ago | (#47732741)

Car manufacturers have been getting a lot of fire for not being high tech enough. Phones with apps made all their in-car systems look ancient, and people rapidly got to the point where all they wanted from a head unit was an aux jack. Thus manufacturers are finding it hard to upsell their higher end head units because they all look like phones did in 2002.

People don't want to pay for a second data contract when their phone already has one either.

Some manufacturers already offer Mirrorlink because of this. The Android system uses Mirrorlink and it is unlikely to go away any time soon. It's based on VNC, and supported by non-Android phones too. The Apple system I can only explain as being due to the reality distortion field, but I'm still surprised that manufacturers are on-board after being burned by the first round of iPod and iPhone compatible hardware. I suppose this time at least in future incompatible Apple devices should still be able to use Mirrorlink, even if they can't use the Apple specific stuff.

Oh Nos! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47731945)

No Apple in your car then no car for me! I need. I want. I am. I said. I said. I am.

Re:Oh Nos! (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47732035)

Same here. I was actually waiting for a car that properly integrates with my phone (be it iOS or Droid). I payed €1000 1 years ago for the Renault R-Link crap on my wife's car and was terribly disappointed. Since the headunits in modern cars aren't really upgrade-able without giving some things up, it makes a lot more sense to just make them dumb displays + input devices. I change my phone every two years, but my car every 5-6. By the time I change my car it's already outdated.

Re:Oh Nos! (3, Insightful)

mspohr (589790) | about a month ago | (#47732285)

All of the new cars I have bought in the last 15 years came with outdated technology. At least the older ones were easier to hack. On On the newer ones , it's just an expensive brick.

Over complicated? Why not just VNC (1)

scorp1us (235526) | about a month ago | (#47732303)

Each mobile platform (iOS, Android, WP?) should just have a virtual frame buffer which is connected to via VNC. There's not any reason to make it more integrated than that, unless they try to differentiate themselves, and in that case we all lose because of fractured standards. I really cringe when Google and Apple don;t back the same standard.

If you need audio, use Bluetooth, of course.

Touch/button interaction? (1)

swb (14022) | about a month ago | (#47732437)

Will VNC intelligently handle touchscreen integration? I'd like my device on the car display, but I'd like my device on my car display, along with touch screen access (and integration with other physical buttons).

But of course all of this is a solved problem as of years ago, but vendor lock-in attempts and technology "innovation" has kept this from happening.

Re:Touch/button interaction? (1)

scorp1us (235526) | about three weeks ago | (#47747123)

I don't see why it shouldn't.

How complicated of gestures do you need on a screen while driving? As far as I am concerned it should all be voice interface anyway. As someone who uses a docked phone while driving (or rather attempts to) the bumps in the road combined with the reach distance conspire against virtual buttons due to lack of tactile feedback. You can't feel for the 3rd button down, or if you landed your finger on the gap between two buttons.

Re:Touch/button interaction? (1)

swb (14022) | about three weeks ago | (#47751099)

Maybe it should be all voice anyway, but I find that even with a quality headset (of any type, wired, wireless) I find that in the car voice commands work poorly due to ambient noise.

Plus, a car is filled with tactile controls that are all real easy to operate while you're driving (climate controls, cruise control, windows, etc).

Complex touch controls would be a mistake (I don't want triple-tap and drag on an iPad when I'm sitting on the couch, let alone in a car) but my concern would an oversimple display-only technology is that some UI controls just wouldn't be available, which is I suppose why Apple is doing "CarPlay" modes for apps to begin with.

Re:Touch/button interaction? (1)

scorp1us (235526) | about three weeks ago | (#47756783)

The automobile is a challenging acoustic environment for sure, but there are several improvements that can be made to improve this:
A unidirectional mic in the steering wheel, with noise cancelling. A prompt button that turns down the stereo system for a brief time.

I'm not surprised it is as bad as it is with current equipment. In fact I'm surprised it is as good as it is.

The tactile controls are there for cost. Very cheap, but very limiting. I have proper climate control that maintains a set point, and I never have to touch anything more than a defroster button. In fact the only button I touch frequently is the stereo knob.

Re:Over complicated? Why not just VNC (1)

Michael_Knight (3797541) | about three weeks ago | (#47750239)

VNC is a great start, but those that build cars won't just do screen replication from a phone on the dash. The UI on a phone isn't meant for use while driving. Simplified UI needed. MirrorLink is industry standard and uses VNC as a foundation for launching specific apps

Re:Over complicated? Why not just VNC (1)

scorp1us (235526) | about three weeks ago | (#47756811)

I'm not sure where you misunderstood me. I said "virtual frame buffer" and VNC. The virtual frame buffer is a software-only framebuffer, separate from the one that drives the screen. It can have anything on it - simplified UI controls, or rather, with android, you would add settings to the app manifest to specify it uses that VFB and people would lay out for in-car use accordingly.

Just buy a tablet for the car? (1)

swb (14022) | about a month ago | (#47732521)

Is it me, or does it almost seem easier to just buy a damn tablet for the car and leave it there?

Big screen, easy to read maps, audio via BT, ALL my apps, not just those that someone has deigned to be OK for in-dash display (either because it passes some lame "safety" filter and/or because they have paid money to Apple/Google to get the car-integration bit enabled in their app profile).

My phone will supply the internet connectivity if I feel like shaving bucks off the cost of a model with a LTE modem/plan.

The only nuisance factor would be in-car BT telephone calls, but I'm assuming most cars can handle switching BT sources so I might have to hit a couple of extra buttons to switch BT between phone/tablet to make/take a call.

About the only bad thing is having to install a mount for the tablet (less of an issue if you go with a "mini" sized tablet) and/or the risk of getting your tablet stolen when the car is broken into, although less of an issue if you stash it out of sight when parking in riskier places and just leave an empty mount that says "not in the car".

Re:Just buy a tablet for the car? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47732849)

It sounds simple, but getting a tablet that can withstand the below-freezing and scalding hot temperature ranges of a car isn't a simple or cheap problem. Without its own battery (drawing on car battery/power) it would be easier, but even then regular consumer stuff has to be toughened up a little or you can expect a higher-than-normal failure rate depending upon your climate. For example, around here it would have to survive -20C in the winter. That's pretty far below the usual ratings for operation. Your mileage may vary, of course.

You're paying for the interface (1)

rsborg (111459) | about three weeks ago | (#47733191)

Is it me, or does it almost seem easier to just buy a damn tablet for the car and leave it there?

The problem is, as is usually ignored by most /. geeks, interface. I already use my smartphone in a bracket on the car - and despite the tablet having larger touch surface, the problem is essentially the same - I want an interface with *big ass buttons* and voice control and preferably physical dials the the like - because I don't want to muck around with even a single more tap than needed.

Sure, I could replace my Prius console with a far more functional tablet, but unless it's designed to be used by a highly distracted user (i.e., Driver), it's neither safe nor fun to do so.

Regarding mounts - this has been absolutely awesome - and even works with my iPad mini:
http://www.mountek.com/press/2... [mountek.com]

I took it on my europe trip - worked on every car I was in, and it's super-light, portable, and I stuck the metal plate to the *inside* of my case so not only is it not marring my phone, it's not even visible.

There are other brands that target the same space apparently, too: https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]

Re:You're paying for the interface (1)

swb (14022) | about three weeks ago | (#47734557)

I agree for the most part about even tablet apps not being "big buttons" but I think it's not quite as bad as you think.

Phones are a misleading example since the small size of the phone screen usually begs for small controls to fit as much info/functionality on one screen. I think most iPad-specific apps (or the iPad version of a dual platform app) usually have bigger controls and text than the iPhone specific version.

Plus, there's always the "zoom" accessibility feature or using an iPhone-specific app at 2x if possible. They're both cheesy ideas, sure, but the accessibility zoom is easy to use and basically magnifies everything for you.

Besides, for the most part we're only talking about basic apps you could reasonably use while driving, like Pandora, which really don't require that much button pushing.

Just let me decide (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47732923)

I would prefer the car system be left neutral and let any phones interface connect with that. I don't want to be stuck with a Apple or Android product. It would be nice for the interface to be just a means of connecting. What happens if I get a Apple system and then decide to buy a Android phone? Can the car makers re program the interface? Or are you stuck with one format? Personally I want less and less car maker influence in the technology aspect. The stuff becomes dated and unsupportive and then you stuck. Its like the GPS systems built into cars, sure they work fine for the first owner. But after 5 years the whole system is slow, not updated and not upgradable. Whereas if you simply have a screen in the dash that extends your phones capabilities. You have a more upgradable system.

Likely deployment (1)

sethstorm (512897) | about three weeks ago | (#47733361)

Apple: Cars that few can afford

Android Auto: Everyone else.

Re:Likely deployment (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | about three weeks ago | (#47733583)

Apple Carplay: Cars that people who car about quality buy.

Android Auto: Cars that are pushed on people by the auto salesman.

Re:Likely deployment (1)

mjwx (966435) | about three weeks ago | (#47744851)

Apple: Cars that few can afford

Android Auto: Everyone else.

LoL,

Apple products have pretty much become the Camry of their market. Anyone can get a whitegoods Camry.

Android is everything from an i10 to a WRX STI to a Lamborgini. The point is, you have a choice.

Carberry (1)

mars-nl (2777323) | about three weeks ago | (#47734469)

As a non-Andoid, non-iOS smartphone owner I'm not interested in any cool proprietary interface. No one should be interested in it.

Better support something like MirrorLink [mirrorlink.com] and connect use something like the CarBerry [carberry.it] .

Read up on MirrorLink (1)

Michael_Knight (3797541) | about three weeks ago | (#47750343)

You want an industry standard - go check out MirrorLink. Doesn't care what OS, just works. Hard to find news on this since anytime Apple/Google say "we're doing something" the media just drools... MirrorLink works with Android phones already and probably Windows phone soon. Only reason Apple not playing is they think it's easy to do on their own. Now they're realizing this is a multi-layered engineering problem that also involves the regulators (DoT, EU, Japan, China, etc....) Google going to run into the same problems. If these guys would just get with the program and work with the industry standard it would already be realized instead of just now coming out.
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