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VW Goes USB

CowboyNeal posted about 9 years ago | from the plugged-in dept.

Music 217

MadCow42 writes "According to this story on CNN, Volkswagen is going to offer in-dash USB connections on several models as of this December and others next year. This function is to let you connect your MP3 Player or USB drive to play your tunes on the car stereo! The bad news? I just got my Touran... sans USB."

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How 2003 (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13584479)

That's nothing compared to Mazda [slashdot.org] and their use of USB.

Re:How 2003 (1)

Kazuma-san (775820) | about 9 years ago | (#13584523)

Yeah, accodring to what I read, the functionality of this device is quite limited. It is not even able to read id3 tags of the mp3s, so one is better of buying a car radio with usb support. Of course given he can install it in his vw car. I am not sure about this brand, but I know bmw and several other companies had the gatesque idea of making car radio slots, that only match to their own brands, and are confirm to no iso standard in the world

Re:How 2003 (3, Informative)

Timo_UK (762705) | about 9 years ago | (#13584783)

The Mazda concept is only that - a concept. The VW is in production now, so about 2-3 years ahead.

Re:How 2003 (1)

tomhudson (43916) | about 9 years ago | (#13584810)

... but still behind the aftermarket, which has been making limited-range fm transmitters that let you play your mp3 player, portable compact disk, or whatever through the stereo w/o any wires.

This way you can even share your music at a tailgate party or in a traffic jam.

Re:How 2003 (1)

kamapuaa (555446) | about 9 years ago | (#13584869)

Have you actually used one of those? They're total shit.

Re:How 2003 (1)

Timo_UK (762705) | about 9 years ago | (#13584929)

They sound completely cr*p and are illegal in many countries (including Germany).

Security? (5, Interesting)

Kimos (859729) | about 9 years ago | (#13584494)

All I can think about is security. With viruses and malware being spread through other mobile devices [slashdot.org] , what's going to happen if your car gets infected?

Be realistic (3, Insightful)

matt me (850665) | about 9 years ago | (#13584538)

Only the most foolish designers in the world would manage to some how connect the in-car stereo system to say, the braking system. The most any malware could do would be to play some really annoying sounds at you - or perhaps amusingly, sirens (esp if vehicle has surround!) - and even then, you'd be able to turn down the volume until you got to the garage - unless of course, they were so *intelligent* they gave the car an *intelligent* volume system that balances with the noise of the road. So I think we're safe for now, although I never underestimate the geniuses working in the motor-vehicle industry.

I ride a bike.

Re:Be realistic (1)

polysylabic psudonym (820466) | about 9 years ago | (#13584587)

Such "intelligent" volume controls exist. I had a Holden (Opel) Astra with automatic volume change based on speed.

Re:Be realistic (1)

bhtooefr (649901) | about 9 years ago | (#13584646)

Yep. 1995 Chevy Silverado 3500. The stereo's got a "SCV" (speed compensated volume) control with five settings (off, low, medium, high, and very high). Then, of course, there's the regular volume knob. The volume knob sets base volume (read: what the volume is at at 0MPH or with SCV turned off).

Volume Controll (1)

Kazuma-san (775820) | about 9 years ago | (#13584806)

I also stumbled across this feat installing my car radio in my ancient golf. But I also noticed I never found a radio supporting this. Does anyone know wether they still implement speed based volume controll in modern cars or wether they abandoned this idea?

Re:Volume Controll (1)

MeWhOeLsE (879471) | about 9 years ago | (#13585079)

Our VW sharan (7 seater) has this... its been in a few other cars I've seen ove the past few years... al european cars though

Re:Be realistic (2, Funny)

neuro.slug (628600) | about 9 years ago | (#13585013)

Right, but I would really, really hope that said volume control simply reads data, like what the speedometer gets, and sets volume according to that. It's not like changing the volume slows your car down or anything...

-- n

Re:Be realistic (2, Interesting)

technothrasher (689062) | about 9 years ago | (#13585081)

Only the most foolish designers in the world would manage to some how connect the in-car stereo system to say, the braking system.


Don't be so sure. A lot of modern OEM radios are tied into the car's central CAN bus, so they can do things like talk to the CD changer, get input from the steering wheel buttons, or put info onto the LCD in the instrument cluster. If the radio device has enough programability to put fake packets onto the bus (not completely unbelievable, given the complex navigation radios these days), it could probably do all kinds of scary things.

Re:Security? (5, Insightful)

}InFuZeD{ (52430) | about 9 years ago | (#13584551)

As far as I know, you can't hide viruses in mp3 files yet, so I don't see how putting an mp3 player in your car stereo is going to be a security risk. This is just the same as your car CD player being able to read mp3s, except on a different medium.

You can take your tin foil hat off now.

Re:Security? (1)

lemonjelo (157554) | about 9 years ago | (#13584825)

http://www.google.com/search?q=mpg123+vulnerabilit ies [google.com]
In 2003, two vulnerabilities were discovered in mpg123 that could result in remote code execution when using untrusted input or streaming from an untrusted server.
Just one implementation's example, it's been quite some time since anybody could say that documents in general are harmless.

Re:Security? (1)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | about 9 years ago | (#13584833)

Indeed, you _shouldn't_ be able to put viruses in data files. However, with many applications handling data files containing buffer overflow vulnerabilities and the like, you can still use a datafile to execute arbitrary code.

Re:Security? (2, Informative)

DrScotsman (857078) | about 9 years ago | (#13584922)

... what's going to happen if your car gets infected?

This. [slashdot.org]

Good (5, Insightful)

Sv-Manowar (772313) | about 9 years ago | (#13584497)

It's good to see VW using the standard instead of going with the trend and putting ipod adaptors in, like BMW did.

There are other products out there than Apple's, and although the iPod may be the best (personally, i think yes), it does not mean it should be the only one to get car adaptors.

it says it supports ipods and "other" (1)

humuhumunukunukuapu' (678704) | about 9 years ago | (#13584586)

"The option comes in two varieties, one for the iPod, another for other USB-based players. Up to six of the player's folders will be displayed on the car stereo system, and the radio buttons can be used to scan, search or shuffle your mix."

Re:Good (4, Interesting)

fliplap (113705) | about 9 years ago | (#13584980)

The iPod adapter was a complete after thought at BMW. BMW put in an AUX input, you can plug in anything to it if you really want.

The only thing that is different is that there is a module you can buy that allows you control the iPod through the stock headunit and steering wheel controls.

Really this can be done with any MP3 player that has a remote if you are willing to put in the time to figure out the signaling for your personal player. BMW's iBus (yes it's really called iBus, no it has nothing todo with Apple's iNaming scheme) is well documented and its easy to write software to read/write to it. I didn't have an MP3 player and I wanted more features than just MP3 ability, for example Wifi scanning controlled through the stock stereo buttons... so I built my own.

The REAL Bad News is... (0, Offtopic)

Ann Elk (668880) | about 9 years ago | (#13584498)

...despite all of the techno-whizzy gadgets, they're still powered by refined petroleum products.

Re:The REAL Bad News is... (1)

polysylabic psudonym (820466) | about 9 years ago | (#13584545)

they're still powered by refined petroleum products.
I said in another post to this story that my next car would be a VW. Why? Because:
  1. Their diesels are very fuel efficient;
  2. You can make fuel for diesels in your shed out of renewable vegetable or animal oils.

Bacon grease. (1)

Karma_fucker_sucker (898393) | about 9 years ago | (#13584602)

... animal oils.

It'd be great if we could use bacon grease. That way the air around the roads would smell like cooking bacon. It would make the commute so much nicer!

Re:Bacon grease. (1)

polysylabic psudonym (820466) | about 9 years ago | (#13584628)

Funny you say that. A thought I had was to get myself a pig farm, cut up the pigs, remove the fat for conversion to biodiesel, sell the meat as low fat.

Only trouble is that by using animal fats you end up with noteworthy quantities of sulfur in the fuel. Better to use vegetable oils.

Re:Bacon grease. (1)

Karma_fucker_sucker (898393) | about 9 years ago | (#13584706)

Only trouble is that by using animal fats you end up with noteworthy quantities of sulfur in the fuel. Oooo, yuck! So, instead of smelling like a Sunday morning, my commnute will smell like a Saturday morning shit after a night of drinking?

Re:Bacon grease. (1)

polysylabic psudonym (820466) | about 9 years ago | (#13584750)

Oooo, yuck! So, instead of smelling like...

No, I wasn't making a point about the odour, I'm not sure that it would smell bad at all - does pork crackling stink? Sulfur's undesirable from air pollution and engine deposits points of view.

It was just my poor... (1)

Karma_fucker_sucker (898393) | about 9 years ago | (#13584794)

attempt at humor.

I won't give up my day job.

I actually know some folks in Berkely who are running their turbo-deisel on vegatable oil. Cool, Huh?

Re:Bacon grease. (1)

WilliamSChips (793741) | about 9 years ago | (#13584876)

Actually, pure sulfur smells like matches.

Re:The REAL Bad News is... (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | about 9 years ago | (#13584635)

and cats!

Re:The REAL Bad News is... (1)

polysylabic psudonym (820466) | about 9 years ago | (#13584648)

Still get sulfer, and how much fat does a cat carry?

In fact, humans aside, what animal would be best for fat production? What would have the best fat per square meter of floor space ratio? What would have the best food to fat conversion efficiency?

Re:The REAL Bad News is... (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | about 9 years ago | (#13584814)

You just set yourself up for a VERY easy "your mom" joke.....

Re:The REAL Bad News is... you're buying a VW (1)

maeglin (23145) | about 9 years ago | (#13584817)

I said in another post to this story that my next car would be a VW. Why? Because:

1. Their diesels are very fuel efficient;
2. You can make fuel for diesels in your shed out of renewable vegetable or animal oils.


plus...

3. It's fun replacing O2 sensors.
4. You enjoy mysterious check engine messages.
5. Paying a premium for a plethora of replacement parts is sweet!

This all a bit OT, but, seriously, I haven't been so disapointed with anything in a long time as much as I am with my VW (and I even own a PSP).

I purchased a Jetta GLX and about two weeks later the glove compartment latch fell off. It's been going down hill ever since.

It was a cool car but the quality level has made me bitter about my purchase.

These people also seem a bit peeved:

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

Re:The REAL Bad News is... you're buying a VW (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | about 9 years ago | (#13585002)

Jettas are pretty bad cars.

I want a TDI but the Beetle and the Jettas aren't that great of a car. No one else seems to be making affordable diesel car, some report 50MPG with a TDI Beetle. You can get more efficient cars in Europe and Asia but they are a lot smaller and entail a lot more sacrifices for IMO marginal increases.

I don't think we can get away from petrol autos for a good while, but we can get more efficient ones, diesel is most often petroleum based but it has a more efficient combustion cycle and puts out less CO2. The biggest downside is particulates, but that form of pollution washes out the air with rain.

Re:The REAL Bad News is... (1)

slughead (592713) | about 9 years ago | (#13584548)

The REAL Bad News is ... they're still powered by refined petroleum products.

As opposed to unrefined coal products, as most electricity in the US is produced from?

Re:The REAL Bad News is... (1)

WilliamSChips (793741) | about 9 years ago | (#13584592)

I get my electricity from uranium products, you insensitive clod!

The difference is in the efficiency (1)

Colin Smith (2679) | about 9 years ago | (#13584939)

About 10% for your standard internal combustion engine as used in a conventional car in todays traffic conditions.

Compared to around 35% for an old conventional coal power station or 55% for a more modern coal gasifier power station or even 85% for a coal gasifier which sells it's "waste" heat as well.

Almost 1/5 the pollution per mile traveled doing it one way rather than the others.
 

Re:The REAL Bad News is... (0, Flamebait)

Eightyford (893696) | about 9 years ago | (#13584613)

Petroleum is a miracle energy source, and is probably the number one contributing factor in humankind advancement in the last 100 years. If you can go without plastics, the postal service, public transportation, cheap food, and thousands of other things that you take for granted, then do it!

Re:The REAL Bad News is... (1)

polysylabic psudonym (820466) | about 9 years ago | (#13584721)

Of the things you list, only plastics have any great need for petroleum products. Why do we burn oil when it's so damn useful for other things?
We can run IC engines just as well on ethanol or biodiesel. If you want to run it on a petroleum product, use one that's not suitable for plastics, say natural gas or LPG.

Re:The REAL Bad News is... (0, Troll)

Ann Elk (668880) | about 9 years ago | (#13584789)

Where did I write anything about doing away with all petroleum usage? I'm not suggesting that we stop "cold turkey" -- I am suggesting that getting all wet and excited about a fucking USB port is rather pathetic in the context of the larger global energy problems we're facing.

Re:The REAL Bad News is... (1)

Eightyford (893696) | about 9 years ago | (#13584820)

I understand that, but there is no reason to ignore the little things (like VW using USB), in favor of obsessing about the big things (peak oil etc.)

Re:The REAL Bad News is... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13584968)

Be sure to check out A Day Without Oil [adaywithoutoil.com] to find out more.

Why USB? (5, Insightful)

Roguelazer (606927) | about 9 years ago | (#13584503)

Can anybody explain to me why they'd offer USB for this? Personally, I'd prefer it if they'd just give me a line-in jack. It'd work with everything, rather than requiring the car to have drivers for the player. The article's pretty sparse on details, too. Does this require the iPod to be formatted for Windows (in the case of the iPod)? Does it support anything that mounts as a generic USB Mass Storage Device? Is this some idiotic version of Microsoft's CarPC software, and therefore vulnerable to everything that CE is vulnerable to?

Re:Why USB? (2, Interesting)

bhtooefr (649901) | about 9 years ago | (#13584539)

The way they describe it, it [b]HAS[/b] to be USB Mass Storage.

It looks like there's an iPod dock as well, though, so it might have a way to read a Mac-formatted iPod.

Something tells me it's a VERY simple system reading from a USB mass storage controller, and feeding MP3s (and AACs - it'd have to, seeing as there's an iPod dock) into a codec chip.

Re:Why USB? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13584576)


because car companies are cheap?

i know my car purchase is totally dependent
on the stereo inside. nothing else matters.

slashdot is so boring now days.

Re:Why USB? (1)

sabre307 (451605) | about 9 years ago | (#13584560)

They're doing this in USB instead of a line-in jack because they're probably getting kick-backs from Apple and Creative for insenting customers to buy adapters and stuff. If it was line-in, you could go to RadioShack and get a cheap cable.

Re:Why USB? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13584640)

you could go to RadioShack and get a cheap cable
 
That sentence seems a bit contradictory. I've never seen anything cheap inside a radioshack.

Re:Why USB? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13584850)

The products are cheap.
The prices aren't.

Re:Why USB? (4, Informative)

JimmyJava (774754) | about 9 years ago | (#13584641)

the problem with a line-in is the D/A conversion. your volume will always have some sort of hiss to it. put the mp3 player up too loud and it'll crackle. Too low, and you'll get nothing but hiss. Which is why I went with the Dension IceLink for my ipod. It stands in line with my monsoon stereo and acts like a CD changer. The signal is straight digital to the stereo. The only volume to worry about is on the stereo, and all the play controls are on the stereo as well.

Re:Why USB? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13584667)

"I'd prefer ... a line-in jack."

Me, too! I bought a Ford Escape three years ago, and asked around at the couple audio-electronics stores for a small EQ/amp with a line-in. Nobody had anything, and most of them told it would never work. So, I went to eBay, and found what I needed, and two cable harnesses so I wouldn't need to cut any of the factory wires. Took me an hour to solder and insulate all the wire connections. Pulled the radio out and unhooked the wire harness. Plugged one end of the new EQ wiring inbetwixt the radio and the wiring harness. Plugged my Rio Karma into the EQ line-in, and had MY music or Audible books coming out of the speakers. Definitely a must-have when you live in Nowhere, WI, and can only get polkas, country, or top-40/crap. Had to [un,re]plug everything to get the EQ into the glove box, but it's been working great ever since.

First song played: SRV's 'Riviera Paradise'

Re:Why USB? (1)

insignificant1 (872511) | about 9 years ago | (#13585086)

I have an external amp driving my speakers... so the head unit has line-out and the amp has line-in. I just needed to get a splitter to put at the 'line-in' and attached a 3.5mm cable long enough to deliver to me in the driver's seat. Works pretty well, though a pre-amp section would be ideal; this was a cheap solution (splitter+cable+negligible labor) given I already had the amp.

Re:Why USB? (1)

LlamaDragon (97577) | about 9 years ago | (#13584676)

Only benefit I can see is that USB could power some of the items (like the iPod) while a line-in couldn't. But seeing as how most people don't usually take too many 8+ hour car trips, I can't see the benefit of USB over line-in.

And for the people complaining about Digital-to-Analog quality and a hiss sound...give me a break, it's in a car. If you can silence the road/wind noise completely, then you can claim hiss on your car stereo is an issue.

Re:Why USB? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13584744)

The main benefit to USB over a line in is that you can control the ipod from the head unit instead of the ipod itself. I'd much rather be able to use the steering wheel controls for the stereo instead of fumbling around looking for the ipod and then using the ipod screen while driving to select "love shack".

Re:Why USB? (4, Interesting)

devaldez (310051) | about 9 years ago | (#13584761)

Could it be that they want to have digital transfer until the DA converter gets it? In other words, they are providing a higher-quality passthrough than simply sticking the analog output through a bunch of routing.

I'd definitely find digital transfer more compelling than analog...but that's just me.

Re:Why USB? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13584762)

The Volkswagen New Beetle's at year 2004 and up already have a plain line-in jack. The rest of the Volkswagens can be hacked into for line-in using the VWCDPIC [k9spud.com] and the CD Changer cable in the trunk.

Re:Why USB? (1)

MoonBuggy (611105) | about 9 years ago | (#13584772)

Cheapass pendrives/IDE HDDs in USB converter boxes don't have line out, or indeed any of the necessary audio processing chips.

It might not be the _best_ reason in the world, but it does sound like a nice feature to be able to just stick a cheap 40GB drive in your car with a USB adaptor, don't you think?

Re:Why USB? (1)

Roguelazer (606927) | about 9 years ago | (#13584798)

Not really. Then you have to live with the car's (probably abyssmal) menu system, the lack of portability of your audio device, etc.

It's because of the USB drive, yes (3, Interesting)

Gadgetfreak (97865) | about 9 years ago | (#13584880)

The best idea is that you use the stereo to control the music, not the portable player itself. I've been waiting for this for a LONG time. For several years, car stereos have decoded MP3s off of recordable CDs, but nothing would accept the convenience of the USB drive.

Personally, I don't own an iPod. I have a cheap Panasonic cd player that'll do MP3s, and has an am/fm radio for those times I'm not at home, work, or in my car. I'd almost never need a portable player. I bring music with me on my USB drive and play it at work. For $60 I can bring 1 GB of music, and play it on any computer, keep it in my pocket, and not worry about breaking it or someone stealing it.

I like this idea a lot. And USB will be ubiquitous and popular for at least as long as the car would be expected to last.

Re:It's because of the USB drive, yes (1)

B3ryllium (571199) | about 9 years ago | (#13584907)

I've been looking for a USB stereo to put in my Stratus - I saw one from Pyle, one from 'Boss Audio', and one from JVC that might be build on some sort of Boss Audio reference platform.

I think the remote control would be my favourite part, but honestly I'd *LOVE* to have aftermarket steering wheel controls, if they exist.

Re:It's because of the USB drive, yes (1)

insignificant1 (872511) | about 9 years ago | (#13585060)

Mod parent up; this is not due to 'digital transfer' or quality in that sense (which is BS anyway), as higher-rated speculators have suggested. I agree: it is so that the user has a good interface for the car... which is the car's stereo. This is a 'keep your eyes on the road' type of thing; NOT an analog-vs-digital thing. There are portable players that are very difficult to use without really deliberately looking at them.

Cool - hacks soon? (1)

polysylabic psudonym (820466) | about 9 years ago | (#13584505)

I was planning on my next car being a VW - with a bit of luck there'll be a few good VW USB hacks.

Uh oh (5, Funny)

SsShane (754647) | about 9 years ago | (#13584517)

"Found new hardwa-" CRASH

Re:Uh oh (2)

Joey Patterson (547891) | about 9 years ago | (#13584596)

Looks like you'll need to reboot with your USB key.

Re:Uh oh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13584598)

Can it handle an USB driving wheel or job sticks? At least it is not drive by wires ... ;)

Re:Uh oh (1)

JFlex (763276) | about 9 years ago | (#13584763)

Hey hey hey, he said Volkswagen.. NOT Micro$oft...

Nothing new... (2, Informative)

}InFuZeD{ (52430) | about 9 years ago | (#13584525)

There are a few Japanese/Chinese (one of the two) car stereo companies that have been doing this for a while. There's one I was checking out on eBay called "SoundStorm" that allowed for USB and Secure Digital slots. I'm not sure if you could drop an iPod shuffle in there or anything, but my guess is you can.

I think JVC might even make a model with USB and SD. I know they at least make one with SD.

Regardless, VW isn't really being innovative, they're just picking up on some cheap stereo technology and (hopefully) improving it (my guess is these $90 stereos with SD and USB aren't too great sound-wise).

Re:Nothing new... (2, Insightful)

pe1rxq (141710) | about 9 years ago | (#13584579)

A $90 stereo will probably be better than 90% of the users can hear. The speakers have a far greater influence on that. The other 10% is usually fooling themselves (ie the kind that thinks they hear better with their wallets empty).

Jeroen

its about time (1)

Bluntzilla (898192) | about 9 years ago | (#13584527)

my buddy mounted a 19" lcd and mini case in his ford explorer with all wireless accessories. thats what im waiting for in cars...

IOU USB? (1)

Joey Patterson (547891) | about 9 years ago | (#13584535)

just got my Touran... sans USB.

Can U get VW to give U an IOU for USB?

More Bad News: No Vorbis (2, Interesting)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | about 9 years ago | (#13584536)

``The bad news? I just got my Touran... sans USB.''

That, and I bet it doesn't support Ogg Vorbis. I understand this is because of lack of consumer demand and visibility, but it still hurts me that support for an open, royaltee-free and superior format is so utterly lacking.

Actually (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13584549)

It does support Ogg Vorbis, but only because that's the official music codec of David Hasselhoff, and you know... Germans love David Hasselhoff.

Re:More Bad News: No Vorbis (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13584660)

If you're so obsessed with "freedom" to rip your music into a format which nothing supports, Volkswagen isn't really expecting to get $20,000 from you for one of its cars. Knowing you, you wouldn't buy the car unless they agreed to give you the source code for the onboard computers and the complete schematics for every part down to the bare metal.

Re:More Bad News: No Vorbis (4, Insightful)

R.D.Olivaw (826349) | about 9 years ago | (#13585106)

" If you're so obsessed with "freedom" to rip your music into a format which nothing supports, Volkswagen isn't really expecting to get $20,000 from you for one of its cars. Knowing you, you wouldn't buy the car unless they agreed to give you the source code for the onboard computers and the complete schematics for every part down to the bare metal."

really? My whole music collection is in ogg and my car is a BMW. It's not an all or nothing deal. If VW or BMW want to sell me a car that would only srive on the roads of their choosing then I wouldn't buy it either. As it happens, they drive on the 'open standards' roads. he didn't ask for a player with schematics. he asked for a player that would play the music format of his choosing.

Finally! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13584537)

I can plug in a force-feedback steering wheel!

Re:Finally! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13584599)

Mod parent up, that's damn funny :-)

USB car stereo (4, Informative)

amembleton (411990) | about 9 years ago | (#13584562)

You can buy in-car stereo's that have USB connectors, then you could put them into any car. My car stereo has a line in, so I can plug any audio device into it.

The following are examples of what you can get in the UK, (USB in-car stereo wise):
Goodmans GCE7205USB2 CD/Radio [argos.co.uk] - £89.99
Acoustic Solution CD/MP3 with USB Tuner [argos.co.uk] - £99.99

They're both from Argos, you could probably get them cheaper from an internet only store. There were some more expensive though better brand name stereos at halfords, but I can't find any details on their website.

Re:USB car stereo (1)

AchilleTalon (540925) | about 9 years ago | (#13584729)

And what about this gizmo [thinkgeek.com] ?

For the sole purpose of listening at music, it seems to do the job. I don't have this gizmo, I rather than use a special cassette with a stereo jack to my Zaurus 6000-SL and it's working fine.

What would be better than a USB jack IMHO, a CF slot or SD slot to insert 2GB of music on a post stamp directly in a Ogg/MP3 player.

Re:USB car stereo (1)

amembleton (411990) | about 9 years ago | (#13584782)

They're great, although illigal to use in the UK!

My local garage is selling them, or similar ones and it has to state on the packaging that it is illigal to use, but of course they still sell them.

good news? (2, Funny)

bokmann (323771) | about 9 years ago | (#13584629)

but did you save a bunch of money on your car insurance?

USB upgrades ... (1)

thrill12 (711899) | about 9 years ago | (#13584637)

I guess that's the next step, upgrading your VW firmware using your USB-connection.
And the step after that ? Installing your own applications on your VW using that same USB-connection:
Pimp My VW

But ofcourse you knew that already :)

Yes, but does it run L... (0, Redundant)

Seehund (86897) | about 9 years ago | (#13584647)

... sorry.
Does it play Ogg Vorbis?

it's about time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13584712)

The automakers are way behind in this area. A simple line in would be a start. The usb is nice but I have to wonder (w/o rtfa) with what players it would be compatible. I'd really like to see apple make a car stereo. I spend about 10 hours a week listening to podcasts/music in my car.

DRM too? (2, Funny)

twiddlingbits (707452) | about 9 years ago | (#13584752)

Will the player enforce DRM on anything you stick in? Once the RIAA knows about this and has it's way you'll be just as subject to the DRM issues in your car as on your PC!

"I'm sorry Hal, I can't let you play that, it is pirated"

Re:DRM too? (1)

Knossos (814024) | about 9 years ago | (#13584841)

Wouldn't it say I'm sorry Dave?

Good point though, they won't make a fuss out of it until more manufacturers are doing it with their cars though.

Re:DRM too? (1)

dreamquick (229454) | about 9 years ago | (#13584883)

"I'm sorry Hal, I can't let you play that, it is pirated"

And you call yourself a geek! Two acceptable alternatives would have been...

HAL: "I'm sorry *Dave*, I can't let you play that"

HAL: "I'm sorry *Cowboyneal*, I can't let you play that"

Re:DRM too? (1)

twiddlingbits (707452) | about 9 years ago | (#13584995)

LOL..my brain works faster than my fingers and I was off thinking about something else and I should have previewed my post before I sent it. My bad. Hal, open the (i)Pod Bay doors!

Here's a picture: (3, Informative)

Timo_UK (762705) | about 9 years ago | (#13584766)

http://www.germancarblog.com/2005/09/vw-get-connec ted.html [germancarblog.com] I saw this at the IAA car show yesterday, and it looks cool. I saw the Ipod adapter as well, and it simulates a CD-canger, so only the first 5 playlists are accessible as disks 1-5, the 6th disks are lists 1-5 together.

What it appears to be... (3, Interesting)

emeb2 (536129) | about 9 years ago | (#13584771)

For those who can't be bothered to RTFA, the reason this is different from a simple line-in on the existing stereo: It seems that they're putting a USB host port on the in-dash audio system which allows it to mount your portable digital audio player as USB Storage. This allows the system to navigate and play your MP3/AAC/etc files using the in-dash display, rather than requiring you to fumble with the portable's UI. That also implies that it will play it using the in-dash device's decoder. Of course, it depends on what kind of portable you've got on whether this is an improvement or not. Personally, I like just having a line-in.

a car that brakes when... (0, Offtopic)

lonedroid (888148) | about 9 years ago | (#13584773)

a car that brakes when you push on the brakes pedal.

I'm all for devices that helps to drive the car, but only as long as, in last resort, you've got physical control on the car. In France we've seen several cars where the "cruise control" when berzerk and the car wouldn't decelerate anymore, people getting locked in their car (usually there's a manual procedure to open the windows/sunroof but not everybody is aware of this, etc.), etc. To summarize, lots of stupid, dumb "electronic failures" (really software failures 99% of the time).

Can you trust such a manufacturer to safely implement USB support?

Recently I had a Land Rover that wouldn't want to pass the 2nd gear and whose 1st gear was "hi" only when I was selecting "low 4wd" (got "fixed" by a reset of the device at the dealer). So this Land Rover has an nearly bullet-proof engine, but is f*scked up by stupid electronics. Sad. Really.

All I can say is "What The F*cking F*ck?" (I didn't coined that question).

I, for one, don't welcome our new "let's build cars full of gizmos that needs to be rebooted as often as certain mainstream OSes" overlords.

I may be part of a small minority, but there *are* people who wants a car that simply brakes when you hit the brakes pedal (I accept a device, like ABS, that helps, but only as long as if it fails the pedal still acts on the brake). Even if it's a niche market there are people, today, who buys, says, a Lotus Elise... A car that brakes when you push on the brakes pedal.

By the way, I'd like a car where all primary functions (moving, switching gears, braking, turning, etc.) were on an completely independant system than the gizmos. But it's not the way it is for the moment: "oh, you activated the wipers three seconds after switching to 3rd gear, that causes an IllegalStateException!".

So, well... consumer, have fun with your gizmo'ed VW TDIxtv-USB 2.0 "please reboot me", I'll stick with my late 80's 911 carrera (where the only piece of electronic controls the injection)...

And I hope you don't forget to ph34r 3133t h4x0rs for they'll be "own0r1ng y0ur piece-of-consumer-crap by Bluetooth" at the traffic light.

On a positive note: don't worry, that's just the beginning. Soon you'll get spam and "automatic updates" even if you didn't ask for it!

:)

Bad news? (0)

Moderator (189749) | about 9 years ago | (#13584775)

The bad news? I just got my Touran..

I'm sorry.

questions (1)

Barbarian (9467) | about 9 years ago | (#13584840)

Will the car computer fry if your kid sticks something conductive in the USB slot? (the way your home pc will)?

Why not use bluetooth?

Mobile Computing (2, Interesting)

Doc Ruby (173196) | about 9 years ago | (#13584848)

How long before VW releases an iBook designed by their engineers to look like the car into which we plug it? Like "Eddie Bauer edition" SUVs. There are already some notebooks designed by car designers, so this should happen immediately.

But things get really interesting when the desktop and dashboard of these devices start to converge. That "VWBook" will surely have some applets installed for a UI of the car. A later model VW will probably have dashboard displays of "computer" info, like MP3 consoles, messaging status, maps and other "travel documents". And "car hacks" to reprogram the engine computer for performance, economy, or just a throatier roar will probably worm their way through the community's hard drives.

That USB connection will start to converge the two devices. Our desktops already need to work more like dashboards, helping us keep moving rather than representing an anchor we carry with us. And various navigation/entertainment features for the passenger riding shotgun (or the backseat driver, or the insane multitasking driver) will require the flexibility and complexity of a desktop environment.

In the future, Americans will never leave our cars. We'll drive them up into our offices, whether mobile, temporary or just at the mall. We'll keep the same immersive "computing" environment whether at the wheel or at the word processor. The USB connection is the spark jumping the gap. Let the good times roll.

Fast Lane (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | about 9 years ago | (#13584886)

I already plug my Treo's stereo headset jack into my Kenwood car stereo's AUX inputs. I don't have a control cable to fake the stereo into working the Treo like it's an in-trunk CD changer. But instead I have the Treo on the dash, using its controls. Playing music off the 1GB SDIO card, or over a Shoutcast stream (like from my collecion at home, over my cablemodem to 3G). This USB connection will be a better integration, especially if I can plug better controls on my steering wheel into it to control everything. What it really needs is a projected display into the windshield. That will really improve my weaving and speeding on the road, as that "driving music" takes center stage ;).

VW Goes USB (1)

PCWizardsinc (678228) | about 9 years ago | (#13584900)

As a Prius owner, I for one am very glad that computers have made their way to the dash. I love the GPS and Console control of the Climate, Stereo, and of Course the connection to my phone through BlueTooth!

What about Skoda? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13584935)

Will Skoda get this too? Remember VW is Skoda's parent company...

Great - one more thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13584960)

that will get in my way of yanking the crappy factory head unit and ilk out before I can put my high end Alpine hardware in.

How about information about your car's health? (1)

MindPrison (864299) | about 9 years ago | (#13585001)

This information could save your life.

I'm not sure it has been done already, I simply don't know. But personally I think the stuff about Mp3's etc...are just dillydally which is fun to have but a far more useful function would be to implement some sort of one-way communication with the car such as making the car create you a "WARNING".TXT document telling you:

You're low on oil levels, if you keep ignoring the low-warning you could (insert possible scenarios here) etc, please maintain now!

It could also contain information about the local workshops and telephone numbers - so you could get in touch and have your car serviced immedately...not using that age old excuse...I'm too busy to look for a service-tech phone number..

I can easily forsee useful functions here, imagine a bluetooth enabled cell phone and your car have been given access to the messaging part....it could remind you what state your car is in etc.

I'm not kidding - this could potentially save your life.

Re:How about information about your car's health? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13585087)

It's called a oil pressure gauge and a check engine light. That coolant temp gauge helps, too.

I don't see why anyone would need a computer to tell them to change their frickin' oil.
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