Here’s the thing,
Mobile communications devices permeate every facet of our lives now. Anyone who doubts me, simply go to a nice restaurant and look around you. Even loving married couples on their one date night a month and young lovebirds on their first date are buried face-first in their phones. Most states have outlawed this action while in motion in your vehicle, but automakers are providing another way to get your fix: AndroidAuto and Apple Carplay.
For those out of the loop on the latest and greatest in-car technologies, AndroidAuto and Apple Carplay are infotainment systems that allow you to project your apps and ultimately your device operating systems onto your main dash screen. Even though it’s technically not against the law, I’m sure it’s just as distracting as it would be on the actual device. However, cheaters never prosper.
The manufacturers that are indulging their customers with these setups are ultimately shooting themselves in the foot. The companies that have introduced the technology have rolled it out across all levels of their lineup, which has led to an interesting downside. Customer now have access to high end features while paying less at the dealer. Think about the cars in the past that have had inborn navigation: These have traditionally only been the higher level trims of the brand’s upscale models. Now people can get the entry level model, and use their navigation app of choice on their phone.
It’s nothing new, people have been doing it for years. But it’s odd that manufacturers have made it that much easier to walk away from premium models. Because statistically, technology has been winning out in the market for the better part of the last decade. Millennials, those damn Millennials, are buying cars with their technology brains and forgoing driving performance. For the best indicator of what kind of effect this has had on the market, look at the compact car segment. The standard level Focus ST is cheaper than the non-ST Titanium level. The Golf SEL dwarfs the GTI S by almost $3000, and nearly ties the GTI SE in pricing. Toyota has dropped any pretense that they have any intention of making a sporty version of the Corolla at all, instead opting to focus on in-car technology.
So what is the next step after putting your phone on your infotainment screen? Well it’s hard to say. This one was born from the popularity of the cell phones, and the next one will be linked to the next big thing in out of car technology. Being that wearables seem to be the technology on the rise, maybe they will be integrated with the next generation of automobiles. Wearable transportation? Somebody get me Tony Stark on the phone…
And that, that’s the thing.