The Future Of In-Car Entertainment
Internet connectivity is coming to your car.
Web2Carz Senior Writer
Published: October 25th, 2011
The auto industry was once the key to the success of audio formats like CDs, cassettes and 8-track tapes. But ever since the iPod and iPhone made portable media players the dominant force in entertainment delivery, carmakers have been scrambling to catch up.
Related Vehicles: ford | chevrolet | toyota | chrysler
The iPod revolution was barely noticed by automakers, who for years offered no way for drivers to plug their portable music players into their car stereos. Full iPod/car audio integration remained a problem only the aftermarket seemed interested in solving. Only now, 10 years after the iPod was introduced, do most cars offer the option of an "aux in" port.
But now the "cloud" is coming to your car, and things on your dashboard are about to get a whole lot different.
This year Ford announced it would begin phasing out CD players altogether, and they, like other auto manufacturers, are betting that cloud-based systems are the radio waves of the future.
Whether through a smart-phone-tethered system or a stand-alone in-dash player, the internet will soon be integrated into your driving experience. Eventually, cloud-connected cars could offer enhanced safety, navigation, and energy efficiency features, but for now the most significant changes will be in how you entertain yourself while you drive.
This is bad news not only for CD manufacturers, but for both terrestrial and satellite radio as well. Web-based services like Pandora, Last.fm and Spotify allow users to create customized radio stations or access their personal digital music collection, without the constant commercial interruptions of traditional radio and without the $12 monthly subscription fee paid by SiriusXM subscribers.
So while carmakers may have slept through the iPod era, they're all racing to embrace the cloud-based future. Pioneer and Blaupunkt are both developing internet radio receivers, and OnStar's "MyNetwork" feature offers not just online music services, but Facebook and Twitter integration as well. Ford's "SYNC," Toyota's "Entune," Chrysler's "Uconnect," and Chevy's "MyLink" systems all offer internet radio options as well.
[sources: Ford SYNC, Toyota Entune, Chrysler Uconnect, Chevy MyLink]