Archives For bluetooth

Credit: Garmin

Credit: Garmin

Garmin has a lot more planned than making personal nav devices — and they’re even going beyond OE infotainment systems.

They introduced a new platform at CES. K2 promises to be more than a mere navigation add-on.

It will feature a 10-inch touchscreen that will function like a large smartphone with online connectivity.

Another larger screen though will serve as the car’s instrument cluster.

With Bluetooth, drivers would be able to connect their phones and have the system deal with calls and messages. Voice command will make it safe for people to access features and data while driving.

The system may offer even more when it actually goes into a production car. As of now it is not slated for any vehicle.

Read more about the “dashboard of the near future” from CNET here.

The 2013 Chevrolet Spark.
Credit: Wikipedia.

Who needs CD players in cars anymore?!

Probably not the younger people likely to buy GM’s new Chevrolet Spark LT.

Connect your “source unit” — that is, your smartphone — to Chevy’s MyLink and control the system via a 7-inch touchscreen. Below the screen, there are only four buttons for power, home and volume up and down — and there are also just three knobs for the simple climate control system. There is no CD player (in fact, General Motors is apparently betting that you won’t even notice that it’s gone, because the Spark’s target audience already carries their tunes around on their smartphones).

When it’s powered down, the Spark’s dashboard is surprisingly simple. One CNET reviewer said, “Turn the key and you’ll find, as I did, that this is a case of less being more.”

Utilize Bluetooth for hands-free calling or to stream audio and of course you can use applicable phone apps. In addition, you can purchase BringGo for navigation. The future is now for in-car infotainment.

Read more about the Chevrolet Spark LT from CNET here.

California Legalizes Hands-Free Texting While Driving

Speaking of hands-free calling, this news didn’t make major headlines when it was announced a little while ago, but it represents significant legislation for consumers and automakers, as well as smartphone manufacturers.

California is following in the footsteps of Idaho and making it legal to text while driving, provided drivers use voice-operated technology for hands-free texting and email. Of course, this still doesn’t address the issue of distracted driving.

People don’t have to use their hands to text but studies have shown that distraction remains the problem.

Read more about the new bill from here.

A closely-watched new report by J.D. Power and Associates says that even though the quality of new vehicles has hit an all-time high, consumers are growing extremely aggravated by confusing in-car tech and “infotainment” products.

Ugh, it’s fine to complain about the tech, but how scarey is it that we’re complaining about the TVs in our cars?

— Get’s full report here or MSN Auto Blog’s here.

The J.D. Power study emphasized that “there are year-over-year gains in most areas of initial quality, with one notable exception — audio, entertainment and navigation problems have increased by 8 percent from 2011.” It said: “This continues a recent trend, as problems in this category have increased by 45 percent since 2006 while other categories have improved by 24 percent, on average.”

Hands-free phone systems ranked very high among complaints from drivers — with voice recognition problems getting the lion’s share of the gripes, according to the report.

A lot of those problems are just consumers figuring our what the heck is going on.

The mind-boggling (and once rare) hands-free systems are suddenly growing to be very common in new vehicles and buyers are just thrown into the deep end when it comes to figuring out the new tech, according to Dave Sargent, J.D. Power’s VP of Vehicle Research in the Global Auto Ops Division.

No matter what led to the disconnect — drivers seem to be screaming in the survey: Educate me better on my in-car tech, or take a different direction!

Read the full results of the report here.