By on July 25, 2016

2017 ford fusion sport

Ford just ran through its 2017 product lineup, shouting, “You get upgraded Sync 3, and you get upgraded Sync 3…!”

Today, the automaker announced that a new version of its Sync 3 infotainment system will be available on every 2017 Ford product. The system is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, meaning your phone never had it so good. (Read More…)

By on July 20, 2016

2013 Ford Fiesta SYNC basic, Image: Ford

“I hate this thing,” my significant other exclaimed as she tried for the upteenth time to switch from line to USB input in our 2015 Ford Fiesta.

I was in the driver’s seat and she in the front passenger seat as she extended her hand across the cabin to depress the voice recognition button on the steering wheel. This, in her mind, is the easiest way to change the audio input source on the basic version of Ford SYNC, the much-derided infotainment system from the Blue Oval.

And she’s absolutely right. It is the easiest way to do what should be a simple function in the Fiesta. Hit the VR button, say “USB Input,” and SYNC switches from the default line input to USB. (For whatever reason, the system doesn’t remembers that we use USB input every single time.)

This method of switching audio input is also the most dangerous way to perform this function as a passenger, and I’m about to tell you why.

(Read More…)

By on December 28, 2015

BMW Gesture Control

BMW’s latest and greatest infotainment system doesn’t need knobs, man. The automaker announced Monday that it would show off its concept for infotainment next month, dubbed “AirTouch.”

The system, which improves upon the one-finger wagging, waving and gesticulating already in its new 7-Series sedan, would use sensors between the dash and rearview mirror to interpret what your five fingers were looking for.

Was that a phone call that you wanted to make? Did you want the BMW to switch to radio? Activate navigation to direct you home? Oh, you were just waving at that guy. Gotcha.

(Read More…)

By on December 11, 2015

Golf TFT

Volkswagen announced Friday it would show off “developments in electromobility as well as the next generation of connectivity” at the Consumer Electronics Show next month in Las Vegas.

“For instance, Volkswagen will give quite a clear glimpse of the latest developments in in-car infotainment that are on the verge of being launched onto the market. This will see innovations such as the Golf R Touch concept car finding their way into Volkswagen’s broad product portfolio,” the automaker said in a statement.

That’s probably possibly what we’re looking at here in a B-roll video made by the automaker obtained by TTAC through less-than-official channels. (Read More…)

By on August 27, 2015

2015.5 Volvo Sensus Connect Infotainment Navigation

I’m the type of guy that reads the instruction manual. Admittedly, I’m in the lower quartile of the 1 percent of humans who actually read the book, and there are even fewer still who admit to reading it — most people don’t, and if they do, it’s only when they need to.

But why? Don’t people know that they’re full of good stuff?

Did you know the newest generation Mini Cooper has launch control? I wouldn’t have known that if I didn’t spot it in the manual. Also, I wouldn’t have known how to sync via Bluetooth to a circa-2013 Volkswagen car (the PIN is buried in the manual, it’s 1212 or something like that, if I recall correctly).

According to a recent report, most new car buyers don’t know what their cars do, and quite frankly, they don’t care. They should. (Read More…)

By on April 30, 2015

a genuine british lawn ornament

We go down memory lane this morning and look at some of the great cars British Leyland didn’t build.

(Read More…)

By on January 8, 2015

FCA Uconnect Access Services

Autonomous alien luxury pods and royalty-free hydrogen patents aren’t the only things coming onto the stage during the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Today, we’ll show you the latest and greatest from BMW, FCA, Audi and Ford, with the help from our brothers and sisters over at AutoGuide.

(Read More…)

By on June 27, 2014

tumblr_m9hum9gnmd1rsen2io1_500At yesterday’s Google I/O keynote speech, Google laid out its vision for Android Auto (reported here yesterday), which is quite similar to Apple’s CarPlay. I’ve ranted here before about Apple’s CarPlay when it was first announced and after more details came out last March. Both have the idea that your phone can hijack the screen in your car. What’s newsworthy from Google is that we have an enlarged list of vendors who are playing along. (Wired has the full list. Suffice to say that you’ll have plenty of choices if you want a car that goes both ways, if you know what I mean. Most interesting factoid: Tesla isn’t playing with either Apple or Google. Hear that? It’s the sounds of thousands of alpha-nerd Tesla owners crying out in terror.)

Today, I want to address why you should stop worrying and learn to love having your phone in charge of your car’s telematics display.

(Read More…)

By on April 19, 2014

file_CO1676_Flexible_Smartphone_Docking

Former Hyundai executive John Krafcik recently spoke about connectivity and autonomy and of the possibility that electronic gizmos in our cars may make us less connected to the driving experience. That’s not the only challenge automakers and drivers face when it comes to electronics in cars. After seeing the missteps that Ford has made with Sync and MyFordTouch, with systems seemingly too complicated or not reliable enough for many drivers, it appears to me that the challenge of chasing a technological treadmill to try and keep cars, which most consumers keep for years, electronically up to date, is a fools errand. Comments to Derek’s post on Krafcik’s statement indicated that there’s definitely a market for less complicated car electronics. People have asked, “why does my car need to duplicate the more up-to-date services that my smartphone provides?” Well, someone at Continental Tire’s electronics and instrument division, VDO, asked that same question and they came up with the Flexible Smartphone Docking Station. (Read More…)

By on March 16, 2014
IMG_0973

1950 Muntz Jet. Full gallery here.

When Chrysler touts its well-performing 8.4 inch UConnect touchscreen, somewhere Earl “Madman” Muntz smiles. When drivers use UConnect and other manufacturers’ infotainment systems  to play their favorite music Muntz’s smile broadens. You see it was Muntz who started the convention of measuring video screens diagonally in the early days of television. He was also an important pioneer when it came to automotive audio systems, inventing and selling the first affordable car stereo systems. Muntz could also be attributed with selling the first modern personal luxury car, or even the first American sports car (though Crosley buffs would demur). Not only did he influence the way people entertained themselves behind the wheel and at home, perhaps more importantly he influenced the way mass consumer goods, including cars, are manufactured and marketed. (Read More…)

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