Vellum Venom Vignette: Less Is More With In Car Entertainment

Sajeev Mehta
by Sajeev Mehta
vellum venom vignette less is more with in car entertainment

I’ve been accused of Automotive Hipsterism for bragging about my bare bones Ford truck instead of aspiring to expensive vehicles. It used to be different, back when top-drawer dashboards were more Malevich and less Pollock in design. Because good design embraces Less is More, while poor design over thinks the solution.

While automakers don’t always receive public drubbings, In Car Entertainment (ICE) scope creep is an ergonomic nightmare. I reckon rising purchasing prices encourage a blank check for ICE overreach. People gladly buy the stuff, the technology is readily available, so why not include everything but the kitchen sink?

Because the added value is an ergonomic liability: we got problems when Audi’s handwriting recognition is an ICE-reality.

The folks at Car Design Research highlight In Car Entertainment’s problem and offer a solution: via contrasting the new S63 AMG and two entry-level vehicles outside of America’s reach. Make note of the quote:

“Spend time in the cheapest cars available today, and what you realise is that much of the complexity and feature set added into expensive cars actually provides little functional or emotional benefit. It’s a five-percent ‘nice to have’ or ‘wow’ style feature, that looks impressive in the showroom but then you never use out on the road.”

The “bottom up” notion that Car Design Research suggests is fine example of Less is More. Why spend hundreds for navigation thousands for a technology package that uploads Google directions when the FREE Google Maps App does more with less?

Not to mention every other smartphone app maker that’s years ahead of automaker’s tech, but let’s dig deeper into Google Maps:

  • turn by turn navigation
  • real-time traffic re-routing
  • points of interest
  • store contact information
  • hours of operation
  • customer reviews
  • a “see inside” virtual tour, finding the most romantic table before you pick up your date

Let’s also note that Google’s app is regularly updated for free, sans dealership visit or hardware upgrade. In Car Entertainment needs a reboot, and the smartphone is the source: witness Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The dashboard is the secondary display. So what’s stopping this from becoming an ICE reality?

Privacy, durability, usability, API availability, crash testing, litigation threats or IP concerns?

You tell me, Best and Brightest: because Less is still More.

[Lead image: Shutterstock user My Life Graphic]

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2 of 114 comments
  • Npaladin2000 Npaladin2000 on Dec 10, 2014

    You know, if people's comments won't post reliably, they might find themselves frequenting other sites more and this site less. Just sayin.

  • Speedlaw Speedlaw on Jan 01, 2015

    Time marches on. My 2003 BMW with an "Aux In" and a $45 Kinvio bluetooth button works better than the 2008 Acura Tech Package and is way simpler than the 2012 VW system in the TDI. The intelligence and voice recognition in the phone is better than the Acura or VW systems. At this point, the smartphone will nav better than the other two systems as well.

  • Analoggrotto As we Tesla owners receive our life energy from the greatest son of the gods of all time, Elon Musk; His cherubs and His nephilim may remove whatever they wish from us for unto him we owe all for our superiority above all the rest of humanity.
  • Kcflyer Nice to see California giving NY some competition to be the worst run state in the union.
  • Wolfwagen I see my comment was deleted (BTW nice way to censor) so i will say it again:GTFO here with the pseudo "wealth distribution" BS. A crime is a crime is a crime.Its a slippery slope, what happens next, Jail a rich guy when he kills a pedestrian and let the poor guy who kills a pedestrian walk? What about if the poor guy is a crappy driver and has the record to prove it then what?Or we could go crazy and just institute the death penalty across the board for every driving infraction. That will make people better drivers or stop driving altogether which will make the greenies happy (damm it I just gave them an idea - SOB!!!)
  • Wolfwagen No. Bring back the J80 with an inline six and reduced electronics (i.e. no giant touch screen) and they will probably sell like hotcakes
  • David S. " test vehicles sometimes make sudden stops when uncertain about how to navigate traffic."??? Test vehicles are programmed by humans, HUMANS sometimes make sudden stops when uncertain about how to navigate traffic, Duh!!