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Apple CarPlay Rollout Delayed By Some Carmakers 76

Posted by Soulskill
from the methods-to-increase-auto-accidents dept.
Lucas123 writes: Some car makers are delaying the implementation of Apple's CarPlay iPhone interface for vehicle infotainment systems. The delays, which are prompting manufacturers such as Mercedes, Volvo and Honda to push their announcement from 2014 to 2015, appear to be related to a few snags in the integration process or in choosing which model cars should have the middleware. At the same time, many of the automakers rolling out CarPlay are also implementing Android Auto, which will provide a vehicle head unit user interface for Android smartphones. Analysts believe the addition of Android Auto earlier this year may also be causing delays because manufacturers want to be able to announce availability of both platforms in their new model vehicles.
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Apple CarPlay Rollout Delayed By Some Carmakers

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  • by WilyCoder (736280) on Friday August 22, 2014 @01:42PM (#47731701)

    "Analysts believe the addition of Android Auto earlier this year may also be causing delays because manufacturers want to be able to announce availability of both platforms in their new model vehicles."

    Put Tim Cook on a treadmill-generator to burn off his rage and we could power NYC

  • "USB mass storage".

    I know, mind-blowing, eh? Instead of supporting fifteen different incompatible protocols to get people's phones to talk to your massively sub-par onboard electronics, you just treat everything like a dumb ol' external HDD, and they all just work like magic. Who'da thunk it?
    • by AvitarX (172628) <me.brandywinehundred@org> on Friday August 22, 2014 @01:48PM (#47731759) Journal

      No thanks, I want my phone's maps and navigation on my car display.

      Music subscription services too.

      I'd love to have a car interface to my phone apps on my car's screen, something like chromecast, but gets data from the phone instead of the internet, and the ability to send back interactions from a knob, a couple buttons, and touch.

      • by ArhcAngel (247594)

        No thanks, I want my phone's maps and navigation on my car display.

        You might have just hit on the reason for the delay. They charge $600 for that GPS system in the car and I'm sure Garmin, Tom Tom, Magellan, & Nokia are lobbying to keep their turf safe.

        Music subscription services too.

        I'd love to have a car interface to my phone apps on my car's screen, something like chromecast, but gets data from the phone instead of the internet, and the ability to send back interactions from a knob, a couple buttons, and touch.

        You mean [wikipedia.org] like [computerworld.com] MirrorLink? [mirrorlink.com]

        • by AvitarX (172628)

          Yes, I think a set of expectations for mirror link could be perfect, and perhaps a slightly more intelligent display that allows for better than VNC communication.

        • They charge $600 for that GPS system in the car and I'm sure Garmin, Tom Tom, Magellan, & Nokia are lobbying to keep their turf safe.

          Garmin & TomTom already make (expensive) navigation apps, so they really shouldn't care about the revenue source changing.

          It's the car makers that get most of the cash from those way expensive in-car GPS systems (which are invariably horrible compared to the most modest GPS app).

        • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

          Toyota and Subaru have offered Mirrorlink on their head units for a couple of years at least now. Whatever lobbying the sat nav manufacturers have been doing it doesn't seem to be working.

          Mirrorlink for screen mirroring (based on VNC) and MTP for media sharing is all we need and already exist.

          • by ArhcAngel (247594)
            Yeah but MirrorLink isn't Apple and really hasn't caught on so well. It just may be the thought of an Apple friendly version scared them enough to try harder.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        This is how Android Auto works from what I understand. The phone runs the apps and the car display just displays an H.264 stream from the phone. Touch events, buttons, wheels etc... are configured by the auto manufacturer and map back to events in the Android Auto SDK that application developers take advantage of. I received a demo of Android Auto installed in an Audi this year at Google I/O.

      • I'm not sure why we can't have nice things^Hboth.

        It's not hard to make a device compatible with USB mass storage. It doesn't even have to be a top menu choice. Just bury it in settings under 'Advanced' and savior the irony.

        • by AvitarX (172628)

          I suppose that's correct, and perhaps they'll have both.

          What I am really looking forward to is buying a new car, and having the interface upgrade over the life of the car. Things that were nifty in a car ten years ago aren't the same now (though with my lack of imagination I can't think of anything past navigation, podcasts, and music, others may, or may make those things better).

          XM radio called me about my free trial on my new (used) car, and it was like I was in a time warp, I live in a world of Pandora,

          • by mlts (1038732)

            XM still has a place. They used to offer a deal where you paid $800, and the car receiver had permanent access. Forever. Vehicle changes hands? Irrelevant. Then, it was useful for some alternative on a long trip, or listening to a talk radio station (although some of the AM stations in rural areas can go in some strange subject directions.)

            Oddly enough, I have been happy with Ford's SYNC service. It works well with both Android and iOS, and can handle handsfree calls as well as A2DP.

            Time will tell...

            • by AvitarX (172628)

              Yes, I'd really like it to be open standard too, which appears to be what MirrorPlay has going.

              The Android Auto has a lot of nice features though, such as giving GPS data to the phone (from an external GPS), external mobile antennas, etc.

              Considering it's pretty much a video stream, and some preset data to send back, it really should be open, or FRAND at least.

              I had a rental with sync 3 or 4 years ago, I hated it. It had the worse UI ever (note, this was 3 or 4 years ago, when it was relatively new sauce).

              To

          • What I am really looking forward to is buying a new car, and having the interface upgrade over the life of the car.

            Well you better hope it's not Android then. They can't even give updates over the much shorter lifespan of a mobile phone. You're lucky if you get one update.

        • by jrumney (197329)

          It's not hard to make a device compatible with USB mass storage.

          It is hard. USB MS exposes the internal storage as a block device for the USB host to do with as it pleases. The device has to avoid using the filesystem it is exposing for the duration that it is plugged in to avoid corruption, and when unplugged it has to dump any media indexes and reindex everything, as it has no way of knowing what changed.

          This is why modern Android devices are now MTP only. With MTP, file access is via high level comman

      • by Kolisar (665024)

        I like having access to my phone's functions (in particular my car's ability to connect to my iPhone for music), but I do not want to be forced to use my phone for GPS or any other functionality that can be built into the car. I know that built-in GPS systems are out of date as soon as the DVD is made, but I do not want to be forced to use my data plan for functionality that previously did not require it. I do not know how much cellular data the GPS would use, but having a built in navigation system current

        • by AvitarX (172628)

          The data use of GPS approaches zero (I am at 50-100MB / month for Maps, I use Maps a few times a day, and Navigation a few times a week)

        • Even if built-in nav services in phone used much data at all (they do not) you could still buy any number of offline map apps that require no data use at all.

          But it's really better to use a connected navigation program, that can route you around traffic as needed.

      • So it's like this: Normally you're phone is an peripheral to your car dashboard/radio. With CarPlay, it's the other way around. So yes, I agree. Maps, navigation, audio, handsfree, etc, all that is just a firmware update away. None of this proprietary BS that costs an arm and a leg, often outdated, and soon be obsolete in five years anyways. With a standard API, it makes that a whole lot easier to manage. Ditto for the Android equivalent.

      • Miracast (wifi direct) was made to solve this.
    • by TigerTime (626140)

      That's what should have been done 5+ years ago. We've moved well beyond that. However i do disagree in the method that they are moving forward with of competing technologies. It should be something like "Bluetooth 5.0" that supports Audio and Video. Frankly, if Bluetooth had really kept up, we wouldn't need these diverging methods.

      • by laird (2705)

        Except for power, of course. Plug in a phone into a cable and it's got high speed data and power. Connect a phone via bluetooth and it's got decent speed data but a power drain.

        • by Richy_T (111409)

          You don't know what device you are connecting to so you don't know if power is an issue or not (realistically it will be but it's an assumption worth questioning).

          OTOH, there are USB docks out there that do audio and video so perhaps that might have been an option to go to. I have no idea how compatible they would be with Android but I believe they just connect as standard USB devices with no fancy drivers needed.

      • They've made this "bluetooth 5.0" you speak of. It's called Miracast.
        • by jrumney (197329)

          They've made this "bluetooth 5.0" you speak of. It's called Miracast.

          More accurately, it was Bluetooth 3.0. Miracast is a pure WiFi solution. Bluetooth 3.0 supports establishing video streams over Bluetooth which are handed off to WiFi. In theory. I've never seen an actual working implementation of Bluetooth 3.0 in a commercial product.

    • Where did you find a modern android phone that supports usb mass storage, my S4 only does MTP.

      • by mspohr (589790)

        Most "modern" Android phones have USB host support and you an use a USB OTG plug for mass storage.

  • ...much about the carplay system, but if its not installed in BMWs i3 and i8 then there must be a disturbance in The iForce.

    • by ArhcAngel (247594)
      You're car must be old because most of the new vehicles I have looked at recently are no longer capable of supporting an aftermarket head unit because the system is so integrated with the rest of the vehicle.
      • 2010 RAV4. Aftermarket bracket (custom molded for make/model) turns it into Double-DIN or Single-DIN (bottom half being a little for phone, billfold, or whatever). Check the link below to see stuff is available for your car including the aftermarket bracket needed. In my case, the plastic used makes it look as though it was an OEM feature. So it's not always cheesy looking.

        http://www.crutchfield.com/ [crutchfield.com]

      • by m2shariy (1194621)
        Building car around a stereo? Sounds like amazingly bad design.
  • by Vainglorious Coward (267452) on Friday August 22, 2014 @01:59PM (#47731853) Journal

    Imagine a world where there were multiple standards for cigarette lighter^W^W accessory power connectors, and how different the market for accessories would be. Im surprised that car manufacturers, whose product development cycle is quite lengthy, are willing to accomodate proprietary (and likely fleeting) technologies.

    • by Macrat (638047)

      Imagine a world where there were multiple standards for cigarette lighter^W^W accessory power connectors...

      You mean like the car having an actual standard power connector in the first place instead of the outdated cigarette lighter hack?

      • by laird (2705)

        Note that the car companies care about compatability, and there's a while ecosystem built around using cigarette lighters into cars. That's why they're all over minivans - they're no longer for cigarettes, they're now the standard car power plugs. :-)

        That being said, cars are starting to get USB jacks. That's a good thing. But car technology changes slowly, for good reasons - if they put something into millions of consumer cars, people have to live with it for many years, so they are cautious about making c

    • by laird (2705)

      I'd think that as a part of integrating iPhones/Lightning cables into cars, Apple would have to commit to supporting the technology for 5+ years, with backwards compatibility, so that people could plug their phones 5 years from now into the car that they buy now and have it "just work". Both the car companies and Apple care about that. Google too, most likely.

    • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

      Car manufacturers have been getting a lot of fire for not being high tech enough. Phones with apps made all their in-car systems look ancient, and people rapidly got to the point where all they wanted from a head unit was an aux jack. Thus manufacturers are finding it hard to upsell their higher end head units because they all look like phones did in 2002.

      People don't want to pay for a second data contract when their phone already has one either.

      Some manufacturers already offer Mirrorlink because of this. T

  • Each mobile platform (iOS, Android, WP?) should just have a virtual frame buffer which is connected to via VNC. There's not any reason to make it more integrated than that, unless they try to differentiate themselves, and in that case we all lose because of fractured standards. I really cringe when Google and Apple don;t back the same standard.

    If you need audio, use Bluetooth, of course.

    • Will VNC intelligently handle touchscreen integration? I'd like my device on the car display, but I'd like my device on my car display, along with touch screen access (and integration with other physical buttons).

      But of course all of this is a solved problem as of years ago, but vendor lock-in attempts and technology "innovation" has kept this from happening.

      • by scorp1us (235526)

        I don't see why it shouldn't.

        How complicated of gestures do you need on a screen while driving? As far as I am concerned it should all be voice interface anyway. As someone who uses a docked phone while driving (or rather attempts to) the bumps in the road combined with the reach distance conspire against virtual buttons due to lack of tactile feedback. You can't feel for the 3rd button down, or if you landed your finger on the gap between two buttons.

        • by swb (14022)

          Maybe it should be all voice anyway, but I find that even with a quality headset (of any type, wired, wireless) I find that in the car voice commands work poorly due to ambient noise.

          Plus, a car is filled with tactile controls that are all real easy to operate while you're driving (climate controls, cruise control, windows, etc).

          Complex touch controls would be a mistake (I don't want triple-tap and drag on an iPad when I'm sitting on the couch, let alone in a car) but my concern would an oversimple display-

          • by scorp1us (235526)

            The automobile is a challenging acoustic environment for sure, but there are several improvements that can be made to improve this:
            A unidirectional mic in the steering wheel, with noise cancelling. A prompt button that turns down the stereo system for a brief time.

            I'm not surprised it is as bad as it is with current equipment. In fact I'm surprised it is as good as it is.

            The tactile controls are there for cost. Very cheap, but very limiting. I have proper climate control that maintains a set point, and I ne

    • VNC is a great start, but those that build cars won't just do screen replication from a phone on the dash. The UI on a phone isn't meant for use while driving. Simplified UI needed. MirrorLink is industry standard and uses VNC as a foundation for launching specific apps
      • by scorp1us (235526)

        I'm not sure where you misunderstood me. I said "virtual frame buffer" and VNC. The virtual frame buffer is a software-only framebuffer, separate from the one that drives the screen. It can have anything on it - simplified UI controls, or rather, with android, you would add settings to the app manifest to specify it uses that VFB and people would lay out for in-car use accordingly.

  • Is it me, or does it almost seem easier to just buy a damn tablet for the car and leave it there?

    Big screen, easy to read maps, audio via BT, ALL my apps, not just those that someone has deigned to be OK for in-dash display (either because it passes some lame "safety" filter and/or because they have paid money to Apple/Google to get the car-integration bit enabled in their app profile).

    My phone will supply the internet connectivity if I feel like shaving bucks off the cost of a model with a LTE modem/plan.

    T

    • Is it me, or does it almost seem easier to just buy a damn tablet for the car and leave it there?

      The problem is, as is usually ignored by most /. geeks, interface. I already use my smartphone in a bracket on the car - and despite the tablet having larger touch surface, the problem is essentially the same - I want an interface with *big ass buttons* and voice control and preferably physical dials the the like - because I don't want to muck around with even a single more tap than needed.

      Sure, I could replace my Prius console with a far more functional tablet, but unless it's designed to be used by a hig

      • by swb (14022)

        I agree for the most part about even tablet apps not being "big buttons" but I think it's not quite as bad as you think.

        Phones are a misleading example since the small size of the phone screen usually begs for small controls to fit as much info/functionality on one screen. I think most iPad-specific apps (or the iPad version of a dual platform app) usually have bigger controls and text than the iPhone specific version.

        Plus, there's always the "zoom" accessibility feature or using an iPhone-specific app at

  • Apple: Cars that few can afford

    Android Auto: Everyone else.

    • Apple Carplay: Cars that people who car about quality buy.

      Android Auto: Cars that are pushed on people by the auto salesman.

    • by mjwx (966435)

      Apple: Cars that few can afford

      Android Auto: Everyone else.

      LoL,

      Apple products have pretty much become the Camry of their market. Anyone can get a whitegoods Camry.

      Android is everything from an i10 to a WRX STI to a Lamborgini. The point is, you have a choice.

  • As a non-Andoid, non-iOS smartphone owner I'm not interested in any cool proprietary interface. No one should be interested in it.

    Better support something like MirrorLink [mirrorlink.com] and connect use something like the CarBerry [carberry.it].

  • You want an industry standard - go check out MirrorLink. Doesn't care what OS, just works. Hard to find news on this since anytime Apple/Google say "we're doing something" the media just drools... MirrorLink works with Android phones already and probably Windows phone soon. Only reason Apple not playing is they think it's easy to do on their own. Now they're realizing this is a multi-layered engineering problem that also involves the regulators (DoT, EU, Japan, China, etc....) Google going to run into

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