Everyone wants simpler infotainment

For a lot of people, the upcoming infotainment systems from Apple and Google are exciting because a lot of the features they’ll be adding to the connected car experience. Streaming music will be easier, navigation should be improved and thanks to all of the ways you can interact with them – smartphone, touch, voice – it should be even easier to control our entertainment and car functions on the go. However it’s not the added things a lot of people are interested in, it’s just the fact that they work at all.

According to a new Consumer Reports survey (via Wral), a lot of people simply want to ditch their current infotainment systems for ones that work properly. Thanks to the growth in connected cars, a lot of manufactures have attempted to develop their own and they haven’t gone down well.

We’ve talked before about all of the problems people have had with Ford’s MyFord Touch 2 system, which will be replaced in all future cars by its MyFord Touch 3 system, that also offers integrated Apple CarPlay and Android Auto if people have the corresponding smartphone to support it. However there are many more that people have had problems with too.


Infiniti’s InTouch is the worst of the bunch, with one in five owners finding that the software just didn’t work correctly. Even in brand new versions of the car, a lot of people simply found it unresponsive, with the official review from Consumer Reports branding it “horrible,” as far as infotainment systems go. The Cadillac’s CUE system was also said to be incredibly difficult to get working. It features no turn nobs, but a button system that was said to be temperamental at best.

Ford and Lincoln were called out for problems with communicating with their respective systems. Each one is supposed to support voice commands and wireless bluetooth connectivity, but often commands weren’t interpreted correctly or at all, and wireless connections were said to drop out sporadically.

The problem, according to the report, is while a lot of people would love to move their infotainment system over to running CarPlay or Android Auto, the latter isn’t out yet and the former is expensive, with third party kits costing upwards of £600 for one of the higher end models. Entry level systems are a bit cheaper, but you’re still looking at costs that are a few hundred pounds at best.

It may be that Apple is teasing the market a little and trying to keep demand high, but it and Google stand to make a killing if they can make their products relatively inexpensive for an upgrade (or just get them bundled with cars at the point of sale) as clearly a lot of people are fed up with poorly conceived and realised head units in their cars. Considering almost 40 per cent of all car infotainment users are currently unhappy with their options, the market for decent in-car connected features is going to be huge.


    Jon Martindale

    Jon Martindale is an English author and journalist, who's written for a number of high-profile technology news outlets, covering everything from the latest hardware and software releases, to hacking scandals and online activism.

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