As people, we’ve become far more connected than we ever were before. Thanks to the awesome power of smartphones that we all carry in our pockets or bags everywhere we go, it’s rare that we’re ever at a distance from the most important people in our lives. However there’s one place where you really can’t use a smartphone and unless you have bespoke hardware and software to fix that issue, you need to stop the activity to get in touch (legally and safely, something we’d always advocate). Yes, I’m talking about driving. When you’re behind the wheel of a car, you (should) never pick up your phone which means being temporarily disconnected. However that’s about to change, as the next big wave of connectivity is going to bring cars into the future.
One of the big problems with vehicles inn the past and using modern day electronics and technology, is that they take years to design and the infotainment portion was always factored in during the early conceptual stages, so by the time it was released, it was 2-4 years out of date. However now that tech makers have standardised much of their hardware, it means these design gaps can be reduced to six months or less and in some cases eliminated, by simply using commercial hardware. In the new lineup of Toyota vehicles, the infotainment system is based around the Google Nexus 7 tablet.
Teaming up with ASUS and subsidiary Unimax to make this happen, Toyota’s new system is called the Toyota Intelligent System or TIS. This TIS, puts a Nexus 7 into your car, outfitted with satellite navigation, 4g connectivity, multimedia controls, voice recognition, some cloud link ups for adding processing and storage and even the ability to access traffic reports and get in touch with emergency services should you so need them.
Thee biggest part of all this though, is that the tablet behind it all will be upgradeable over the life of the vehicle. So six months from now or a year, when the Nexus 7 feels like an ancient piece of hardware compared to the latest offering, you’ll be able to swap it out for a newer, more powerful alternative. The idea there, is for Unimax to develop future tablets with the same dimensions and hardware ports as the Nexus 7, so it can just slot in where the old one was. In the mean time, software updates and patches will make sure all applications are secure and as featureful as possible.
According to MobileGeeks’ hands on impression of the new in-car touch control system, the navigation tools were flawless and were very intuitive, allowing for even novices to find their way around thee software with ease.
Of course though, this being a tablet, it would be ridiculous if you couldn’t take it out and use it as such wouldn’t it? Which is exactly what you can do with the Nexus 7. If you don’t need it for navigation, take it out and hand it off to your kid to watch a movie on. While docked with the car, the internal battery is charged up, so it should always be ready to go.