Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 6th Jan 2014 11:13 UTC
In the News
Audi, GM, Google, Honda, Hyundai and NVIDIA have joined together to form the Open Automotive Alliance (OAA), a global alliance of technology and auto industry leaders committed to bringing the Android platform to cars starting in 2014. The OAA is dedicated to a common platform that will drive innovation, and make technology in the car safer and more intuitive for everyone.

A potentially very lucrative market.

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sb56637
Member since:
2006-05-11

Very good point. As much as I love new technology, I hate it when it's used just for the sake of newness and when it doesn't improve functionality or even reduces usability. Most new appliances needlessly overuse technology. For example, there is absolutely no reason that a washer or dryer needs a digital screen or electronic "soft" buttons. The only washers and dryers that had big mechanical knobs that went "click" were usually much easier to use and provided the exact same functionality. And now in the case of cars, I do NOT want a big (or small) screen in my car that is hard to see in bright daylight, with digital buttons to change the sound system or adjust the climate control, and which often has an annoyingly slow to react interface. I want big, simple knobs and simple, single-function buttons that I can press/move with motor-memory without even looking. For me, luxury in a car is not defined by the number of digital screens or the number of buttons on the dash. I prefer good, solid engineering, which unfortunately appears to be a lost art in this day and age of outsourced drop-in dash modules and infoannoyance systems.

Reply Parent Score: 4

nottorp Member since:
2013-10-22

Of course, that can go the other way. I present exhibit B, the buttons around the gear shifter on a Porsche Panamera:

http://image.motortrend.com/f/roadtests/alternative/1203_2012_porsc...

Reply Parent Score: 3

Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

sb56637,

I concur. I usually find the mechanical analog controls superior to the digital ones. The soft controls require much more attention to adjust. In some cases, it's possible to take an analog control and convert it to a digital signal, which can work well for certain things, however other times it's still far more frustrating to use than the physical control we used to have.

For an example, my old car had physical volume and balance knobs, which clicked into place when centered. They could be adjusted with muscle memory alone. In our new car most of these functions are replaced with a multi-modal digitized knob. Click the knob several times until the desired function comes up on the display, then turn the knob while watching the display to see what it's set to. What used to take one or two seconds without taking eyes off the road for any prolonged time now requires full attention for a much longer duration. Adjusting the car radio is unsafe BECAUSE of the use of soft controls.

This example is good because it highlights a fundamental safety issue, however it's happening all around us where the older physical controls get replaced with soft controls that are often more difficult to actually use. I strongly preferred well designed dedicated buttons. Software control can be cool and all, but it really sucks when all the vendors are jumping on the digital bandwagon and they collectively assume that's all that's worth investing in. They're all so desperate to be "innovators" that they loose sight of focusing on whether it works better than what we had.

Reply Parent Score: 4

WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

Most new appliances needlessly overuse technology. For example, there is absolutely no reason that a washer or dryer needs a digital screen or electronic "soft" buttons. The only washers and dryers that had big mechanical knobs that went "click" were usually much easier to use and provided the exact same functionality.


And this goes double for mp3 players. They used to come with physical buttons that you could actually operate while the f**king things were in your pocket, instead of having to take them out and look at them. Now? Most of them have copied the iDevices and moved a lot of this functionality to the touch screen, or to soft buttons that you can't feel. Pointless.

Oh, and while cars are implementing this new technology, how about putting in a cell phone mount on the dash, so I don't have to use those goddamn suction cup things, NONE of which ever stick for very long.

Reply Parent Score: 5