Not long ago that we could read in some newspapers that estimated that in the year 2014 will have more mobile phones in the world that people have the planet (more than 7,000 million). And it is not something that should surprise us because without going any further, here itself in Spain, in 2006 there were more mobile phones that inhabitants had our country.
Like so many other statistics this does not mean that each and every one of the human beings that inhabit the planet has a phone, as in rich countries, we have more than one phone per inhabitant, but what if shows is that it is the electronic device with more broadcast. And of course, take it everywhere, including the car.
We want to use our phone everywhere
This is what automakers are increasingly clear. We are quite attached to the mobile phone, and even more to the Smartphone, so we want to continue to use it also in the car, but that Yes, we must not forget that the most important thing is to use it with security and without that distract us and cause an accident.
But beyond and so many applications that a Smartphone allows us to, there are two things that users believe as more fundamental: calls and music.
So the most fundamental and important is that the car that we drive include, ahead of two other, functions: hands-free for phone, with effective access to our agenda of contacts, and playing the music in the phone’s memory, through the sound equipment car.
And this, which seems so simple, yet is not generalized to 100% in all the cars that are for sale, from the smallest and most economical, as standard equipment, but little missing to make it so.
What we are also seeing is that manufacturers are offering multimedia systems something more complex than this, with more features added such as connection to internet, GPS navigation and various applications (including some such as Twitter, Facebook, etc.).
Are so many things necessary? For some users, and for many others not, mostly because more functions, more complex is to use and therefore more distractions, something not advisable when you are driving.
How do we connect it?
As cable or without it. It seems obvious, but is behind their background. Beyond those early systems handsfree to the phone that is connected with a specific adapter for every phone, now at least we are a bit more standardized.
Wired standard should be the cable USB, that at the time of the communication would allow recharge of the phone, but Apple still going a little free with its proprietary connector, and also would have to have a cable compatible for iPhone and iOS to be able to do the same. Do come on all cars with cables, or at least the port? Not really.
It may seem silly, but today would be very nice if the cars bring a native USB connection, and thus forget cigarette lighter adapters or similar solutions.
Of those audio type jack-3.5 mm jack cables, normally referred to as connection “aux”, best we forget, they are somewhat archaic and that only allows the audio output without control over the telephone, although they serve out of trouble.
If no matter we recharge, and we want to get rid of the cables, then we opt for a wireless connection. And in principle with the Bluetooth We would have solved ballot. Because not all here Apple returns to go a bit for free and for certain functions required connection cable (I think of Ford Sync AppLink with, for example, that I tried recently).
Let me explain better: we are going to be able to connect by Bluetooth and listen to music from an iPhone in the car without problems, but always having to touch the screen of the phone to search for a track, change playlist, etc, without to take advantage of the controls or the voice of the drive control system (if equipped). We should be able to use the phone without touching it, It is more comfortable and safe.
At least it seems that IOS 7 also is thought of the connection through Wi-Fi car, but here we have the problem that not all cars have WiFi natively. I say the same thing, why not we are left with a single standard for all who work relatively well?
Sound quality and voice control
Again two very obvious things, but who have yet to move forward in some cases. In fact I’ve tried some retrospective mounted systems that allow you to connect a phone to the car’s audio system, and have left me a bit disappointed.
When made are calls It is important that we hear well and that will be reduced as much as possible the noise background during the conversation, inherent to go by car. The microphone is essential; riding two, and with noise cancellation, they tend to avoid problems. But we also need to listen to our partner eye. In general this is usually work reasonably well, but not always.
But also if we are going to play the music that we carry on our phone, it is also indispensable that the sound quality is optimal.
And here is where ever I found systems with amplifiers you leave enough to be desired, with little power, which just give volume, and that if we fall into the temptation to give you more volume from the phone itself (as a preamp), then we suffer terrible distortion and deterioration of sound quality.
Here I draw attention to look more at the actual Watts of equipment, in principle the measured under specification RMS, and not so much in musical watts PMPO, that are very well to sell the product, but are not the real.
In addition to this, I still think that the best way to control a phone, or at least calls and music, the topic on which we focus today, is the voice control. It is what less distracted, which no forward view some buttons or a touchscreen (for some increasingly common). I want that quick and simple you can tell the car “Called by phone to Ana” and I understand, or say “the disc played Queen Greatest Hits II”, and again I understand.
Multimedia connectivity systems: more and more
It is difficult to review all and each one of the systems from all manufacturers in depth (could be here muuucho time), but we can at least make a brief review of the most significant (and as in the background I don’t let me none, you as owners of a car of any brand that has left me in the dark can add it in the comments).
The majority of manufacturers often include basic sound equipment with Bluetooth, and normally a USB port or an auxiliary connection jack of 3.5 mm. But they are gradually implementing systems with more features and possibilities.
BMW: it has developed a fairly complete, and at the same time a little complex, called BMW Connected Drive, It includes many more features than Bluetooth and audio, such as internet access and GPS navigation. It also includes control by voice as well as a specific dial in the extension of the central console, whose surface is also touch. The screen is not touch. Mini has a very similar system.
Chevrolet and Opel (General Motors): basic sound equipment with Bluetooth, USB and 3.5 mm jack input they have, but they have also developed a more comprehensive system called Chevrolet MyLink, with touch screen and Smartphone connectivity. Opel It has a similar system called Opel Intelligent Link, with more features, voice control and a touch command in the extension of the center console. You can install applications.
Fiat (Fiat, Lancia, Alfa Romeo) Group: use the system Blue & Me from Microsoft, a little basic at this point, with Bluetooth, hands-free reading of sms, as well as USB port. They have more recently introduced in new models system Fiat UConnect, better connectivity, more features (GPS, reversing camera) with touch screen.
Ford: is well known system Sync, which allows connection by Bluetooth, handsfree, audio, USB playback and besides the steering wheel controls has control by very powerful voice. There is a version with more features and known as Sync with MyFord Touch touchscreen. With the system AppLink can be controlled by voice-aware applications that we have installed on our Smartphone. Applications are not installed in the car as in other systems.
Hyundai and Kia: assemble basic sound equipment with Bluetooth for handsfree and audio, USB, auxiliary connection and connection for iPhone. There is also a more complex version with browser and more functions, such as Hyundai Blue Link.
Nissan: with Nissan Connect they have a system of connectivity with GPS navigation and information traffic, and touch screen 5.8 inch, Bluetooth for hands-free & audio, and up to 360 degrees and reversing camera. Nissan on Nissan LEAF electric car has a more complete system with further telematics services, called Carwings.
Peugeot and Citroen: both marks, the same group, have basic sound equipment with Bluetooth, USB and 3.5 mm jack, and have also released an almost identical system, Peugeot Connect and Citroën Multicity Connect, with touch screen and multiple functions, also GPS and even for the air conditioner, and applications can also be downloaded.
Mercedes-Benz: competition with BMW and Audi is strong, and the three German premium brands have similar multimedia connectivity systems, the of Mercedes-Benz is called Command, with internet access, GPS navigation, applications, as well as Bluetooth and audio.
Renault: in addition to the basic sound equipment, the star of Renault is multimedia connectivity system Renault R-Link, easy to use, with simple but fairly complete interface, touchscreen with Bluetooth phone and audio, USB, internet, navigation TomTom GPS and application.
Toyota & Lexus: have several systems, but the most basic, Toyota Touch, It has a touch screen of 6.1 “and Bluetooth for hands-free audio, and USB. On this there are variants which added more features and GPS Navigator.
Volkswagen (Audi, Seat, Skoda and Volkswagen) Group: Seat, Skoda and Volkswagen are spreading in the sound equipment with touch screen 5 inch, Bluetooth, and USB. There are versions with larger screen and GPS. Audi has a more complete system, with internet access, applications and GPS Navigator, touch dial in the extension of the central console and also control by voice, the truth the BMW Connected Drive style, called Audi Connect.
Volvo: the Swedish brand has also developed a system of multimedia connectivity, Volvo Sensus Connected Touch, with touch screen and control by voice, Bluetooth for hands-free & audio, GPS, internet access and applications.
With what would we be? The answer is quite logical: with one simple to manage, with a clear and fast interface with useful functions during driving, good sound quality, GPS either way ocpional, touchscreen, especially with voice control, and moreover is not expensive. For example Ford Sync AppLink and Renault R-Link work pretty well (even if they have certain differences) and begin to come from series even in cars small and affordable, something that is very well.