As our devices have evolved, become more powerful and, essentially, all-consuming, we’ve let them become extensions to just about everything around us. It may have started with just a simple Bluetooth headset in our ear or a Bluetooth speaker in a car, but what our smartphones can do and what they can control these days is truly incredible. Technology has made our smartphones way, way more than just a phone, so maybe that’s why Apple tried to kill off our cellular connections (too soon?).
What’s funny is that the majority of these companies out there, in some ways directly and in others indirectly, have been trying to take over all sorts of different categories with individual devices for years now. From set-top boxes that are meant to take over the living room, or smart TVs, or whatever else, it’s all been about individual devices. Except, with smartphones and even tablets, they’ve already accomplished what they’re continuously still trying to achieve.
Our smartphones can control our video game consoles. Our smartphones can flick through photos on our TVs. Our smartphones can start, pause and stop music from a different room. And this is just the tip of the iceberg. Our smartphones have evolved from simple instruments to the master tool. The key to just about everything, especially as every other gadget out there gets smarter, too.
I can’t wait to watch it get better. And, I can’t wait to use it in a car.
There are options for using a smartphone in a car, of course. Connecting a dongle that lets you stream your phone’s audio to a specific radio station, for example. Or, many models now offer Bluetooth-connectivity, and can show you information from your phone on a large display in your vehicle’s console area. But while those options are great, what Google has on tap with Android Wear, and what Apple has in store for us with CarPlay are really exciting.
In fact, the Android developer blog just posted a nice overview of some of the features that will be tied into Android Auto, with a focus on the user interface and other key features. I actually really like the fact that while developers can make some changes to the aesthetics, in small ways, Google’s keeping a lid on the crazy customizations that Android has come to be known by over the years. And, obviously, the design of CarPlay will remain locked-down for the foreseeable future.
But, more than that, it’s about the natural extension of our smartphones. Just as we’ve extended their capabilities into other key gadgets that take up most of our time day-in and day-out, it’s about time that it’s happened in our cars, too. Texting and driving is wrong, and while voice-activated options are certainly a real-world possibility, if these in-car systems can really take off and not be segregated into only some models, it could be a real benefit.
And I can’t wait for it to really takeoff, to become a standard in cars and trucks across the board. I can’t wait to try it out in the real world, to see how well it does what it’s supposed to do, and to see if it is actually worth the wait.
Are you excited to try out Android Auto and Apple CarPlay? Let me know!