Wireless Wonders

No news, just comment about mobile phones and services, from a veteran practitioner...3G, GPRS, WAP, Bluetooth, WiFi, etc...

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Mobiles and Car Radios

I recently bought a Harman Kardon - Drive+Play (HKDP) ipod adaptor for my car radio. It works with factory-fitted radios via a wired RF injection, the auxiliary input or via a CD changer interface, if one exists and is compatible. The HKDP has its own user interface, including a thumbwheel that works in a similar fashion to one on the ipod. There's also an external LCD display that can be conveniently located on the dashboard to enabler easier and safer operation. The ipod itself sits on a cable in the glovebox (or nearby wherever the main HKDP "brains unit" is fitted).

It struck me that there don't appear to be any similar adaptors to enable music-capable mobiles to play through the car stereo. In fact, given the fiddly nature of many mobile phones, trying to play music in the car would be a challenge without something like a HKPD with its auxiliary display and thumbwheel.

There needs to be a standard interface to hook up mobile phones with car radios to enable:

1. Music playthrough
2. Easy hands-free operation
3. Use of auxiliary controls (e.g. steering wheel audio controls)
4. Trickle charging

Given the mobile's historical connections with car radios, this seems to be a neglected part of the story in recent years. Perhaps Motorola need to go back to making car radios to show us how it's done - an integrated user experience with the mobile would be nice thanks!

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