A smartphone crash has a very different meaning when a car is wrapped around it. automotive electronics are a hold over from The Eighties in most cases. The cyber threats of the modern internet all these OEMs so desperately want to connect to will require an epoch change in the designs of most parts.
@Bert, yes, arguably, this is all marketing hype. But if you walk around the show floor, this craze for making a car look like a smartphone has gotten to the point of no return, as far as I could tell. More on this later in a separate article...
@selinz, you wrote: But all I really need is an aux jack and a mount.
Say no more. While I was in Vegas, another engineer friend of mine told me that all the talk about the car apps that need to be redesigned for drivers sounds too condescending. He said, "All I want is a place to put my phone. I can't even find that in my car!"
An engineer buddy of mine recently bough a leaf and the first thing that he showed us was that he could show us all of the cell voltages in his battery (300 plus cell) on one screen on his Android. Then there's the app that tells him where to get a charge and whether it's available or not. Etc. As for me, I make calls and listen to books that I rip to MP3 from the library. And of course, navigate. OK, sometimes "listen to" a text or even dicatate one. And OK, perhaps I'll even watch something on Netflix (stationary only, of course... ;-) But all of this can be done with a simple phone mount and an aux jack (or bluetooth). It's not clear what other advantages you could have. I don't think a 14 inch video screen is much of an advantage, although it looks cool. GM has had Onstar since the 90's (perhaps sooner?) When I bought my used '97 cadi 10 years ago, it had come pre-installed with onstar and back then, you could read your engine codes remotely. Now, you have to be sitting in the car, pressing the buttons (or hook up your elf 327 bluetooth module to your Android phone, my preferred mode). I must admit, if I'm going to pay north of $20K for a vehicle, I want it to be up to date! And smart phone connectivity is part of that. But all I really need is an aux jack and a mount.
Where the #$%^ is NHTSA in putting a stop to the obvious danger of all these distracted drivers with their smart 'phones whose lives are so important that they need to let the world know of their every move at all times ???
Let's see, the windshield just iced up - time for defrost ... okay: menu> climate>heat> windshield> time > etc... CRASH !
Many young people are addicted to their smart phones. Therefore, what better news blitz than to identify a car with a smart phone? Right? I mean, what better way to get someone who never much cared much about cars, to associate my new car design with his object of fascination, to pique his interest?
This is marketing hype.
On the other hand, that a car will be more "connected," and that a car will incorporate more digital processing, is HARDLY new news. It's been going on since about 1975, when pollution devices demanded something better than the old Kettering ignition system (aka points and condenser ignition). From that, to electronic fuel injection (also originally mandated by the increasingly stringent pollution controls), and on to more esoteric function like ABS, traction control, stability control, electronically controlled transmissions, and on ad infinitum.
Look at how this increase in processing is being presented nowadays. It's all about the infotainment aspects being introduced. Wow. A car is a smartphone.