Yesteday we looked at safety technologies that might be integrated into auto GPS. Today, we’ll look at another option for GPS manufacturers that is somewhat safety related – how we interact with smartphones while driving.
I love my smartphone, I really do. But I don’t tend to leave it on my dash. Sure, it’s convenient to have a navigator with me wherever I go, especially one that can query Google’s points of interest (POI) database. But the damned thing does too much. I’m listening to music, taking a phone call, navigating, and then a notification of a text from my wife comes in – sheesh, I’m one glance away from becoming a distracted driving statistic. Which is why I prefer an old fashioned personal navigation device (PND) anytime I’m planning ahead, going out of town or having to find multiple addresses.
Of course the holy grail is to be able to do all those tasks I mentioned by voice. Smartphone manufacturers have the opposite problem of the GPS industry; they are having to do it all. Which brings us to an opportunity for the GPS/PND industry to pivot.
Clarion recently announced the Next GATE (pictured above), which they are hawking as “a smartphone controller for iPhone,” and I think they are onto something. MirrorLink is an industry standard that may speed this concept to market. Garmin is, to a certain extent, going the opposite direction with their Smartphone Link app, which is more about using the phone’s data connection to enhance PND usage, though they are showing signs of moving to app integration in their OEM division.
So what would be the ideal here? I’ll propose some key features for a PND/smartphone controller hybrid:
- 5-6″ screen
- Built in navigation
- Voice command with minimal screen interaction required
- Ability to control/play MP3s and key audio apps such as Pandora
- Auxiliary output and/or Bluetooth to send audio to car stereo
- Excellent Bluetooth sound quality with voice dialing
- SMS text to speech and speech to text
So what do you think? Is there any other functionality that really needs to be integrated? Would you be interested in a product like this, and would it make you more willing to buy an auto PND?