Car radios have come a long way since their debut — with a single speaker and vacuum tubes that needed to be warmed up. Today, it’s not uncommon to see base economy cars with 200-watt six-speaker stereos — far from the old aftermarket-upgraded 30 watts per channel — that can read USB drives or use your phone as a music library.
What do you want to see next?
Or which of these features would you like to see from my own wish list?
- Support for larger USB thumb drives — most cars falter after 32GB
- Using digital imaging with the existing seat sensors to automatically give the best music to the driver if they are alone, or to the driver and passenger if there is one
- “Getting the Mac” — ignoring Mac-specific resource forks and data files — even better, allowing Mac-formatted USB drives
- Intelligent handling of audiobooks
- Reading iTunes and Windows playlists
- Playing in album order (for those cars that don’t already do it)
- Selection by mood (automatically determined by music analysis or downloaded from the Internet)
- “In vehicle” editing of the USB drive — only while stopped!
- Easier access to the equalizer and balance controls
- Genre-based equalizer settings (especially for talk vs music)
- “Bring your own” option — allowing Apple and Android makers to build specially sized devices that slot into car docks, replacing manufacturer stereos entirely (with a very strong firewall from the key car functions), including any needed information readouts and climate control functions
What am I (and more importantly, the auto industry) missing?
The author of Dodge Viper, Jeep’s Go-Anywhere Vehicles, and The Rise and Reinvention of Chrysler Minivans, David Zatz has been writing about cars and trucks since the early 1990s; he also writes on organizational development and business at toolpack.info and covers Mac statistics software at macstats.org. His latest book, for kids, is Meet the Jeep.
David has been quoted by the New York Times, the Daily Telegraph, the Detroit News, and USA Today. You can reach him by using our contact form (preferred) or by calling (313) 766-2304.