All-Inclusive Tablet/Smartphone Integration Interface For Vehicles
Tablets and smartphones evolve at a much faster pace than automotive infotainment systems. While Apple and Google are working on their dumb-terminal interfaces for factory and aftermarket infotainment systems, not all of us want to plug in our phones when we get in the car. Aftermarket head units with navigation cost as much, if not more than, a suitable iPad mini or Android tablet, but don’t offer as many features, connectivity or performance. The installations are much more involved as well.
Why can’t we just have a simple single- or double-DIN mount that provides Qi wireless charging, Bluetooth and USB connectivity, integrated amp, pre outs, a digital signal processor, OBD-II interface and compatibility with steering wheel controls? All of the infrastructure needed for such a device is available. Metra comes close with its single-DIN Mobile Device Pocket solutions, but it still requires a head unit to take control. There’s also the iDataLink Maestro interface, which provides steering wheel controls and access to the vehicle bus to aftermarket head units.
As soon as someone creates an easy way to get high-quality audio and steering wheel control compatibility, I’m ready to shoehorn an iPad mini or Nvidia Shield Tablet LTE in our Mazda 5 project car. - By Anh Tuan Huynh