Smartphones Replacing Infotainment Systems In Cars

If you’ve purchased a new car recently, you’ve likely considered the value of in-vehicle infotainment. Designed to streamline onboard media access, these multimedia systems display app-based information on a central screen in your car.

Car manufacturers claim infotainment services simplify in-car navigation, music selection and sms/social media access. However, according to an article published by Business Insider, the results of a recent study indicate that consumers may not share the same enthusiasm for in-vehicle entertainment. This is especially true since many infotainment flagship features (gps and music services, traffic updates, and hands-free messaging) are easily and cheaply accessible by smartphone.

Conducted by Kristin Kolodge, J.D Power’s executive director of human-machine interface, the study surveyed 13,269 people who bought or leased a 2016 vehicle. Kolodge found that more than 50% of new car buyers didn’t use in-vehicle infotainment systems within 90 days of purchasing their vehicle. Of the remainder who did attempt to use infotainment, 56% reported giving it up within one month.

Additionally, the study revealed that 39% of individuals who didn’t take to infotainment instead relied on smartphones for similar services. Kolodge believes that the reason for infotainment rejection centers around the ease of use and familiarity of smartphones.

“It’s easier because they learned on their phone and might feel it’s better able to execute their tasks. That’s what manufacturers are up against,” says Kolodge. She states that users experience difficulty figuring out the infotainment unfamiliar control scheme, so they abandon it.

Other reasons for infotainment wane include its inability to match the lightning rate at which smartphone tech is evolving. Cars require years to plan, manufacture, and test. By the time new cars exit development and enter the market, their hardware is already painfully aged compared to current mobile offerings.