Our smartphones seem to be able to connect to almost everything these days. Some people point to a near future where we will have one device that interacts with everything from our car, house and even our waiter. However, how near is that future? How well do our smartphones currently interact with other devices in our lives and how widespread is the use of these features?
For me, currently, one of the most important things that my smartphone interacts with is my car. In the past I had a simple auxiliary cord that would plug in and play all my music. In the past year I have upgraded to a Bluetooth connection between the two. However, the upgrade is very minimal. I can now answer calls, hang up calls and change songs through the car's interface instead of the phone's screen. The hands-free aspect of the interaction has become much more important recently with nearby cities and states beginning to introduce laws against distracted driving.
The car industry has definitely taken notice to the importance of their products being able in interact with smartphones. Some have introduced special proprietary software and others have paired with Google and Apple to create operating systems.
For the most ideal interaction between smartphones and cars, I think that car manufacturers need to take a step back and get out of the way of way of software that is already on smartphones. Instead of developing around Apple and Google, manufacturers should instead take advantage of what is already there. Both Siri (Apple) and Google Now both have become very effective at operating our smartphones purely on voice commands. It would seem like the obvious solution would be a Bluetooth connection to a driver side microphone and a button that activated Siri or Google Now.
With the popularity of products like Apple TV and Google Chromecast, consumers demand has shown a strong preference towards ease of use between connected products. Both Apple TV and Chromecast are essentially receivers for the content on your smartphone or computer. I believe that car manufacturers and users would benefit from following this example. Cars should simply receive the operating system our smartphones have, not create a whole new one to interact with.