Cable, Bluetooth, CarPlay – or something completely different? You have these options to listen to your playlists in the car.
The days of CDs and cassettes in the car are over! Smartphones have long been plugged into the jack input or coupled via Bluetooth. The streamed or pre-downloaded tracks now serve as content providers. These also come from Spotify, Deezer, Apple Music and Co. in the car.
So Spotify and Co. run over the car boxes
Bluetooth in particular has become the method of choice in cars too. If you want to miss out on Flensburg Points, you can use your device wirelessly to make phone calls while driving, as the appropriate soundtrack for the journey is only two app clicks away. The car manufacturers are now doing a great job integrating the infotainment system: album covers appear on the touchscreen of the infotainment system along with the artist and track title and can be controlled from there. With current vehicles such as the Audi Q3 Sportback, which TECHNOLOGY BUTTON was able to use for the audio test, this information can even be displayed in the digital instrument cluster between the speedometer and other driving data, if required. So they can be read with little distraction from the traffic.
The next technological step has meanwhile established itself across the board, but is not yet being ordered or used by all buyers of a new car, even if it is on board. We are talking about Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, which send apps installed on the smartphone directly to the infotainment display, feed their data directly into the on-board system and, in the case of new car models, also display them in the driver’s cockpit. This works with almost all major streaming services for music and audio books, even niche offers such as the concert app of the Berliner Philharmoniker are now appearing there.
There are better alternatives to bluetooth
Meanwhile, many drivers have become so used to the Bluetooth coupling that they see no additional benefits in the new services. But there are. For example, there is the higher sound quality compared to the data-poor Bluetooth. However, this is very difficult to spot in the car, especially while driving, and only with very high-quality audio systems. The security argument weighs more heavily: The touch display in the car is larger and therefore lighter, faster and can also be operated via voice commands than that of the smartphone; In addition, you are not tempted to take the device in your hand for a moment, which is forbidden. It can rest in the charging cradle, or sometimes even stay in your handbag: While CarPlay and Co. previously required a USB connection,
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If you have such a system in your car, you should use it; Anyone who buys a young used or new car should make sure that it is on board. Paradoxically, inexpensive car brands in particular are increasingly offering it as standard, while self-proclaimed premium manufacturers usually charge a surcharge or – the latest development – even a monthly subscription price. Spotify Premium customers who don’t like it at all or who own an older vehicle are currently getting a very funny solution for free in the USA: a box called Car Thing is latched into the ventilation grille, paradoxically, it is more and more inexpensive car brands offer it as standard, while self-proclaimed premium manufacturers usually charge a surcharge or – the latest development – even a monthly subscription price.
Spotify Premium customers who don’t like it at all or who own an older vehicle are currently getting a very funny solution for free in the USA: a box called Car Thing is latched into the ventilation grille, via Bluetooth or AUX input with the car, and then linked to an iPhone or Android phone via USB. It basically works like CarPlay – plus a large rotary control that makes it much easier to use.
Why some car brands don’t like CarPlay and Co
As nice as all these systems are, manufacturers of expensive cars in particular are skeptical about them: Audi, BWM and Co. have invested a lot of money and brains in their own, sometimes very chic user interfaces. And then the consumer giants come, disrupting the sophisticated design with their graphically rather simple interface and reaching for infotainment sovereignty in the car. This is why some car brands are trying to integrate entertainment apps natively into their system – for example, Mercedes in its actually pioneering MBUX.
Exactly this is an example of how slowly this approach is developing: At first only the music streamer Tidal was represented, only gradually more popular services are being added in new models. An even greater hurdle is, of course, that the car owner has to book separate data packages and cannot use the cell phone volume that has already been paid for, possibly upgraded with unlimited music transfer. Until that catches on, if at all, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto will remain the best options for bringing your very own personal soundtrack into the car.