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IMS Research Analyst Blog
Is This One More Step Towards “Dumb Terminals” for Low Cost Cars?
Date: 27 October 2011
Yesterday saw the official announcement from Toyota of the
release of their newest edition to the “Touch” family of infotainment head
units, the Toyota Touch Life for the IQ. The unit itself contains only an AM/FM
radio, allowing it to cost very little, but, unlike other systems in small low-cost
cars this one has a trick up its sleeve.
Through a combination of the Connected Car Consortium’s
MirrorLink, and iPhone integration, the unit can allow access to several core
features and functions of a user’s cell phone. These include navigation, hands-free
calling, and internet radio (depending on platform and country).
So what does this mean to the market? Well, effectively
anyone with a Touch Life equipped Toyota IQ will have access to free navigation
(on Nokia handsets), and a host of connected services (on iPhones), with the
potential for additional apps and services becoming available at a later date.
Something that before now has required a costly monthly subscription in Europe
and a premium price tag!
The big question, drawing many comments, about this (and
Toyota’s previously announced Touch and Go head unit) is the lack of Android
compatibility. While this will definitely affect Android owners when they decide whether to opt
for this system, I feel it unlikely to be a huge blow to the success of the system.
If you consider the sheer number of iPhone and Nokia handset owners and that
the MirrorLink protocol will likely be adopted by both HTC and Samsung (both
part of the CCC) in the near future, the impact should be limited.
Will we see a host of other auto manufacturers
rolling out these kinds of systems across their range? In short, this seems
unlikely. Most manufacturers may opt for such a basic system in their very
small city cars or low-cost models; but larger, more expensive, models will
likely keep hold of some embedded functionality; this can be seen with the
latest news from Mercedes and its iPod integration and MirrorLink
announcements. This will ensure that when drivers find themselves without their
phone, they still have more choice than just the radio to listen to.
Recent Automotive & Transport Postings
- 30th January 2013 - Target CSR budgets to grow EV charging infrastructure
- 23rd November 2012 - The Year in In-flight Connectivity 2012
- 1st October 2012 - EVs and Hybrids: Paris Motor Show Fails to Wow
- 28th June 2012 - Bluetooth’s Domination of the Car – Is it Still Coming?
- 21st February 2012 - Final Ruling from NHTSA Would Save 3 Lives Every Week*