Screens will save the car, won’t they?

A classic ‘faster horse’ situation is playing out for in-car entertainment

Thoughts on Apple Car, Part 108

What will happen inside future cars? That’s the question most of today’s tech companies have smart people working on.

We know that selfdriving cars will unleash one of the last big chunks of our day’s time – commuting – into monetizable hours.

The thing is: How?

All major tech companies have in-car systems in place: Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Baidu CarLife, and every major car manufacturer has their own.

What is different for the likes of Apple and Google, though, is what their systems are designed to do in people’s heads: They act like a Trojan horse.

Consumer should feel that whatever car they are in, they can easily connect to their trusted ecosystem, today mostly represented by their smartphones.

And it works:

Overall interest in these systems is now very strong, and ranges across almost all demographics. Many key segments consider them a “must-have” for their next car purchase, and all reasonable price points are in play.

Research from late last year shows that people expect, and demand, such systems in place from car companies.

This is critical since it shows who owns the actual user relationship – for entertainment, communication, and navigation; not counting the car sales process of course – but most things that are important while actually using the car.

So, the Trojan horses are in place.

But they’re only means to an end.

Tech companies want to control cars.

And legacy automakers try to avoid it. Like in the header image (Lexus) or Volvo below, they put all kinds of screens into cars, to give people what they want (screens, right?)

But people don’t want screens, they want their ecosystem on those screens.

And currently they like tech’s Trojan horses.

However, they don’t know yet that what they really want are better horses: Selfdriving cars that are about entertainment, getting things done, and spending money (or your time) wisely; all while on the road.

Is that the car industry’s Achille’s heel?

Yes.

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