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What car interface works best for you?

by wcunning Roadshow staff / June 21, 2007 8:14 AM PDT

In my recent column, Car interfaces and usability, I evaluated the various car gadget interfaces from Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz. What sort of interface do you think works best for controlling navigation, stereo, and other car systems?

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something that you can operate by touch alone
by ackmondual / June 27, 2007 8:07 AM PDT

At least in theory. In practice, I'm sure ppl still look at their consoles anyways, but at the very least, one shouldn't have to focus and/or search for soft or hard buttons that detract from driving concentration. I don't have a built-in GPS for my car, so it's not device that's integrated along with the rest of my vehicle. In other words, I'd imagine unlike other vehicles with a built in GPS, my car doesn't have a central LCD screen w/buttons where I access everything (CD player, radio, GPS, clock, climate control, heat, etc.). All I have is just a handheld GPS model that I keep in my car. Even though the touchscreen doesn't offer the same tactile feedback as a button (there is sound), I can navigate without looking at the screen constantly. E.g., if i'm on the map screen, I'll know exactly how to do certain things w/o looking at the device, like deleting routes, zooming in, zooming out, panning, and opening menus. I've also got a CD player, FM/AM tuner, and cassette player that's rather utilitarian. The AC, heat, defoggers, etc. are old school knobs and dials that I got used to VERY quickly. This ain't high tech, but it works really well for me

It would be great if voice commands were an option. "turn up heat", "find parking", "ETA to destination", that, but not that alone (still keep the buttons and dials) would be a fun and practical interface.

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The Garmin 2620, and others, work by touch alone
by middlebass / June 30, 2007 12:26 PM PDT

As I wrote previously and you mentioned you read, the Garmin 2620 and its successors have a remote control that you can easily operate in the dark by touch alone. The 2620 has two columns of 4 buttons each, plus a small "joystick" in the middle. After a week, you will know what all the buttons are without looking at them.

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by shadzofsilver / June 27, 2007 12:02 PM PDT

Wouldn't it be great if there was a HUD on the windshield itself? Perhaps OLEDS could make it possible. I'm not talking big distracting graphics, but a very simple semi-transparent overlay over the road. One could control such a system with voice commands or perhaps steering wheel iPod-like touch/gesture controls.

It could be distracting, but I think it would be the same if not better than having people look at their consoles instead of the road.

Oh yeah, and if any of you market this, I want a cut of the profits.

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by simplexveritas / June 27, 2007 5:28 PM PDT
In reply to: HUD

YES. That would be an insanely great idea. I wonder how much that costs to integrate (at a manufacturer level).

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a lot
by shadzofsilver / June 28, 2007 12:19 AM PDT
In reply to: HUD!

I imagine that if it were to be done, Lexus, Cadillac, or some other luxury car manufacturer would do it first. Lexus is already on top of the night-vision thing, I bet that they are researching this as we speak.

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Cadillac xlr
by ronaldon / July 1, 2007 8:13 AM PDT
In reply to: HUD

my 2005 xlr has a hud that shows the speed, shows set speed and traveling speed in cruise control, show radio station when you change it, shows warnings etc.

go see one. sorry but I cant split anything with you.


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Got a photo anywhere to show what those HUDs are like?
by ackmondual / July 1, 2007 9:51 AM PDT
In reply to: Cadillac xlr

Is it like what u see in today's fighter jets, except of course what you mentioned about shwoing speeds and radio stations instead of headings and missile lock warnings?

Off topic... isn't "(NT)" only supposed to be used when there's only a subject but no body for the message?

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by dkreview / June 27, 2007 6:31 PM PDT

I have driven cars with MMI & iDrive( yuk!), but own a lexus with a good touch screen & friendly software. Difficult to see me going back to the Europeans

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The best GPS interface is Garmin's
by middlebass / June 30, 2007 7:45 AM PDT

I owned a portable GPS since 2000. I bought it originally for my boat, with the idea that I would also use it for my cars. With 3 cars/trucks and a boat, I would hate to have a different GPS interface in each, and not be able to move my waypoints from one vehicle to another.

About 2-3 years ago, I upgraded to a Garmin 2620. While the interface on the GPS is great, the interface on the remote control is even better. I can do 90% of what I want to do without ever touching the GPS, and the buttons are so intuitive that I can use them in the dark and never have to look at them. I can call up a saved route or enter a new route without having to move my hand to the right at all.

As a result, I would now NEVER consider an auto GPS without a remote control. Yet I never see the existence of a remote control reviewed.

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Re: The best GPS interface is Garmin's
by ackmondual / June 30, 2007 11:55 AM PDT

didn't even know they had remote functionality for GPS devices. Not surprised one can't find this info on Cnet, or somew of the other GPS sites I've seen.

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Very small font
by oloix / July 24, 2012 4:48 PM PDT

Very small font. I can't force myself to read it although I would really like to

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