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CNET On Cars: Top 5: Futureproof car technologies

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CNET On Cars: Top 5: Futureproof car technologies

3:52 /

Technologies that you won't regret getting in your next car.

Cassette decks and CD�s were easy. Option those in your car and you knew you were good to go -- at least through the end of the Clinton Administration. But today car tech comes - and goes - a lot faster. In fact, you may have never even gotten around to RSE...Hard Drive...or HD Radio in your car, and they�re already lame. I�m B.C. with the Top 5 in-car technologies that should be future-proof your next car. Were gonna� rank these by their must-haveness, but with a caveat for each one. --------------- 5 USB Hot Spot support. Your passengers expect to have their tablets and laptops online even when riding in your car,studiously ignoring you. Make it easy on them with a car that supports a USB wireless modem. This is mostly a Ford thing at this point, and increasingly your passengers� devices have their own built-in connectivity, but I like the general idea of a USB port that can work with wireless adapters, for whatever comes next. 4 SD Card Navigation. When your car�s nav system is based on an SD card instead of a dorky old DVD or hard to update HDD you can download & install updates without a trip to the dealer or even add built-in nav after you�ve bought the car by just popping in a card. This idea is spreading, but so far mostly a Ford and NIssan thing. 3 AUX Jack. Yes, this is hardly tech at this point, but the lowly AUX jack is still a thing of beauty. It works with every portable ever made, requires no fancy cable or setup and typically sounds great. The downside is that its dumb as a post: It doesn�t know when to mute, doesn�t charge your device and doesn�t show anything on the screen. 2 USB. Like with your computer, USB us becoming the God connector in cars. Plug in a thumb drive, phone or iPad and reveal its musical guts while also charging and even controlling it from the car. The downside is the sometimes erratic interface and codec support depending on what your carmaker chooses to recognize. Before we get to #1 futureproof tech for your car, let me give you a glimpse of what could trump these all: Something called MirrorLink, which is just coming on the market in 2013 and turns your phone into the brains and media of your dash, from nav to calling to music. The screen on the dash just becomes a dumb display. Since smartphones do almost everything your car�s head unit and and often do it better, this makes sense. Carmakers have yet to support it as it means one less area where they can make their car unique. A tough sell, but worth watching. 1 Bluetooth, calling and streaming. Quickly becoming more important than radio, Bluetooth handsfree is almost universal in cars today, with the exception of a couple of really cheap cars that don�t include it or a couple of pricey German cars that have the gall to charge extra for it.. Fast behind calling is Bluetooth Streaming, which doesn�t care if you�re Android, iPhone or Blackberry - the music just plays, in stereo, with no cables. The downside of all BT tech is that, being wireless. you won�t be charging while you drive and some streaming systems don�t show music information but a dumb splash screen, which is just inufuriating. Honda. For more like this, go to CNETorCars.com, I am Brian Cooley, thankls for watching.

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