Hands Free Connectivity Misses the Mark

Toyota Misses the Mark with Hands-Free Connectivity

Is it just me, or are we becoming more dependent on our phones by the hour? What started out as a harmless convenience feature has now taken over our lives in a way that we could have never predicted. Glued to our glowing screens as intensely as a moth is drawn to a light, it seems that the majority of Americans are more interested in connecting with a screen than to one another.

Increased demand to stay constantly connected has lead to the creation of apps and products aimed at making it easier than ever before. The car industry is a great example of how important it is to invent new ways to keep up with our non-stop buzzing phones. Today, more of an emphasis is being placed on manufacturing vehicles with technology that caters to our constant need to be connected to the world around us.

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto

When I bought my 2010 Ford Escape back in 2009, I was amazed at how intuitive the Sync system was – able to connect my Razor flip phone to my vehicle’s speakers – mind blowing. Looking back from today’s point of view, both that original Sync system and my Razor flip phone were laughable examples of what we define as technologically-advanced.

Auto manufacturers are more focused on computers and technology than they are on the actual engine under the hood, and for good reason – updated technology is what car shoppers want. Today, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay systems can be found in just about every new vehicle on the road, including the 2017 Honda lineup. Designed to seamlessly integrate your smartphone of choice into your vehicle, drivers can safely navigate from one destination to the next without so much as missing a mention on Facebook.

Toyota Just Doesn’t Get It

When I mentioned that just about every automaker offers Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility, what I should have said was every automaker except Toyota. In fact, the brand is set to launch its redesigned Camry this summer without the in-demand technology included. Toyota has said that it will have updated the Entune 3.0 infotainment system and app suite, but that it has no intention to include either Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.

The “odd man out,” Toyota is taking a substantial risk by shunning these two connectivity features that are highly coveted by today’s car buyer. Toyota reps mentioned in a statement that they feel that it’s their “job” to create an engaging user experience for drivers, including when it comes to smartphone applications. While Toyota may be able to develop a workable platform that drivers will enjoy using, it seems that the automaker doesn’t quite understand who they are up against. Apple and Android are two of the biggest tech giants in the world, with teams of professionals dedicated to providing the most up-to-date and compatible systems possible.

In my humble opinion, Toyota should stick to what it does best – manufacture cars, and leave the high-tech stuff to the professionals. Only time will tell if Toyota is making the right strategic move or a catastrophic mistake.

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