The Road Ahead : February March 2010
visit www.roadahead.com.au/motoring MORE INFO THE TERM BLUETOOTH REPORTEDLY CAME FROM 10TH CENTURY VIKING KING HARALD BLATAND'S SURNAME. BLATAND UNITED THE TRIBES OF DENMARK AND SOME PARTS OF NORWAY. WWW.ROADAHEAD.COM.AU 40 THE ROAD AHEAD FEB/MAR 2010 MOTORING IN-CAR MOBILE PHONE TECHNOLOGY CONSUMERS NEED TO do their homework when it comes to in-car communication or risk buying a mobile phone that is incompatible with their vehicle. RACQ executive manager vehicle technologies Steve Spalding said this was in part due to mobile phone technology moving at a much faster pace than motor vehicle technolog y. Mr Spalding said even the newest vehicles might not be fully compatible with the latest mobile phone technology, citing the hi-tech Toyota Prius (which was released only last year) as an example. "We recently had one member report that they updated their phone in the hope of improving functionality when connected to their Prius but still ended up with only some of the phone's features working properly," he said. Another member reported even basic connectivity was a problem when used in his Mitsubishi. Mr Spalding said mobile phone buyers should check the system of their vehicle to determine what version it is and what functionality it has, then shop for a phone with features that best interface with the vehicle. "A typical life of a car might be up to 20 years, whereas with a mobile phone it might be one to two years, so obviously you should buy a phone to match the car," he said. "But be prepared for future phones having different (possibly less) levels of functionality when connected to the vehicle ." It would appear that some car companies were more pro-active than others in better informing consumers of the compatibility of their various model line-ups with mobile phone technolog y. "Toyota in the US (but not in Australia), BMW and Holden are companies whose websites can help consumers with the sort of information they need," Mr Spalding said. "The best advice for prospective car buyers is to find out as much information via the dealer before buying so that there are no surprises." While in-car connectivity is here to stay, there is a need for it to be managed carefully at all times. "The primary responsibility of the driver is to drive safely," Mr Spalding said. "When behind the wheel, drivers should only use a mobile phone with a hands-free device, such as Bluetooth, and avoid attempting to use some of the phone's advanced and often complex features where there is a risk of distraction." missing link STORY BARRY GREEN Not all mobile phones work with the built-in, Bluetooth, hands-free systems present in some motor vehicles, as more buyers are finding out.
December January 2010