Is this one more step towards “dumb terminals” for low-cost cars?

Toyota's latest edition of the Touch Life is able to use several core features and functions for the iPhone including navigation and hands-free calling, but the Android remains absent, though the absence isn't significant.

10/27/2011


Yesterday saw the official announcement from Toyota of the release of their newest edition to the “Touch” family of infotainment head units, the Toyota Touch Life for the IQ. The unit itself contains only an AM/FM radio, allowing it to cost very little, but, unlike other systems in small low-cost cars this one has a trick up its sleeve.

Through a combination of the Connected Car Consortium’s MirrorLink, and iPhone integration, the unit can allow access to several core features and functions of a user’s cell phone. These include navigation, hands-free calling, and internet radio (depending on platform and country).

So what does this mean to the market? Well, effectively anyone with a Touch Life equipped Toyota IQ will have access to free navigation (on Nokia handsets), and a host of connected services (on iPhones), with the potential for additional apps and services becoming available at a later date. Something that before now has required a costly monthly subscription in Europe and a premium price tag!

The big question, drawing many comments, about this (and Toyota’s previously announced Touch and Go head unit) is the lack of Android compatibility. While this will definitely affect Android owners when they decide whether to opt for this system, I feel it unlikely to be a huge blow to the success of the system. If you consider the sheer number of iPhone and Nokia handset owners and that the MirrorLink protocol will likely be adopted by both HTC and Samsung (both part of the CCC) in the near future, the impact should be limited.

Will we see a host of other auto manufacturers rolling out these kinds of systems across their range? In short, this seems unlikely. Most manufacturers may opt for such a basic system in their very small city cars or low-cost models; but larger, more expensive, models will likely keep hold of some embedded functionality; this can be seen with the latest news from Mercedes and its iPod integration and MirrorLink announcements. This will ensure that when drivers find themselves without their phone, they still have more choice than just the radio to listen to.



No comments
The Engineers' Choice Awards highlight some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by...
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners.
Control Engineering Leaders Under 40 identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
Learn more about methods used to ensure that the integration between the safety system and the process control...
Adding industrial toughness and reliability to Ethernet eGuide
Technological advances like multiple-in-multiple-out (MIMO) transmitting and receiving
Virtualization advice: 4 ways splitting servers can help manufacturing; Efficient motion controls; Fill the brain drain; Learn from the HART Plant of the Year
Two sides to process safety: Combining human and technical factors in your program; Preparing HMI graphics for migrations; Mechatronics and safety; Engineers' Choice Awards
Detecting security breaches: Forensic invenstigations depend on knowing your networks inside and out; Wireless workers; Opening robotic control; Product exclusive: Robust encoders
The Ask Control Engineering blog covers all aspects of automation, including motors, drives, sensors, motion control, machine control, and embedded systems.
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
News and comments from Control Engineering process industries editor, Peter Welander.
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
This is a blog from the trenches – written by engineers who are implementing and upgrading control systems every day across every industry.
Anthony Baker is a fictitious aggregation of experts from Callisto Integration, providing manufacturing consulting and systems integration.
Integrator Guide

Integrator Guide

Search the online Automation Integrator Guide
 

Create New Listing

Visit the System Integrators page to view past winners of Control Engineering's System Integrator of the Year Award and learn how to enter the competition. You will also find more information on system integrators and Control System Integrators Association.

Case Study Database

Case Study Database

Get more exposure for your case study by uploading it to the Control Engineering case study database, where end-users can identify relevant solutions and explore what the experts are doing to effectively implement a variety of technology and productivity related projects.

These case studies provide examples of how knowledgeable solution providers have used technology, processes and people to create effective and successful implementations in real-world situations. Case studies can be completed by filling out a simple online form where you can outline the project title, abstract, and full story in 1500 words or less; upload photos, videos and a logo.

Click here to visit the Case Study Database and upload your case study.