Make us your home page
Instagram

Five car tech features that are a waste of space

A few very odd and unnecessary features have caught on in the infotainment systems of cars. Here's a look at silly features spotted in cars displayed on the recent Los Angeles Auto Show floor.

Picture navigation: Audi unveiled the A3, the first vehicle that can connect directly to a 4G LTE mobile network. With that, the German automaker introduced a feature it's calling picture navigation. Imagine trying to meet some friends at a beach. They say they are by lifeguard tower 6, but where exactly that is and what's the closest parking to that tower is unclear.

You ask one of your friends to text you a picture from the spot. Once received, you download the picture and open it up in Audi's smartphone app. The app can pull metadata from the photo, including the GPS coordinates indicating where it was taken. Click "send to car," and the coordinates are shipped to the in-car navigation system. Voila — if you really want to go through all that trouble.

Basic calendars: Mitsubishi, Acura and Lincoln are among the car manufacturers that have included a calendar app in their infotainment systems. They don't synch with a smartphone's calendar, and they don't allow car owners to add events to them.

Compass app: Infiniti's Q50 S included an app to help orient vehicle occupants. Of course, they could just as easily look to the screen right above where the navigation app does its magic. In the bottom right corner of the navigation screen sits a perfectly suitable compass.

Photo galleries: Looking at the kids is great, but is that something that needs to be done in a Volkswagen or a Chevy? What happens when you upload photos to your car and then the vehicle gets stolen? At least a phone owner can remotely wipe it if stolen. A photo gallery app might make sense if there was some easy way to find screen saver functionality, but this wasn't apparent in any cars.

Same goes for the "Movie times" app that often comes with satellite radio services. Isn't settling on a movie time a decision that's made before stepping into a car?

Poor menus: A quirk in the menu on the Chevrolet Camaro exemplified the confusion that is infotainment systems. One screen menu included buttons for fuel prices, movie times and quick info. When "quick info" was clicked, a new menu popped up. On this screen, two options were again fuel prices and movie times.

Bonus: A Lincoln representative said that its cars can accept 25,000 different voice commands. How to go about learning all of them? Car owners are directed to watch videos online.

Five car tech features that are a waste of space 12/02/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, December 4, 2013 11:47am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Tribune News Service.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Black entrepreneur says city stiffing him on project after he endorsed Rick Baker

    News

    ST. PETERSBURG — A prominent African-American resident says his endorsement of mayoral candidate Rick Baker has led city officials to freeze him out of a major construction project along the historic "Deuces" stretch of 22nd Street S.

  2. Sen. Nelson urges FEMA to examine high number of denied flood claims

    Banking

    Sen. Bill Nelson urged FEMA on Tuesday to ensure fairness, proper oversight and transparency in processing Hurricane Irma aid following a report by the Palm Beach Post that 90 percent of Irma claims under the National Flood Insurance Program had been denied.

    Sen. Bill Nelson is calling for FEMA to ensure the flood claims process post-Hurricane Irma is fair and ethical following reports that 90 percent of claims under the National Flood Insurance Program were denied. | [Times file photo]
  3. Amazon expands in Tampa with Pop-Up shop in International Plaza

    Retail

    TAMPA — A new retailer known largely for its online presence has popped up at International Plaza and Bay Street.

    Shoppers walk past the new Amazon kiosk Tuesday at the International Plaza in Tampa. The kiosk, which opened last month, offers shoppers an opportunity to touch and play with some of the products that Amazon offers.
[CHRIS URSO   |   Times]

  4. Study: Florida has fourth-most competitive tax code

    Banking

    Florida's tax code is the fourth most competitive in the country, according to a study released Tuesday by nonprofit group Tax Foundation.

    Florida has the fourth-most competitive tax code, a study by the Tax Foundation said. Pictured is  Riley Holmes, III, H&R Block tax specialist, helping a client with their tax return in April. | [SCOTT KEELER, Times]
  5. Trigaux: On new Forbes 400 list of U.S. billionaires, 35 now call Florida their home

    Personal Finance

    The latest Forbes 400 richest people in America was unveiled Tuesday, with 35 billionaires on that list calling Florida home. That's actually down from 40 Florida billionaires listed last year when a full 10 percent listed declared they were Floridians by residence.

    Edward DeBartolo, Jr., shopping center developer and  former San Francisco 49ers Owner, posed with his bronze bust last year during the NFL Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony in Canton, Ohio. DeBartolo remains the wealthiest person in Tampa Bay according to the Forbes 400 list released Tuesday. 
[Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images]