It'll be the most connected car on the market when it goes on sale in early 2013 but the new Mercedes-Benz A-Class could go out of fashion as quickly as flares or stone wash jeans – or an iPod or Blackberry.
The A-Class will be the first car on sale with social media connectivity. It uses the electronic brains and data capability of an iPhone to interact with websites, including social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
A dedicated app allows it to connect to the car and deliver unique functionality tailored for motoring.
But the A-Class's futuristic features could also see some of its fancy gadgetry left as a high-tech orphan as technology organisations update their software and hardware.
Already the much anticipated iPhone 5 is expected to change the 30-pin connector plug that's been a feature of iPods, iPhones and iPads since their inception, potentially rendering some functionality ineffective.
While it will be an inconvenience for anyone with accessories and chargers for the current hardware, it could render some features of a car built to the old system useless.
The A-Class's product manager for telematics, Norbert Neuber, admits that phone technology could leave the much-hyped new system stranded within years.
"Worst case, yes," he says. "But we try to refresh it and we will work further on it … like we do now with[the upcoming] iPhone 5."
Neuber says the pace of change within the electronics industry makes future-proofing new technology in cars more difficult.
However he says the consumer demand – particularly from younger buyers – means such innovations cannot be ignored.
"That's one of the biggest issues right now – with an iPhone a lifecycle of two years and with a car maybe 10 years," says Neuber.
He says the company has engineers based in California with the likes of Google and Apple as neighbours, making it easier to discuss issues such as longevity and updates.
"We don't even know if Apple will exist in 10 or 15 years," he says of the challenge ahead. "We are working very close together with Apple but even Apple doesn't even know what they will do in 10 years.
"I guess it's an issue you can't solve but at least we work very, very close together with them."
Mercedes-Benz also admits the connected technology could test safety regulators due to its ability to allow on-the-go updates, albeit with many safety caveats built in, which the brand says meet the strictest driver distraction regulations currently in place in some countries.
- Sydney Morning Herald