Cars still can't accommodate phones well

Why can't car makers have phone holders in a place that is useful?
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Why can't car makers have phone holders in a place that is useful?

OPINION: Using a phone in a car is still a hassle even though manufacturers have had a decade to accommodate them.

I can forgive most of my own car's failings when it comes to phones as it's pretty old.

I still get annoyed there's no way to connect my phone to the stereo. iPods had been around for a while when my car was made so I'd at least expect a USB or headphone port.

But car makers didn't try to meet the needs of iPod owners 10-15 years ago and not much has changed.

Modern cars still lack some basic features to make life easier for a phone-wielding driver.

I noticed this recently when I hired a newish car. I thought it was a chance for my phone to be at home in a vehicle.

The first thing I noticed was there was nowhere to put my phone. I assumed there would be a holder near the dash so I could easily use Google Maps.

There was nothing available - just a place in front of the gear stick to place my phone. Even my old car has that. 

I assume this is because car makers want you to use their in-car navigation and entertainment systems.

But reviews of those have been mixed. Some are slow, some are complicated and all of them require you to buy a new car or get an expensive unit installed.

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These systems have also been criticised as distracting and putting motorists at risk of crashes, according to a study by the AAA.

The majority of Kiwis rely on their smartphones to provide their in-car tech needs.

That's because the average age of cars in New Zealand is 14 years, according to the Ministry of Transport.

It must irk new car owners that they have to spend the same amount to get their car smartphone ready as it does someone driving an older vehicle.

Both types of owners need to buy a phone holder, a charger and a cable to plug into the stereo. 

I'm not sure why car manufacturers ignore drivers' smartphone needs. 

Unfortunately, I don't see them changing. However, if any of them did focus on phones, I'd bet it'd attract more buyers than some of the latest tech gimmicks they promote.

 

 - Stuff

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