82-Year Evolution from Car Radio to the latest in Infotainment.
Wayne Gerdes - CleanMPG
- May 26, 2012
Chevrolet’s Infotainment solution called MyLink allows drivers to use both hands-free voice and touch-screen controls via basic Bluetooth device connectivity with far more planned for future generations of the system.
Today’s in-car listening is known by the buzz word “infotainment” which combines information with entertainment. While the days of AM/FM have been numbered for almost a generation, it continues to be one of the most listened to mediums while on the road today with no end in sight as new forms of entertainment reach our ears almost on a daily basis. That said, automakers are hell bent to provide customers with the very latest with systems utilizing the very latest technology to make connecting with and enjoying the many hours we spend on the road today as easy as pushing the talk button on the steering wheel.
For 82 years, the automobile and the radio have been practically inseparable. Today, the experience is more than turning knobs to find a station and setting the volume. As in-car connectivity and infotainment systems evolve, the driver is both programmer and receiver.
Here’s a look at some notable milestones of the car radio, from the simple AM radio in 1930 to today’s integrated infotainment systems that allow near complete customization.
- 1930: Love at First Sight - The radio and automobile met in 1930, with the Galvin brothers’ in-car radio unit, the first commercially successful car radio installed in an automobile.
- 1952: Let’s Just Call It FM - Originally dubbed “Frequency Modulation”, FM was introduced by Blaupunk in 1952, offering an alternative to AM radio.
- 1964: Enter the Cassette - First introduced in 1964, the cassette revolutionized how people listened to music and for the first time gave the individual instead of the DJ the choice of what music to play and when. Enter branded aftermarket cassette-tape players from Alpine to Pioneer in the 1970s.
- 1985: First Factory-Installed In-Dash CD Player - With the launch of compact discs the previous year, Becker quickly jumped on the opportunity and introduced the first in-dash CD player.
- 2001: Satellite Radio Goes Live with Tim McGraw - Satellite radio became available in 2001 with Tim McGraw the first artist played over satellite radio.
- 2007: Users “Sync” Their Smartphones - Automakers begin to offer drivers with voice-activated access to content on their iPods, cell phones and more.”
- 2012: The Chevy Spark: Big Technology, Mini-Car - Chevy ditches the CD player in favor of MyLink, which turns the car into an app by integrating smartphone and stored media with the radio, giving you access to Pandora, Stitcher and other content.”
What tomorrow will bring is an interesting question as the DOT has all but put out the word with a “Wanted Dead or Alive” mandate for automakers to slow the progression of in-car infotainment in order to alleviate the many distractions we contend with each and every day. Let us hope a good balance is found to keep our hands on the wheel and more importantly, our eyes and minds on the road ahead.