The app in the car
As Jennifer Degtjarewsky notes in Road & Track, what’s most intriguing about mobile, web-connected apps in a car is the simplicity, and perhaps the coming expectation, of future upgrades. Your car may age and depreciate, but the app and your connection to it – the dashboard itself – can be new and improved for as long as you own the car. Apple’s clever advertising slogan, “There’s an app for that,” is ingenious in its deceit. There are indeed a bazillion apps – but not for everything. Yet. The slogan is a prediction.
Granted, this could introduce new and dangerous driver distractions. Angry Birds in your dashboard is a bad idea. But future versions of your car’s app might improve your driving experience, eliminate flaws or add beneficial features that were unavailable when you bought the car. It might protect you from distracting phone calls, or your in-dash navigation may improve over time as you update your nav app or completely swap from one service to another. The car gets older, but better.
Mini extends this modular thinking to the physical design of the car itself. The new 4-door Countryman model incorporates a powered rail down the center of the cabin that can be customized and personalized with items such as cupholders and charging docks. Last year Mini organized a design competition to come up with creative ideas for the rail. Winning concepts included an in-car gas fireplace and hot water kettle, a karaoke system, an extra steering wheel and a back seat iPad dock for multi-player games.
- See more pictures and videos of the Mini Connected App at MiniUSA
- Check out other design concepts and challenges at MiniSpace
Andrew Nachison is founder of We Media. He lives in Reston, Virginia.