An Eye On Lower-End Connected Cars – Inside Radio

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“The era of the basic AM/FM/CD radio is essentially dead,” says Harman Infotainment Division president Sachin Lawande. It’s not that radio is dead, mind you, but the basic dashboard receiver that’s been a fixture in new cars for decades is on life support.

The audio manufacturer sees “a lot of runway” in going after cars built for the masses. Harman CEO Dinesh Paliwal says the 6-inch to 8-inch dashboard screen is becoming standard as carmakers challenge companies like his to come up with both mid-level receivers, where connectivity relies on a smartphone, and more advanced “smart screen” receivers that have an internet connection built in.

But he believes consumer interest and technology have advanced to a point where there’s now an opening for a lower-end systems for even the cheapest vehicles. “You can have your tuner technology, which we do bring in AM/FM, but the real estate would also be used for smartphone integration,” Paliwal told investors during a conference call.

He said it would open less tech-savvy drivers to a very different center stack. “More and more even those who could never afford an embedded infotainment system would opt for an entry-level system, which is basically a hybrid of smartphone and some features connected in the car,” Paliwal said.

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