When I stepped into a new car with Bluetooth three years ago my world changed, well my driving experience did and I can never go back to a non-Bluetooth vehicle. Most of the time you don’t know it’s there, it just does stuff you expect these days. However the basic features of having Bluetooth in your veicle has moved on and there are some really cool things manufacturers are providing that really do change the way we commute for the better..
For those many motorists that have vehicles without Bluetooth you really are missing some helpful features however it must be pointed out that Bluetooth is a helpful driving aide and not a fundamental requirement to drive a car these days.
Bluetooth is a relatively young technology that’s only been around for 20 years. As it began to feature on laptops and smartphones in the early 2000s, Bluetooth in cars was not common at all until 10 years ago. As Bluetooth was introduced to mobile phones in 2001, hands free phone features began to appear in cars a year later. And Bluetooth was an optional extra you paid a lot for just to have hands-free calls that were paired to your mobile phone.
Funny enough many manufacturers did not think Bluetooth was a marketable feature of their vehicles. Originally Bluetooth phone came in the form of kits where you had to fit a microphone to the car roof or dash and plug it into the lighter socket. It still required you to pick up your phone and dial first which we know is illegal now. Then there were the next level of kits you could get built into the car that interfaced with your audio and the cables were hidden - coming at great cost.
When manufacturers finally realise the benefits outweighed the costs to install, they began providing in-built Bluetooth features in the manufacturing process and today virtually every vehicle has Bluetooth as standard equipment.
You do not need to know much about technology in order to run Bluetooth. For one when you purchase your new car, a friendly sales consultant should run through the basic setup and concept of Bluetooth with the customer. So it’s usually set up for you the moment you drive away in a new vehicle. Bluetooth eneabled car-console interfaces are now usually accessed via a touchscreen with very easy and intuitive option that most people can understand.
If you only use Bluetooth to just talk on the phone while you drive, you are missing out on some of the biggest benefits of having Bluetooth.
What Bluetooth can do now.
Some in-car infotainment systems can use Bluetooth to take control of the apps that are already on your smartphone. This opens up all kinds of possibilities, from using voice commands to selecting radio stations from a radio app to making a reservation at your favorite restaurant. Your smart phone's Contact list is automatically imported into the car's touch screen interface via Bluetooth which in turn displays you contacts by pressinga Phone button or requesting it via a vouce command.
In this way, Bluetooth can be used to connect the apps you already love to an interface that's safe to use in the car.
This is the one most of us and especially the younger generation regard as the best feature of having Bluetooth in your car other than making phone calls. The ability to stream audio for things like favourite playlists, podcasts or audio books from your phone while on long or short drives is a must.
The first thing my young daughter does when she hops in the car is to immediately sync up my phone or her iPod to the sound system with a myriad of music apps I have no idea about. AT least I still have the master controls and am constatly turning down the (maximum) volume that can't be overriden using the phone. You can even use music streaming services directly from the Internet to play through the sound system.
Hands-Free Text Messaging
Most smartphones give you two way access to your text messages, meaning that your phone can read your text messages to you or allow you to dictate a text message. When your car has Bluetooth, you can hear your messages through your car’s speakers.
Who needs Sat Nav when you have Bluetooth?
You don't need to spend extra and mount a sat-nav device to your dash if you have a smartphone and Bluetooth. Using a smart phone GPS or map app, you won’t risk missing a turn because you didn’t hear the prompt. By pairing your car with your smart phone or GPS, you can have the directions for your next trip spoken through your car’s speakers.
I can listen to my virtual Co-Pilot
This is no life changer but you can use the Bluetooth car technology to use your smartphone personal assistant, like Apple’s Siri, to take care of certain tasks for you while you drive. You can ask your phone the weather, check on traffic, or the address of a destination and hear its response via the speakers in your car.
Other Cool uses of Car Bluetooth
One thing I like to do is when going on a picnic, camping or parked on a beach I can be sitting many metres away from the car and have a remote control to the car’s sound system to control the music selections, playlists and volume. And one of the best things about car Bluetooth technology is that others can share it! The kids in the backseat like to take over and stream music through your car, this may be one of the “annoying” features of car Bluetooth id the driver’s taste in music differs to that of the passengers.
So next time you buy a car, ask about the Bluetooth features. Toyota provide a Bluetooth system called Toyota Link. Toyota Link gives you access to a world of information.
Toyota Link Features
- Destination Download
- Local Search
- Fuel Finder
- Toyota Help
Read more about the features of Toyota Link