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Ways to think about cars, by Benedict Evans

Stashed in: Cars!, Awesome, @a16z, Uber, Self-driving Cars, Internet of Things

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So many changes: electric battery breakthroughs, on demand, self driving, and adding smarts.

In particular I liked his comparison to the dawn of the smartphone era:

I bought a second-hand car when I moved to San Francisco last year. It's a 2009 model and it reminds me very much of using a Nokia in 2002 - a perfect feature phone before they started adding smart to it, badly. There's a point for many such devices (cameras might be another example) where the UI is perfectly optimised, and a trend after that for new features to grow like ivy, each one making perfect sense by itself, until you are swamped by multifunction controls and can no longer work out what anything does. Then software arrives and sweeps everything away. This was the death of Nokia, and arguably the Japanese consumer electronics industry, and probably many other products, and it's where cars have arrived now.

That is, it's now pretty easy to look at a car and say 'this should be a smartphone' - somehow. It also seems likely that the right way to do that is with software companies, not engineering companies, and that it should be driven by the software-powered device that you replace every two years and not the car that you replace every ten years. To the extent that you add smart to a car, it should really be from the smartphone, with the car dashboard itself being 'dumb glass' just like a connected TV. That's not limited to the navigation or entertainment either - the valuable place to add smart is to the driving controls and displays. That might be Apple's CarPlay or Google's Android Auto, or it might be this universal standard for adding smart to a car.

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