Finally, An Automaker Integrates Your Phone Directly As Its Primary Information Display

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The new Toyota FT-4X Concept could use your smartphone as its information display, eliminating the factory Nav and audio receiver.

One of the most common upgrades to a new car is the optional and expensive Nav system. Usually tied to an upgraded audio and infotainment setup, many automakers charge thousands to get the same navigation technology one could find for a hundred bucks at any Radio Shack.

The irony is that Nav is free and better on your phone. However, integration of this information is important, so many buyers still ante up. Apple Car Play and Android Auto are an excellent alternative if they are offered. However, they still require a cord. Why can’t we just dock the phone itself right up on the dash or behind the steering wheel and let it be the Nav system and let it also operate our audio? Toyota has just shown a new concept vehicle at this week’s New York Auto Show that does exactly that.

 Buyer’s Guide: Navigation System Options When Buying a New Vehicle

The new, FT-4X Concept is a compact 4×4 crossover that will use much of Toyota’s new 2018 C-HR platform and running gear. It looks like a beefed up Kia Soul with more exotic styling. Toyota envisions it joining the ranks of the dozens of off-road vehicles people rarely take off-road, but rather cruise around city streets in.

As the video above shows, Toyota’s imaginings of how its young buyers would use the new FT-4X include cool adventures spray-painting on the walls of urban buildings and then having a sort of camping party in the parking lot. There is also break dancing and some skateboarding involved. The key part of the video is at time stamp 1:07. Watch the gal grab her phone from the dash dock and take a selfie.

Toyota seems serious about the idea, saying in a statement,  “Although there is no traditional navigation screen, designers did include a mobile phone mount directly above the driver’s digitized cylindrical instrument cluster. The concept being that a downloadable navigation application, as well as an application showing digitized off-road instrumentation, can be made available for drivers’ use. Gen Y-ers, Calty’s designers realized, rely heavily on their mobile devices for GPS directions.”

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John Goreham

John Goreham