Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Another One Bites The Dust

Well, it's not like we couldn't see this coming from miles away (link):
FOR all of you who were planning to pack up your oldies tapes and go shopping for a 2011 car, there is bad news: you’re too late. According to experts who monitor the automotive market, the last new car to be factory-equipped with a cassette deck in the dashboard was a 2010 Lexus.

While it is possible that a little-known exception lurks deep within some automaker’s order forms, a survey of major automakers and a search of new-car shopping Web sites indicates that the tape deck is as passé as tailfins on a Caddy.
Yep, the cassette has gone the way of the dodo and the eight track. The medium has been dying for years, but in my mind, this pretty much makes it official. The obsolescence of cassette tape media is hardly alone:
But the cassette’s epitaph was being written with the arrival of the compact disc. The CD, not subject to wear because it was read by a laser beam and had no physical contact with the player, delivered even less distortion, even higher fidelity — and remains the ubiquitous audio source in new cars.

Audio seers say that the CD, too, will eventually fade away. Technology marches on, and automakers are wary of becoming stragglers in that parade.
Even satellite radio’s time has passed, he said. “It was a savior to the aftermarket, but in terms of subscription-based models like that, the sun is setting.”

Complicating the choice for drivers and automakers is the multitude of choices. “Right now,” Mr. Koenig said, “we typically have copies of our songs on a CD, on our computer, on our iPods. We may have downloads on our phone.”

He added: “It’s a lot of duplication, and all of that content will eventually exist in the cloud. We’ll pull it down on demand. We’ll pay a subscription fee, or, more likely, the service will be advertiser supported.”

The bottom line to Mr. Koenig’s vision is that carmakers will be able to reduce drastically the costly electronics and hardware that reside in the dashboard. In this future, he said, the vehicle becomes just another connection node on a network.
So, iPods and other flash memory based MP3 players will be history, as well as my beloved SiriusXM.


All this talk of being continually hooked up to the cloud is all fine and good, but ya know what? That requires some sort of network that is available everywhere that just does not exist today. Piggybacked on 3G or 4G cell service? Not if you don't have cell service to begin with. No one is aggressively planting new towers in areas that don't have sufficient service now. For instance, cell service at The Poor Farm is, for all practical purposes, non existent. Some of the areas where we haul tanks don't even have much in the way of FM radio, much less cell service.

Sooo, sorry, but I don't see the "cloud" coming to the farm or oil patch nearest you real soon. I'm gonna base my audio entertainment thusly.


CGHill said...

My car, you may be sure, plays CDs. And cassettes. And, with my cheesy $10 cassette adaptor, plays my MP3 player.

And it sounds better with any of these than with FM or AM radio.

Jeffro said...

My ol Chebby truck plays both cassettes and CDs - but I don't think I've ever tried the tape player. I took all my tapes trucking years ago and they didn't fare very well.