As the vehicle display industry is set to reach 100 million units in 2016, it is clear that car manufacturers are looking to incorporate more value-added features into their mix that not only provide safety, comfort and convenience, but entertainment as well.
We all know about interactive dashboards that provide navigation and camera features, as previously seen on high-end cars back in the mid 2000s and later in mid-range cars at around 2010. As prices dropped for the displays and as car shipments began to stagnate due to uncertainties in the economy, overall vehicle shipments were weak and makers were looking to incorporate new value that could spur growth again.
It just so happens around this time the need for connectivity was also on the rise and has since continued to spur due to the IoT market, which is expected to be valued at over US$1 trillion in 2015. The need for people to be connected with their devices regardless of location, time or circumstance became apparent in the market and car makers began to react by having functional dashboards built in that could connect phone calls without having to use your phone directly due to a Bluetooth connection. The makers also provided more touch dashboard features that even began to provide dashboard connectivity in 2012 that was meant to give consumers more access to maps and other features such as weather and traffic updates.
Due to this trend the industry saw vehicle display shipments increase and they began to further increase as displays were incorporated into the back of vehicles for movie watching and other entertainment purposes. However, this trend is now starting to move back to the front of the car so to speak where drivers want more than just a screen for navigation purposes, and instead something that will also bring entertainment while on the road.
This feature has sparked a lot of debate and having a screen for entertainment purposes near the driver’s seat is legal in some places. In the US there are various laws from state to state that dictate the legality of having such features embedded into one’s car for safety concerns while other countries have relaxed rules and others very stringent. Carmakers meanwhile are stuck in the middle but believe a screen in the car is not something illegal and rather the driver needs to use it in accordance with the local laws.
Drivers do not necessarily want to watch TV while driving but are looking for ways to be entertained while sitting at red lights and dozing off. Screens in the car that allow for increased web browsing via a connected Bluetooth device or Wifi signal allow people to get online and keep whatever they are viewing in their peripheral vision as opposed to a smartphone, which requires you to use at least one hand to operate it and view it in a way separate from your driving field of vision. They are part of the next step in connectivity and are a niche that software developers are looking into more in addition to applications for TV, smartwatch and other wearable devices.
One niche that is looking to take its presence more “on the road” is the gambling industry. There are rumors spreading that specialized apps for new devices will be developed from makers such as Platinum Play and 888 Casino to fulfill ongoing demand for the traveling gambler. When these applications will hit the market is up for debate but given the slowdown in the online casino industry from 2013 onwards there is a highly likelihood we will see them hit the market in 2016 in addition to newly updated software and games.
Car casino play however is actually still available. Due to new touch screen functions that allow for multi-touch response on areas that are not designed in accordance with apps people can now browse and touch freely on the screen while using the Internet. This means players can access their favourite games provided they have a touch screen embedded into their dashboard and begin playing for real money much like they could with other devices.
But this is not the only option. In fact, as long as you have a built-in stand that can connect to your vehicle’s dashboard and costs around $20 you can connect your tablet or smartphone device such as an iPad or iPhone and have it rest nicely inside. The tablet can charge through the cigarette lighter area and can run on its own data plan for connecting online to play games. This method in fact is how many people in other parts of the world view screens in the car, with taxi drivers in parts of the world such as Taiwan and Japan viewing them while stuck in traffic as something to do to pass the time.
If you find yourself often on the road or stuck in traffic, you may want to consider such a device, especially if you enjoy casino playing. The activity does not necessarily need to pose threat and can be an enjoyment for the user and a potentially huge niche for developers and carmakers alike if chosen to pursue.