This story first appeared in the December 2019 issue of AutoTalk.

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Whether you use Android or Apple, vehicle drivers can now have options for safe use of mobile phones in vehicles, thanks to Bluetooth and most vehicle brands are involved in this initiative.

To quote Wikipedia: “Bluetooth is a wireless technology standard used for exchanging data between fixed and mobile devices over short distances using short-wavelength UHF radio waves, it was originally conceived as a wireless alternative to bulky data cables.”

For automotive use Bluetooth is the perfect capability for smart mobile phones allowing hands-free calling, text and email reading and writing, calendar functions, note taking and of course, location and directions with Maps.

Using voice activation expands the use, although the larger touch screens in dashboards are easier to navigate than fumbling with the smart phone. And there is more to come as apps develop in the future.

The recent and more tactile touchscreens are far more user friendly than previous, using Capacitive displays ensuring your contact is effective even with the motion of the vehicle to overcome.

Specialist supplier of retrospective fitting Car Play and Android Auto solutions are OEM Audio, who have evolved products to suit New Zealand’s vast array of models, including those bothersome JDM [Japanese Domestic Market] audio units that usually mean you are trapped to forever listen to 88.6 FM radio.

Not every model vehicle is covered but the range is expanding with demand and availability.

All are engineered to plug in with little to no modification, you just follow the instructions as supplied.

OEM Audio’s website is fact filled but if you need an installer, they can direct you to someone capable.

Current model examples are:
BTN500 – Top selling Toyota unit fits a host of models that use 200mmw x 100mmw aperture.
BTN550 is another Toyota Alternative.
BTN600 – Designed exclusively for late model Nissan vehicles such as Juke, Leaf and Navara or any models with 200mmw x 100mmh audio aperture size.
BTN650 – A new 9-inch touchscreen for the latest models of Nissan Qashqai and Xtrail.
Make sure to confirm your model [ST, STL or TI] when ordering to ensure correct wiring included.
BTN700 – Latest unit for Mitsubishi universal fit 206 mm x 106 mm with factory wiring plugs for effortless installation.
These are due any day.
BTN800 – Volkswagen’s popular universal unit will fit a large range of VW models including Mk5 and 6 Golf, EOS, later Polo, Passat and Transporter models.
Most of OEM Audio products feature Bluetooth technology for easy mobile connection when receiving or making calls.

Dealer tip

  • Take away the resistance to a sale with standard or Billy Basic audio.
  • Sell in the safety advantages of Bluetooth for taking and making calls or for using your device as a music player or for streaming from services such as Spotify.
  • Ask your customer what they use their mobile for.
  • You may find more profit margin with assisting a customer achieve full use of their equipment investment.

Consumer tip

  • When buying cars or mobile devices consider how long you expect it to do the job.
  • Technology marches on and a buck saved now might cost you in the longer term.
  • Consider testing compatibility of mobile devices with the vehicle you are purchasing.
  • A mobile is way cheaper to update than the vehicle so maybe upgrade both at the same time to get best results.

Traditionally it’s been the case that car manufacturers make great cars, but usually terrible radios, which explains why OEM Audio has a business.