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I installed a new car stereo this weekend [1], which has Bluetooth audio and phone and is in every way superior to the standard Toyota stereo [2]. Except that it looks like the sound system from a 1977 shag-carpeted pleather-lined van doubling as an on-call mobile cathouse.

All the other ones in the Crutchfield catalog were right up there in style. Fake plastic chrome on the buttons, disco show lights (how is that the default in a moving 3000 lb agent of death?). I’ve read nothing good about any of the touchscreen versions, and CarPlay is still too damn expensive.

Car stereos are still in the dark ages of electronics, and it’s a couple of years before they get with the program (CarPlay). But it’s not like the first decent touch screen phone didn’t come out almost a decade ago.

Auto manufacturers are way behind the curve. Someone is going to eat their lunch. Or to use an en fleek catchphrase – they can either disrupt themselves, or someone else will.

I started to write “charging two grand for a GPS/stereo system that doesn’t work as well as the one in my pocket is going to bite them in the ass. Ripping off your customers is not a good business model”, except that, of course, it is.

That said, it was surprisingly easy to get the stereo to work with the phones.

In order to install this stereo, I had to modify the brackets. Thinking I’d be stymied by needing to let the Dremel charge up after sitting in the garage for probably three years since I last used it, I was more than pleasantly surprised when the Dremel fired up and cut through both (surprisingly) substantial bits with no problem. Yay, Li-ION batteries!




[1] Pro-tip: pay someone else to do this.

[2] Because the 3rd party iPhone adapter I bought crapped out literally just after the warranty expired, and GROM refused to replace it. Fuckers. Do not bother with this sort of crap. You can buy a pretty good stereo for between $100 and $250 that has BT, iPhone compatibility, better sound, and Pioneer doesn’t fuck you over an extra $25 for a special cable because they used a custom connection instead of USB so they could pry that cash out of you.