Why are Double-din Car Stereo Head Units So Slow and Always Have a Clunky UI?

The question above is a very delicate question which I bet most of us using double-din car stereo head units might have.

However, I will in this post provide you with a layered answer to your question.

I have been a car radio guy for quite a long number of years now,

and I can say that I also hate some kinds of stuff I have encountered in all my years of installing these car radio stereo heads from different manufacturers.

Correctly said,

the double-din car stereo is slow, its software is sluggish, and not easy to use.

However, factors are affecting these once highly-loved products in the market today, and it will be listed in this article.

Market Change

When steadily declining businesses are being mentioned today, the aftermarket head units would be indicated.

The volume of modern cars produced that accepts aftermarket head units is crazily declining because of the birth of integrated sound systems in modern vehicles.

These modern cars sound systems, and also electronics are favorites amongst cars buyers or rather car owners which means that aftermarket systems are most likely to be installed rather than aftermarket head units.

Since these facts that are dwindling the market is already known or felt by aftermarket head unit producers, it’s hard to turn the R&D into better software.

How Did Companies React to this Market Change?

Aftermarket systems seemed determined to make the aftermarket head unit an extinct business. These modern integrated car electronic systems ensure that key features like telemetry, OBD2 data, climate control, and audio were treated the same, as a subsystem.

Aftermarket head unit manufacturers found it tougher trying to market massively a product which would work correctly.

Some companies, such as ADS (producers of iDatalink) that are doing a decent job trying to help in most cases trying to help, but car manufacturers vary greatly, and this means there will be a compromise.

The famous and standard sellers like Kenwood or JVC, Pioneer, Alpine, etc. aren’t consumer computer companies but instead electronics companies, and they are not good at developing software.

Funny enough,

these companies see this disadvantage as a necessity and are proud of it. Another example of this issue can be seen in the previous traditional camera producers; however, digital camera manufacturers changed all that.

What Impact Does This Have on Car Business in General?

The supporting chipsets such as the CPUs and other supporting chipsets are cheap in monetary value, but damn slow, and not in any way advanced.

Now integrate an ancient software code which most head units are based on, it gives a non-attractive experience.  I’m opportune to have used the Pioneer double DINs touchscreens right from its inception years ago, and this puts me in the correct position to say almost all its software is identical, slow, clunky and confusing.

The Jenson software was easy to use but hasn’t undergone any significant change in years, the Clarion which is a recent software was utterly unusable by me. The Kenwood tried though, but to be honest, its functionalities are a den of confusion.

To answer the question in this section, I must say not much.

Generally,

the aftermarket car audio industry is just a dot on the general automotive business. It is just a minute business which the enthusiast manufacturers and installers like me compromise a handful of the brand volume, note: not unit volume.

It is true that there are heavyweights like Alps Electric, Harman, VOX, etc. however, in reality, check, their businesses (aftermarket) when compared to other lines of businesses are small.

Double DINs touchscreen navigation and size, for example, are limiting factors. This aftermarket head is an old form factor because it is indeed big enough for some specific things, but still might not be accurate and even though big enough for all required information that might be needed to run a modern media electronic audio system in a vehicle.

Honestly,

I doubt if there is a single person that cares that much about double DINs. The car companies don’t care, manufacturers also don’t care, and fans bear it even though they grin about it.

What about the Android Head Units?

The android head unit is another exciting aspect of this product that is still interesting.

Recently in Asia,

there is a growing industry in China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan where some head unit fanatics are creating aftermarket head units based on the Android platform.

I became curious and got one for myself on eBay, though it hasn’t been installed yet. Though they are not the only guys to do this because a French company by name Parrott has done this before.

They manufactured a commercial Android aftermarket head unit and released it into the market which became favorable for some time amongst enthusiasts.

However, there is a downside to this whole exciting innovation; Android platform is a decent platform, and there isn’t a doubt about it, but this commercial android aftermarket head units have a problem which is an Android platform is a stagnant software.

So to say,

the makers of these android head units are lack of incentives to perform improvements, make bug fixes and add functionalities, etc.

These guys don’t care about kinds of stuff like SiriusXM, or any other rational system support smartphone integration, iDataLink or any other steering integration.

Conclusion

In general, all I’m trying to point out is that the aftermarket head unit is in a severe and complicated state. Speakers, subwoofers, are either stagnant or sluggish growth. But aftermarket head units are slowly dying, and not even can big companies like Apple or Google save the industry.

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