Mobile technology has truly taken the world by storm, spreading faster than home computers, cable TV or even the internet itself. Today, more than half of all Americans carry a smartphone or tablet with them when they walk out the front door in the morning, and many people are even giving up their traditional phone service completely. A good smartphone allows you to run your business, make plans for the weekend and keep in touch with friends and relatives across the globe with ease, and every passing year sees it all become more affordable. People even use their smartphones as a mobile jukebox, giving up on CDs and putting all of their music on these tiny supercomputers. But that means you no longer have CDs to play in the car. Since teleportation technology doesn’t seem to be coming around any time soon there’s no getting around those long commutes, and the role music plays in making it all bearable. So here are some options to help you play music from your smartphone in your car.
On the high end of your options are the various smart radios currently available, hovering around the $300 price range. This is for folks who spend so much time in their vehicles that they’re almost like second homes. If you commute several hours a day or work out of your car, you’re going to need more than simple music access. So install a smart radio, and you’ll have a number of apps at your disposal. Basically, you’ll set up a permanent dock in your car, and plug the smartphone in as soon as you get behind the wheel. You’ll be able to access everything your smartphone can do from a touchscreen in the car. That means internet and streaming video to keep your tunes company.
If you want to be able to play music saved on your smartphone as well as access streaming radio services, you can spend about $100 less than the smart radio for a more traditional aftermarket installation. Car stereos sold by most of the major manufacturers now include a dock or a plug for your smartphone. The difference here is that you’ll have to access all of those options through the smartphone itself, simply using your car stereo as a transfer system through to your speakers.
Step things down a notch with an adapter for your factory radio. These will cost in the neighborhood of $100, and will turn your existing CD changer into a port you can plug your smartphone into. You’ll control it all with your smartphone, and it’s a simple switch. Even simpler is if your stereo already has an auxiliary jack. This is commonly used for headphones, but can be used in exactly the same way to plug in your smartphone. You’ll find these jacks in most late-model radios straight from the factory, common in basically all newer cars on the road. The only purchase you’ll need to make is the auxiliary cord, which will run you around $5. You’ll have to turn on the regular radio for the latest music news, as this will only allow you to play MP3s and some limited digital radio services. In addition, you’ll need a separate cord to charge your smartphone. It’s a little less convenient at first, but transferring your smartphone to and from your vehicle is incredibly easy with this setup.