According to recent research reports by Strategy Analytics and In-Stat (see articles in Industry News section) automotive applications are now contributing to the rise of Bluetooth sales. Poorly advertised manufacturer entries and aftermarket products are gaining momentum.

Two of the neatest Bluetooth automotive applications are streaming audio through the in-car sound system from portable devices and hands-free cell phone use in which calls are initiated and received without finger fumbling through cell menus and holding a device to your ear while on the road.

Today’s portable devices are rich with memory, more than enough to store libraries of music. Bluetooth connectivity to the car sound system extends the usefulness of such devices and increases the users’ listening enjoyment.

Many cell phones now include Bluetooth technology, which enables all kinds of sync-up and sharing applications. But one of the neatest applications for a Bluetooth-enable cell phone is hands free use while driving.

Just a matter of days ago, I purchased and installed an after-market gizmo in my wife’s mini-van that would allow her to talk hands-free while driving. Just to show you how compelling this application is, I was willing to literally sweat it out in heat and humidity to install this system in her van.

The package came with everything I needed, except the proper wiring harness for her van. Luckily, I knew ahead of time that the adapter harness would be needed and ordered it at the same time. So I had everything I needed. The only tool that was required was a No. 2 Philips screwdriver.

Undaunted, I literally had to remove the entire center control pod and remove the stereo/CD player to begin the installation. With sweat running down my face and arms, I had little difficulty doing so.

Everything went together quite easily and actually worked without any angst. With the ignition key turned on, the Bluetooth-enabled system came alive with a bright color LCD control module, which I mounted on the top left corner of the center control pod for easy driver viewing. The included instructions were simple and clear, allowing me to sync-up her cell phone with the system in a matter of minutes.

The built-in voice recognition did not require any training – it recognized her voice command to call our daughter immediately. “Hmmm,” my wife said. “I like this!” We experimented with me calling her and found that the sound quality was excellent, with the stereo automatically muted when a call comes in. Very nice!

Many car sound systems manufacturers are now including Bluetooth technology in some of their systems to enable audio streaming from portable devices and hands-free calling.

It’s useful applications like these that make life safer and/or more enjoyable that drive markets hard. Bluetooth is rising and people won’t mind sweating a little to install after-market stereos and gizmos to enjoy its benefits.

Stay connected!