Blog_092614_2I’ve been saying for years that auto companies ought to cede their in-dash bravado, and just pipe in the content, UI and capabilities from smartphones and tablets. Given their longer product development cycles and the fact that dashboard user interface is not their primary focus, I believe the auto companies should focus purely on physical UI technologies (touch screens, heads-up-displays, steering wheel input devices, etc), but leave the pixels to the tech-consumer companies.

While that has been slowly happening, this week my bicycle just quantum-leaped our family car (a 2012 VW Tiguan) in terms of nav-system, stereo, and other hands-free features, and with a single $29 purchase at that.

Riding between meetings in San Francisco last week, I realized I needed a safe way to get directions from my phone while on bicycle. The solution I found is the Topeak Ride Case, a $29.25 [amazon] iPhone case and mating handlebar bracket. I’ve always found Topeak products to be pretty clever, and this one is no different. It can either be mounted as a stem cap (for thread-less headset bikes) or mounted to their hose-clamp style handlebar mount. Parts are included for both. I went the latter setup figuring it would be better to get it further forward so as not to look as far down. The mount seems secure, easy to click your phone on and off, and even rotates 90° for landscape. The case that stays on you phone is not too cumbersome either, although a little thicker than average cases.Blog_092614_3

Now my bike has Google Maps (the gMaps App has pretty good cycling directions), 20,000+ songs in iTunes Match, voice dialing and texting via Siri, and even a video chat – although you have to be careful with that one while riding!

 

 

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