2012 Volkswagen Jetta GLIEnlarge Photo
In-car DVD has made long trips a much quieter experience for parents, and now a deal between Volkswagen and Microsoft could make watching movies in your car even easier.
Hard data storage in many modern in-car entertainment systems has made it easy to store thousands of music files or hundreds of satellite navigation maps, but Microsoft and VW may soon make in-car DVD players obsolete by offering huge levels of media space that allow you to store full-length movies, too.
The agreement is Microsoft's first in the automotive sector. The company says the technology "be stored on a broad range of consumer electronic devices and increases the speed with which they can be accessed". It also means the end of DVD cases rattling around the footwells, just as MP3 connections cleared the clutter of CDs.
"The goal of the joint venture is to provide an infotainment software suite to enhance reuse of software for in-vehicle infotainment and to drive innovations."
VW and Microsoft also aim to reduce driver distractions with their new entertainment systems, and Volkswagen will benefit from closer links with the fast-paced world of consumer technology, which is significantly quicker to react to changes in the market than the automotive sector.
With all that media at your fingertips, we could be close to hearing the last of "are we there yet?". Unfortunately, it may be replaced with "do we have to be there yet?"...