Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Audi thinking about bringing A2 back

Apparently Audi is thinking about the Audi A2 back. The A2 was a quite innovative car with less than 900 kg and a fuel efficient engine. However, it didn't sell to well, which was, I think, because of the fairly ambitious price and the less than exciting design. Anyway, the new A2 is supposed to be much more modern and coming with electrical power. What is even more new though, is the idea to build one version of the hardware only, sold at a standard price and have the customers customize their car with "applications". For this Audi builds an "app store", similar to what Apple is doing so successfully. But the Audi apps will not only allow to customize the color of the dials, but also to enable functions built into the hardware. You want a seat heating? Download an app for let's say 300 USD and you can actually switch on the already built in heater. Now this creates a number of issues, I think:
First, I wouldn't want to buy complexity for features I will not use (download). Every additional piece of technology makes cars more complex and more heavy usually.
Secondly, it makes me feel stupid that I buy something, have it, but can't use it, because I don't have the permission as I didn't download the app. If it's pure software functionality then this may be okay, but if it's hardware? However we have already had this and the whole engine chip tuning industry lives from the same concept.
Thirdly, I wonder how long we have to wait until you find instructions on how to "jailbreak" your Audi A2, hack into the "operating system" and free all these available features using an "illegal" approach. And how long will it take until legal battles are fought whether the warranty can be canceled if somebody jailbreaks the software.
Let's see ...

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