For automakers, one of the biggest headaches posed by infotainment systems is instant obsolescence.
The auto industry, with its stately three- to five-year product cycles, simply can't keep up with the shootout-at-the-O.K.-Corral product cycles of smartphone makers. New applications produced for smartphones often aren't compatible with the dated software and hardware found in autos.
But this is starting to change. Early this year, Nvidia Corp. of Santa Clara, Calif., introduced Tegra 3, a processor that combines the graphics processing unit, central processing unit and memory required for an infotainment system.
The other day, Nvidia Marketing Director Daniel Shapiro told me how the company's Tegra 3 would support 3-D graphics for navigation maps.
Which is fine, but the real show-stopper is this: Nvidia calls Tegra 3 "a system on a chip" because automakers can easily swap it out for an updated version.