August 31, 2014 in Business

Study: Car technology frustrates consumers

From Wire Reports

Here’s why consumers say they don’t like the fancy tech systems in their cars: They don’t work very well.

Auto manufacturers face deepening challenges with technology as customer frustration with their multimedia systems builds, according to a study from market research firm J.D. Power and Associates.

Technology issues are now the most prevalent type of problem with new vehicles, according to the J.D. Power report on consumer reaction to the features on their newly purchased cars

The biggest complaint? Built-in voice recognition systems.

Bluetooth connectivity is the second-most frequently reported problem, followed by wind noise and navigation problems.

The problems abound even in a climate of high consumer demand for increasing levels of technology in new vehicles, the report said.

“Voice recognition and device connectivity are often inherent to the technology design and cannot be fixed at the dealership, creating a high level of angst among new-vehicle owners,” said Mike VanNieuwkuyk, executive director of global automotive at J.D. Power.

The problems consumers cite most often are that the systems don’t recognize or misinterpret verbal commands (63 percent); don’t recognize or misinterpret names and words (44 percent); and don’t recognize or misinterpret numbers (31 percent).

The findings are from of the J.D. Power 2014 Multimedia Quality and Satisfaction Study released Thursday.

Owners who are stuck with the glitches find themselves defaulting to unsatisfying work-around options such as knobs and controls on the steering wheel and dashboard, VanNieuwkuyk said.

J.D. Power found that 70 percent of new-vehicle owners indicate interest in built-in voice recognition. But when given a cost of $500 for this technology, purchase intent drops to 44 percent.

Nintendo announces ‘amiibo’ lineup

Pikachu and Link will be among the first characters coming to “amiibo.”

Nintendo announced Friday that 12 characters will initially be part of its upcoming toy-game franchise set for release later this year. In addition to the “Pokemon” and “Legend of Zelda” leading men, the starting lineup will include Mario, Princess Peach, Yoshi, Donkey Kong, Samus Aran, Kirby, Fox McCloud, Marth, the “Wii Fit” Trainer and the Villager from “Animal Crossing.”

The figures in the toy-game line will each cost $12.99 and work in tandem with several of the Japanese gaming giant’s upcoming titles, beginning with “Super Smash Bros.”

“We wanted to make sure that the breadth of characters we had for the initial amiibo lineup supported the fan favorites, as well as showcase the variety of people Nintendo speaks to — from kids to adults,” Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime said.

Similar to Activision’s “Skylanders” and “Disney Infinity,” the characters’ virtual histories will be stored on the plastic figures and transmitted through the Wii U GamePad, the controller for the Wii U console that features a touchscreen and near field communication (NFC) capabilities.

Amazon could be ESPN of video games

Amazon is hoping to become the ESPN of video games.

The e-commerce giant is buying streaming platform Twitch Interactive for $970 million in cash as it seeks to take part in video gaming’s growth as an online spectator sport.

Twitch is a multi-channel online network built for a generation of people who not only enjoy playing video games, but find it entertaining to watch others who might impart tricks and tips for excelling at their favorite games.

Amazon’s purchase is an acknowledgment that gameplay video feeds are increasingly lucrative. Twitch had 55 million unique visitors in July, up from 20 million in 2012. Most visited the website to watch other people play live or recorded games —competitions interspersed with advertising.

Digital video advertising in the U.S. is expected to reach $5.96 billion this year, according to eMarketer, up 41.9 percent from 2013.

Amazon already has an in-house gaming studio that makes games, and its Fire TV set top box was designed to attract gamers.

Reported by the Los Angeles Times and Associated Press

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