More often than not, when we look at demo automobile dashboards, they're either completely presented without any casing at all (e.g. Parrot) or put into a sleek, shiny, futuristic package (e.g. everything in the Audi booth this year) that clearly designates luxury. You want this; you aspire to have this.
A smart dashboard for everyone
Not Panasonic, though. For CES 2015, the company is presenting its own Android Auto dashboard in a matte plastic shell. No frills or chrome; just a standard auto console encasing. The control knobs are large, simple, and unassuming. It looks, as Chris Ziegler points out, like a monochrome Etch-a-Sketch frame.
But here's why it works. I see this demo, and I can immediately imagine Android Auto fitting perfectly in a middle-of-the-road minivan. Or an entry-level sedan you'd get soon after acquiring a driver's license. It looks as standard as a cassette player a 1995 Toyota Camry. And if Panasonic and Google want mainstream adoption of Android Auto (spoiler: they absolutely do), this is how it's going to look. Oh, and it supports Apple Carplay, as well.
After all, the best-selling car of 2014 wasn't a Lexus. It was Ford's pick-up truck, followed by more pick-up trucks, a Camry, and a Honda Accord.