That's right, folks. Break out the cigars and pop open your bottle of finest brandy. Volkswagen is officially dumping its oft-maligned MDI, or media device interface, for USB ports. The switchover will be global, but well see the change here in the U.S. starting with 2016 model year vehicles.
The biggest problem with MDI is the fact that it has iPhone and iPod-specific jacks for charging or porting your device to the infotainment system. So unless you buy a separate USB adapter, MDI is essentially worthless to Android users. Thats a pretty big share of the mobile market.
"We are moving to USB in place of the MDI system because thats what our customers in the U.S. have been asking us for," says Mark Gillies, Volkswagen's manager of product and technology.
Indeed, every conversation about a new Volkswagen vehicle seemingly lands on the fact that they somehow dont have USB ports. These days, its pretty remarkable especially for such a mass-market carmaker.
In addition to USB ports, Volkswagen will also be launching a new App-Connect infotainment system that works with Mirror Link, Android Auto (Google), and CarPlay (Apple) mobile interfaces. Volkswagen showed off a much more at this years Consumer Electronic Show in its Golf R Touch Concept.
For those unfamiliar with , its a more generic plug-and-play interface that has been trying to get traction for several years now. Like Android Auto or CarPlay, it essentially lets you replicate a modified version of your phones screen onto the dash screen.
Having to incorporate Android Auto and other devices made the switch to USB almost inevitable, but either way, kudos to Volkswagen for finally seeing the light. Finally.