The Detroit News reports it may not be long before AM/FM radios disappear from cars altogether. The newspaper spoke with Thilo Koslowski, vice president for the research firm Gartner, Inc., who said that "AM and FM as a delivering mechanism isn't going to be the most important in cars anymore." According to Koslowski, manufacturers will focus their efforts on smartphone integration as well as internet browsing and music streaming. That means while listeners may still enjoy their favorite radio stations, it's less likely they'll rely on traditional broadcast systems to do so.
Automakers from nearly every corner of the globe are already pushing smartphone app integration in a big way, and General Motors recently announced its vehicles will soon be available with 4G mobile internet. But, as you might expect, there's a sizable push against abandoning the airwaves entirely. For starters, current technology doesn't produce a reliable high-speed cell signal everywhere, whereas AM and FM signals are largely reliable over vast distances.
While the CD player is already fading from prominence in new vehicles, other analysts don't see in-dash radios going the same route. While speaking with The Detroit News, John Canali, a senior analyst in automotive multimedia for Strategy Analytics said he believes AM and FM aren't going anywhere due to the fact that automakers don't want to alienate customers.