Why are many cars’ screens slow and laggy when a $400 phone can have a smooth performance?
Automobile infotainment and telematic systems are largely proprietary, with less regard to usability and quality user experience design. Oftentimes, software is an afterthought for a car manufacturer.
Only recently has this been improved upon via Android Auto and Apple CarPlay becoming more common in newly built cars. But even then, you often need to navigate through the manufacturer proprietary software setup to reach that Android/Apple in-car experience.
As also mentioned here, cars stay in use for much much longer than consumer electronics and computers. A lot changes and is improved upon in 10 years.
Why can Tesla and Mercedes do it then ?
Simply put, many car manufacturers don’t care as much. They prioritize cost savings over outright performance and usability. It’s also not their core competency, so to speak. They don’t have teams of highly paid, talented software engineers, at least not at the scale that apple and google do.
Others have pointed out slower development cycles, and yes this does have an impact especially on the hardware. A 2023 model year car, even if it’s an all-new model, went into production a year ago, had parts sourced and spec’d a couple years ago, and was designed 3-5 years ago. So things like touchscreens and CPUs are already a good five years behind the latest technology. They can and do perform ota updates for software and firmware though, but some manufacturers do this better (and more often) than others.
That said, a five-year-old iPhone, still feels faster and more responsive than the latest car infotainment systems. That really goes back to the first point, that most car manufacturers simply don’t prioritize making them ultra responsive and fast. Some do pretty well though: Tesla and some of the higher-end luxury cars have pretty good systems.
usually devices like car screens, scan guns, small tablets you see in stores, etc. all operate on very small basic operating systems. much like windows or android or IOS these operating systems function to provide the processing for the screen touching or screen changes. the only issue is that these operating systems are not built well or by small independent companies without many resources. so they slap these crappy to begin with OS versions into the car because its cheap.
Source: i worked for a company that used Zebra brand warehouse scan guns that used Windows CE which is their mobile operating system that was filled with bugs and stopped being supported so we switched to android.
Because tech development cycles. Car technology significantly lags behind smartphones. In general expect a 10 years old smartphone tech in cars in best case.