CD Player Dropped From New Ford Focus – Replaced With USB Ports

The news from Detroit has confirmed that in 2012 the Ford Motor Company will start to ship new cars without a CD player. The dramatic fall in the sale of CD’s has been cited by Ford as a major contributing factor behind the decision.

In 2010 the total number of albums sold on CD was 326.2 million, the lowest number since SoundScan began compiling sales data in 1993. The figures from the BPI in the UK showed a 12.4 per cent decline in CD albums sales from 2009 to 2010. The way in which people buy and listen to their music has changed fundamentally over the last few years and CD’s are destined for oblivion.

Against this backdrop it’s perhaps more of a surprise that other car manufacturers have not already announced the removal of CD players from their cars.

Ford Focus with USB Ford Focus with USB

It looks likely that the Ford Focus will be the first of Fords cars to offer USB connection point for Apple iPods, MP3 players and mobile phones. There is talk of a computer 'hub' where you can access your music library via the web but details of this remain sketchy.

Of course some of this is not new – a number of Fords cars already come equipped with digital connection points but the removal of the CD player is a new twist. (It will still be available as an optional extra for people wedded to their CD collection).

For advertising and marketing companies the introduction of USB ports and a computer “hub” into the cars we drive will introduce all sorts of new opportunities to engage with their (and their clients) customers. If the “hub” is connected to a screen in the car we can’t be far away from being targeted with audio and visual adverts so the legislators will have to move quickly to ensure any “in-car” advertising does not impair the drivers ability to drive safely.

Assuming the planned computer “hub” has some degree of built-in storage it’s possible to envisage a scenario where a USB flash drive could be used to upload your portfolio of music to your “hub” – this would remove any reliance on an internet connection, it would take your mobile phone out of the equation but it would give you loads of flexibility to up-load thousands of music tracks and build your own play lists (ideal for different driving conditions).

If you’ve invested heavily in CD’s then it’s pretty easy to “rip” these and transfer the tracks onto a USB stick, which in turn can be uploaded, to the cars “hub”.

However you feel about it, this announcement is another nail in the coffin of the CD.

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