2014 Infiniti Q50S 3.7 Long-Term Update 4
Getting InTouch, at Last: Apps Join The Party
The elegant, liquid platinum Q50S was past the 12,000-mile mark and overdue for its 10,000-mile service, so I popped into a local dealership and waited for the quick, $80.20 oil change and accompanying multipoint inspection. Not that it would take long anyway, but service appointments are quicker than average thanks to the staggered fitment of the Q50S' wheels – no tire rotations necessary.
About 20 minutes into my time using the dealership's free Wi-Fi to do some work, the service adviser came in with great news: "There's an update to the InTouch software."
After more than a year of promises, it seemed, Infiniti was ready to release an update to its InTouch smartphone app, which already had basic connectivity to email but would now allow users to keep in touch via Facebook and use Google search. Pandora and iHeartRadio are rumored to be right around the corner.
And, the service adviser said, it would also speed the boot-up time that I and others have groused about!
Ninety minutes later (the download installs from a thumb drive) the car was ready to go, and yes! Boot-up time seems to be about 30 percent faster, with access to the all-important radio controls coming on noticeably faster, mitigating my frustration.
To use InTouch, all an owner has to do is download the InTouch app to their iPhone or Android device and follow a few setup steps there and on the Infinity Owner's Portal on the Web.
It all works pretty well. I really enjoy being able to have emails read to me on the road via the easy-to-find "play" button. The voice is natural, with above-average pronunciation and inflection. And if you're stuck in traffic, the Facebook app can be a welcome audio diversion, depending on whose status update you choose to listen to.
It works so well that it makes it more stark that the InTouch link to the interactive world is missing a monumental piece of functionality: There is no way to use voice recognition to enter text to, for example, reply to an email. You can post a status update on Facebook, but only from among customizable preset messages or from the touchscreen keyboard, which you can't use while underway.
InTouch, then, is cool, but remains a speech-to-text update away from being among the best.
Finally, a quick note to all dealers, from workaday brands through the luxury big guys: All service waiting areas should be configured with a few high-top or desk-like tables with power outlets, for working stiffs who can't take time to soak up the daytime talk shows or ESPN on the 50" HDTV.
More on our long-term 2014 Infiniti Q50S 3.7: