Media Interface Plus.... - Mercedes Benz SLK Forum

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#1 Old 12-09-2011
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Media Interface Plus....

I got my MI+ today and was pretty excited to get ahold of this thing and install it.

I have to say the current COMMAND with NAV system I have in my SLK 55 AMG is "OK". Nothing flashy in it just fine and does the job. It's kinda disappointing it doesn't have any car integration functions that you have in the dashboard.

When I openned the MB box this lil plastic box in it with bulky cable showed up. I was .. well whatever no one really gonna see it, but I'd be expecting something a bit more refined looking from MB.

I installed it which wasn't complicated, but I must say and maybe because I am an IT guy and I expect things to be better. This is peice of hardware is not worth $30 let alone $300. The integration to the COMMAND systm is AWUFUL, the way to access it is worst. The way it's programmed for errors is even worst. I am very surprised that this system is actually a release. I own a small IT company and if I had a programmer come to me with this kind of software upgrade he'd be looking for a new job.

The idea that you have to go to Playlist > Device Listing is rediculous. You'd think since they have the source code of the COMMAND system they would do a better integration. They pretty much rigged it in a way where it makes no sense what so ever. The Email / TXT reader/writer doesn't work yet because they are waiting on the cell phone manufactorers to install a new function in the phones (MAP) instead of putting in a bit more processing power in this bulky box.

I am not a programmer and I'd do a better integration job. If you are looking at this vs some 3rd party component which will always be cheaper. GO FOR THE 3rd party.
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#2 Old 12-09-2011
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Jigy - this is the MI+ that plugs into the MI on the facelifted (NTG2.5) COMAND systems?



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#3 Old 12-09-2011
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#4 Old 12-09-2011
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They are making a killing off iPod users - okay, it's Mercedes and Apple and we get it - but for Pete's sake deliver a product worth the premium price!

I added a MoBridge ABT2010-MBZ-F to my SLK350's NTG1 COMMAND and agree the COMAND interface which it makes use of isn't great, but I'm VERY happy with the MoBridge. It's a fast, simple DIY job. Connects to the existing CD changer MOST connector, becoming/replacing the CD changer component on the MOST bus. It displays Artist, Genre, Albums, Playlists, etc on the COMAND HU as if they were CD catalogs, but the really sweet way to use it just to pair it using Bluetooth and play everything via Bluetooth, using the cable only for charging.

iPhone or any smart phone for that matter is light years ahead of any interface MB every dreamed of for COMAND, even the upcoming COMAND Online available in the Euro SLK's. And luckily, the iPhone+MoBridge sounds great through the HK sound system over Bluetooth. Works flawlessly with the AGW, so when calls come through the music fades down and alerts you to the caller, their name shows up on the COMAND display and instrument cluster. I'm lucky my SLK didn't come with telephone pre-installed or I would have purchased the MB Bluetooth puck and iPod upgrade. We did that for our late model CLK350 - bought the new MB Bluetooth puck for it in July, but have since traded up for an aftermarket puck because the aftermarket product had noticeably better sound. There are a lot of threads out there about the audio volume problems with the MB iPod interface and the need to purchase yet another overpriced MB inline pre-amp specifically to boost the iPod output to COMAND. We bought that, too, off the dealer. Was lame, very unsatisfactory experience with MB's iPod intergration overall interms of interface, both software and hardware. That said, the cars themselves are great, and it's an easy fix with aftermarket components.
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#5 Old 12-09-2011
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Oh goodness! Don't compare this system to Apple.... I understand that MB is a car company not a Media system company, but thats why their is such a thing as outsourcing. Beside programmers are a dime a dozen these days, it shouldn't be difficuilt.

Things like this really make me think there really should be companies out there that provide this kind of service to Manufactorers.
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#6 Old 12-10-2011
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LOL - agreed! My point is just that MB & Apple are already charging us for their names on these MI gadgets and like you say they've got the code, so could they please work together just a little better.

The navi units are outsourced, mainly to Harmon Becker Automotive Systems, who develops very similar interfaces for BMW, Audio & VW as well as their own after market units that look pretty much like the latest designs in these cars.

Good programmers aren't a dime a dozen. The hacks are.

Would be nice if auto manufacturers settled on a way to pair the user interface, the way they do for audio with Bluetooth, that would permit an external device like a smart phone to just take over the screen and completely handle the display and human interface when we push the button for the fun stuff. There have been a few initiatives for this, both pay-to-play standards (e.g., it's costs a few grand to acquire tools to develop something that can interface with MOST for the audio streams) and open source projects for the UI display like MeeGo, but they never really catch on with the auto makers or fizzle out with developers. Pioneer seems to be leading the pack lately. Their AppRadio SPH-DA01 is designed to interface with an iOS device and I think I've seen some Droid products like this starting to show up, too.

Maybe with luck, in a year or so at least the new models will start having better options for the future.

It's possible for a few hundred dollars to add an aftermarket video interface to the previous generation COMAND, or a video-in-motion override for the newer generation that already has a video input, and then connect that to a smart phone or other device with an app that outputs to the COMAND display. That's what I've got, but that sort of kludge is more for hackers than normal guys.
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#7 Old 12-10-2011
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Oh that is pretty interesting I wasn't aware of that. So they are being outsourced and the outsourced to company came up with such a hack for a $300 accessory ? wow... that adds insult to injury.

Why stop there? Why don't you make the video interface a completely dumb terminal touchscreen or command buttons which ever. Have whatever need to be connected to the system from the car computer to the antennas, audio system and such be fed to an external device that we can purchase our selves and use.

We can hook up an iPad kind of system without it's display and have it in the glove compartment or they can make a space for it of some sort. We all know technology is rapidly upgrading and new gadgets are coming out on daily basis. This way you can at least keepy your car media centre upto date without a complete overhaul.


This guy did a pretty good job integrating his iPad to the system. I won't do that for space restrictions in my 55 but still pretty cool.

Now regarding my comment about programmers I was being sarcastic and yes their are some programmers out there that are worth every penny. However, the project at hand really wouldn't need a genius to do a better job with integration.
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#8 Old 12-10-2011
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Check out the Becker Map Pilot, reported to be available now w/ the Euro 2012 SLK. It's the brains and storage component of the system in a puck that docks in the glove box. Undock it, connect it via USB to your computer, visit their store site, purchase map updates, apps and firmware upgrades. Touted as their first future-proofed in-car OEM solution. That's the good part.

From what I read, the bad is that for now the apps _apparently_ mostly come from them so it's very limited, and it relies on that obsolete onerous model of "detach - connect via usb - purchase - agree - download - install - disconnect - reattach - (did we forget 'enjoy')." Completely stuck in the old PocketPC / GPX file update model like a Garmin or TomTom still use. At least they're not mailing out a disc and sync'ing your device using some proprietary cable. They've caught up with 2006.

Anybody out there got one and care to confirm this for us second class folks in NA?

Hopefully Becker won't aim to create and own their own proprietary marketplace that expects developers to adopt something other than the Android or iOS SKD's to create the apps, or they might be scratching their heads why the whole thing never develops traction even by the time they can boast having over 100 apps. Meanwhile, App Store and Marketplace will offer 100 seemingly identical weather apps alone to millions of enthusiastic people.

I've worked in this field for many years. Lots of talented people. Oddly, most of the time the management and developers don't actually use the products or product categories they're paid to develop, not REALLY use them the way their customers do with love and passion and silliness. Instead they reward other people to use them behind one-way glass so a committee can observe and forward the findings.

Makes you wonder if whomever is responsible for this stuff already loved using an iPod/iPhone and drove a Mercedes regularly enough to really experience this from the customer's point of view. It plays more like a bench test against a product requirements document.
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#9 Old 12-10-2011
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That certainly seems like a step in the right direction. I think it should eventually take the Media centre away from manufactorer dependant to general. The only difference will be the size of the screen and it's integration and input/output functions it offers.

Regarding the MI+. I can understand what you are saying but that is the purpose of beta testers. Beside I don't think this product should've ever reached the beta testers phase. The way it's rigged should've been actually outsourced to a different company and asked for them to sell it.

The way it's rigged into the COMAND system looks like a 3rd party hack into the COMAND system.
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#10 Old 12-19-2011
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Readers of this thread might like some of the videos about future COMAND developments they're planning, posted on MB TV.

First generation COMAND Online in production:
http://www.mercedes-benz.tv/en/clip-...in+the+B-Class

Future COMAND Online in the prototype A-Class
http://www.mercedes-benz.tv/en/clip-...S+connectivity
It's basically a re-themed facelift of the current COMAND Online, but the built-in dock is an interesting twist. Personally, I'm not sure the insertion dock is really better than having a cable since it's hampered by issues like cases, scratching the device, impact to signal reception that may require the old external antenna circuitry, etc.

Bluetooth media control protocol with streaming video of the UI makes more sense to me, combined with a well designed cable or traditional edge-only dock when you need to charge the smartphone on the road. BT offers the potential for third party apps to control the interface, or at least the portions of it the OEM is willing to expose, something that every automaker probably cringes at. With my current setup, I always stream audio. It's wonderfully convenient to simply hop in or out of the car and never touch the phone. It's not unique to MB but it's such a great feature, just one more enticement to take that SLK on the road.
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