It is something that we take for granted in today’s society, but the car radio, the thing that accompanies us to and from work every day, is only just over 85 years old. This means that in such a small amount of time, their technology has grown exponentially, evolving from basic radio frequencies to satellite technology. This timeline shows the growth of the in car radio and shows how so much has been achieved in such a short space of time.
1930’s: First Car Radio Available Commercially
The first car radio that was available to the masses was produced by the Galvin brothers who labelled the radio under the name Motorola. It could be bought for $130, which is the equivalent of $1,775 today, an extravagance for the wealthier classes of society.
1950’s: The first Radio With FM, the first Becker Mexico and transistor radios.
Up until the 1950’s, AM was the only frequency available on in car radios but that all changed in 1952 when Blaupunkt introduced the first FM radio system for automobiles. In 1953, the Becker Mexico radio was unveiled to the world; this radio was seen to be the very first premium car radio as it had an automatic search button that would allow you to search the stations, as well as a choice between AM and FM frequencies.
However, it was the all-new transistor radios that became the biggest phenomena; Chrysler had teamed up with Philco and produced the very first in car transistor radio in 1955. It became a $150 option for their 1956 range of Chrysler cars and from there, it went on to be replicated by other car companies and was the top manufactured radio of the age.
1960’s: The eight-track tape player and first stereo all introduced.
Before the cassette player came, the eight-track player was the favourite, although its popularity only lasted 15 years. It was innovative and car audio London saw a sharp rise in production and sales of the eight-track. The very first stereo was brought in-car by the late 60’s and Becker’s Europa came with a tuner that wouldn’t just amplify one radio channel but two.
1970’s: The birth of the cassette
Deemed to be one of the greatest creations that mankind has seen, the cassette became an instant hit inside and outside of the car. It allowed a choice of songs and also saw the first branded cassette players from Pioneer and Alpine.
1980’s and 90’s: First CD players
CD players were first installed in the mid 1980’s but it wasn’t until the 90’s that they saw a boom in popularity. By this time, cassettes and CD’s worked side by side in harmony until the cassette gradually started to be phased out. By the end of the 90’s CD had become dominant and MP3 files were also introduced, with head units also being given the capability to play these in-car.
2000’s and 2010’s: Goodbye Cassette, Hello Bluetooth
The first part of the 21st century saw a dramatic improvement in technology which saw the in-car systems being upgraded to allow them to interact with mobile and computer devices via Bluetooth. This allowed drivers to use their mobiles wirelessly which, in turn, allowed them to drive safer on the roads.