VelaFella

Enform to end in 2021-2022

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I just got an email from Lexus (09/11/2020) saying that my 2014 RX350 will no longer be supported by Enform after specified dates.  This is due to telecommunications providers plans to abandon 3G wireless networks, upon which my year and model Lexus depends.  My question:  why can't Lexus upgrade the affected Lexus model-years to 4G or 5G, through a retrofit?

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26 minutes ago, VelaFella said:

I just got an email from Lexus (09/11/2020) saying that my 2014 RX350 will no longer be supported by Enform after specified dates.  This is due to telecommunications providers plans to abandon 3G wireless networks, upon which my year and model Lexus depends.  My question:  why can't Lexus upgrade the affected Lexus model-years to 4G or 5G, through a retrofit?

The basic Enform will still work but anything requiring over the air services will stop working which are these:  

Lexus Enform Safety Connect including Automatic Collision Notification, Enhanced Roadside Assistance, Emergency Assistance  Button  and Stolen Vehicle Locator 
Lexus Enform Remote including Remote Engine Start/Stop, Door Lock/Unlock, Vehicle Finder, Guest Driver Monitor, Vehicle Status and Alerts, Key Fob Remote Start, and Integration with Alexa® and The Google Assistant 
Lexus Enform Destination Assist including 24-hour live response center agent 
Lexus Enform Service Connect including Vehicle Health Report, Vehicle Alerts, and Maintenance Alerts 

Many people won't miss these services since they dropped their subscriptions to them after the trial period ended.  We bought our current vehicles because they have Safety Connect.  We drive in rural areas in which we have no cell phone service but where Safety Connect works perfectly.  I'm unhappy about it but not surprised.  

I've visually checked the old and newer telematics transceivers and they are quite different in size and the connectors they have.  It's not just a matter of getting a new unit and sliding into the rack slot inside the dashboard. 

We were planning to replace our vehicles soon anyway and this is just another reason to do so.

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Thanks for the response.  

Question:  what is meant by "basic Enform will still work"?  After elimination of the items that won't work, what's left?

Comment (1):  I wish Lexus would offer a detailed explanation of what would be involved in a retrofit.

Comment (2):  It appears Lexus is a lot like today's computers and other such devices.  They become functionally obsolete as a practical matter even though they are still operable.  Planned obsolescence?  I prefer my 2012 Mercedes E350 over my 2014 Lexus RX350.  All integrated telecommunications operate via the owner's new or old cell phone (which, of course, depends on cell tower coverage, as does Enform).  But, alas, my wife prefers the cushiony ride of the Lexus.  

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I'm talking about the Enform App Suite.  I'm not familiar with the particular version of Enform that's in the 2014 RX but I assume it includes Destination Search, Saved Destinations, iHeart Radio, LiveXlive, Yelp and maybe other features such as Sports and fuel prices.

I would expect hell to freeze over before there is a retrofit that would upgrade these older telematics systems to work on 4G or whatever.  Toyota didn't have a retrofit when they pulled the plug on the original analog Lexus Link when cell phone companies discontinued analog phone service in February 2008.

It is disappointing that Toyota continued to install the 3G telematics in some Toyota and Lexus models all the way into the 2019 model year.  One would have thought that somewhere along the way that they could have upgraded the telematics to also support 4G/LTE which was introduced in 2010.

LOL, don't make me do a Mercedes rant!  I bought my first Mercedes in 1969.  My last one, purchased new, was a pathetic P.O.S. - horrible build quality and on its third engine when I sold it.  Its 2nd and 3rd engines were factory rebuilds shipped from Germany to my local Mercedes dealer in steel cages.  The 2nd engine lasted only about 10,000 miles.

Technology changes and is changing at an increasing rate.  It kind of sucks.  I've been driven off one smartphone after another when processor speed and storage capacity was no longer enough for current applications.  Before that, I was driven off analog, TDMA, Edge cell phones.  Customer expectations also change.  Our vehicles have some pretty nice safety gadgets - automatic emergency braking (PCS) and adaptive cruise control (DRCC) - and aren't that old but there is much better safety technology in current models.  We were going to replace our vehicles anyway mainly to get better safety technology and this discontinuance of 3G telematics service is just one more reason to do so.  

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I also have got that email, really disappointed that this is happening hope Lexus can update our service!! Seems unfair to owners who paid a great deal of money for these features in our vehicles. Will not Look at LEXUS next time and may trade in for another vehicle!!

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Thanks again, Jim.  It's incredible that even some 2019 models were not updated to 4G.  That must really anger the owners.  As the owner of a 2014, I'm angry, but at least I've been somewhat conditioned by several years of experience to expect obsolescence with anything digital.

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2 hours ago, VelaFella said:

Thanks again, Jim.  It's incredible that even some 2019 models were not updated to 4G.  That must really anger the owners.  As the owner of a 2014, I'm angry, but at least I've been somewhat conditioned by several years of experience to expect obsolescence with anything digital.

Yeah, I'm very disappointed that Toyota would do this to buyers of some 2018 and 2019 models.  Most Toyota and Lexus models got a newer telematics transceiver for the 2018 model year that is not affected by the 3G discontinuation.  The 2018 Lexus GX still got the old 3G transceiver as did the 2018 Toyota Avalon, Highlander and 4Runner and the 2019 4Runner.

But really, not many owners seem to appreciate these telematics services.  It hasn't helped that some of the individual services such as remote start from the phone app have not been reasonably priced for the occasional user.  I can see an LS500 owner more likely to swallow those monthly fees but not so much owners of less expensive models.  My opinion is that it would be better if all these services were included in the purchase price of the vehicle with no additional monthly subscription fees for the life of the vehicle or as long as the telematics systems in the vehicles are viable with current cellular technology.

It will be interesting to see how well the OnStar telematics system works in the Corvette C8 convertible that I hope to finally get next year.  The Telematics system in the new Corvette is somewhat Tesla-like in that it can receive over-the-air software updates that make significant changes to vehicle features.  A recent over-the-air update limits top speed to 26 mph if the "frunk" lid (i.e. the front trunk) is not latched - implemented to reduce membership in the "Flying Frunk Club"!   

 

 

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40 minutes ago, VelaFella said:

Get that C8!

I'll be fortunate to get it by the end of 2021 the way it's going.  Production was shut down for months at the Louisville KY plant and production of the C8 hard top convertible started only recently.  The wait is actually OK since we're doing very little driving during the pandemic - less than 300 miles in the past 26 weeks.  This will be the first convertible I've had since I sold the last one in 1973.  I think my wife is getting a little excited about it although she won't admit it.  She thinks I'm crazy to want something like it when we're in our 70's.  It will look like this ... 

  

1 Roof black from front.jpg

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The only age barrier to getting a C8 is if you can't manage to exit the car, since the force of gravity that allowed you to enter it will no longer be there to help you exit it.

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