I took my friend for a country drive in my new A3 today and after going over all the features, he turned to me and commented on how no manufacturer he knew of had yet built in a cradle for a mobile phone, which struck him as odd since everyone these days has one and probably uses it to some extent (bluetooth calls, music) on the move. They don't make popular add-on cradles, so it's not as though they'd be cannibalising sales. Phones come in all shapes and sizes, but holders cater for that. There are a variety of docking ports, but there are a variety of dock adapters (even with the MMI leads).
So it got me to thinking - is the compartment under the armrest deliberately designed so that you have to plug your phone in as far away as possible from your eye line? Surely the car manufacturers aren't concerned with forcing you to be safe with regards to your mobile phone - they're not nannies. The Audi Phone Box option seems to have been derided on here as a small increase in functionality for an unreasonably hefty price, but I can see that higher-spec gives the impression of higher-quality car.
So the question is - with smartphones getting better at, well, everything, is this all subtly designed to make people less inclined to use their phones for the one big crossover feature that car manufacturers are still clinging onto as a speciality of their own - SatNav? Make the phone connection point out of eyeline, give people an incentive to really invest in putting their phone into that box, and leave the SatNav available as an after-market activation option when they realise they can't do everything quite so easily any more on their handset?
Seems like a bit of subconscious-marketing genius, if you ask me.