Drivers plug in Weekly Brief—7.2.2012

Drivers plug in Weekly Brief—7.2.2012

In this week's Brief: Harris Interactive, Mercedes-Benz, Microsoft, Ford, Nokia, NAVTEQ, Appello, The GENIVI Alliance, Accenture, Navitel, Intel/Samsung, Mentor Graphics, MontaVista, Renesas, Wind River, Freescale Semiconductor and Altia. 

American drivers prefer the flexibility to "plug in" their own smartphones over navigation apps that come embedded in their vehicles, according to a new survey from Harris Interactive.

Before exposure to a price, new car buyers prefer the option of smartphone docking over built-in applications, with 24 percent stating they would consider the option of docking their smartphone in their vehicle compared to just 14 percent who would consider having applications built-in.

Once exposed to a price, consideration is just slightly less, at 20 percent, even though smartphone docking technology was priced $100 higher than built-in applications.

"Consumers are indicating that they want their automotive technology to help improve safety while giving them more flexibility, even if it costs a little more," says Mike Chadsey, vice president, automotive solutions consultant at Harris Interactive.

"Personalization is the future of the connected car. Drivers want to use technology they already know and love in their vehicles."

Mercedes launched the Mercedes-Benz App Store in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. The designated app store allows drivers to download apps on their mobile phones and add them directly to their vehicle's Comand infotainment system.

The first two apps available for purchase in the app store are a parking finder app and a news app, each of which cost 9.95€ per year. Three additional apps already come standard on the Comand infotainment system: Google Search, Weather, and Facebook. Mercedes is yet to announce if the app store will expand to markets beyond Europe.

Microsoft hinted that it plans to lead its next generation of in-car infotainment into the realm of gesture-based technology. Microsoft has already developed gesture-based technology in the form of Microsoft Kinect, an xBox 360 gadget that leverages 3D cameras so players can wave their arms in place of using a hand-held controller.

In a job posting, Microsoft said it wants to integrate Kinect, along with other features in the Microsoft goody bag—Windows Phone, Windows Live, Bing, etc—into the next-gen design. Microsoft currently supplies infotainment to Ford and Kia.

Ford's research organization says it will use the Nokia Location Platform to advance innovation for smart and connected vehicles. Ford selected the Nokia Location Platform to leverage Nokia's high-quality global location content, including NAVTEQ Map, as well as scalable cloud services and APIs.

Ford believes that Nokia’s complete solution will offer a fast, easy and cost-effective path to create innovative and differentiated location products, as were exhibited in EVOS, Ford’s latest concept car that can learn driver behavior to control, improve upon and personalize vehicle performance.

Appello launched NeverLate, a traffic service that helps drivers decide when to leave a location in order to get to their destination in time.

NeverLate displays the current traffic situation, including comparative traffic and what the drive time is on regular routes. NeverLate is initially available on Google Play for 4,99€ for a lifetime license.

The GENIVI Alliance approved six new products to the updated GENIVI Compliance 2.0 specification. GENIVI Compliance 2.0 is a stricter specification that man dates more required components and moves some optional components to required status.

Companies with approved 2.0 compliant product offerings include Accenture, Intel/Samsung, Mentor Graphics, MontaVista, Renesas and Wind River.

Navitel released version 5.5 of its navigation program for Android and Windows Mobile in Russia and CIS countries. The new version improves the map visual display and revises the program interface design.

A new section dubbed My Navitel lets customers shop and download free software and map updates. Version 5.5 also includes a new widget in route menu that allows drivers to evaluate the simplicity and ease of routing and to add as many waypoints to the route as they wish.

Freescale Semiconductor chose Altia as its select partner for Freescale’s “Vybrid” automotive devices. Freescale believes that Altia’s HMI design and DeepScreen user interface engineering tools will enable Vybrid automotive solutions’ customers to quickly and successfully implement and market products with sophisticated graphical user interfaces.

Freescale’s Vybrid portfolio is designed to bring connected radios, entry-level infotainment systems and reconfigurable instrument clusters to mainstream automobiles.

“Freescale is going beyond silicon to provide a comprehensive HMI development platform for the Vybrid family of products,” says Ray Cornyn, vice president of Freescale's Automotive MCU business.


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