Embedded navigation shortcomings Weekly Brief—11.28.11

Embedded navigation shortcomings Weekly Brief—11.28.11

In this week's Brief: J.D. Power and Associates, TomTom, ACTIA Group, Sierra Wireless, NAVIGON, Shanghai OnStar, Kenwood, AT&T, T-Mobile and the FCC

Vehicle owners continue to experience problems with factory-installed navigation systems, primarily with routing quality and system usability, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2011 U.S. Navigation Usage and Satisfaction Study.

The study finds that system usability is one of the biggest contributors to problem incidence, with nearly one-third of reported problems related to ease of use of the navigation system.

Furthermore, the trend toward integrating the controls of different systems in the vehicle, including audio, climate control and phone, only adds to the ease-of-use issues that owners experience with their navigation system.

“Routing, the primary function of a navigation system, is obviously an issue and will continue to be,” says Andy Bernhard, director at J.D. Power and Associates.

“However, for nearly 10 years, the importance of ease of use has been emphasized by owners, and the continued high level of problems in this area begs the question: Is the industry listening to how owners want to interact with their system?”

TomTom added vehicle maintenance planning to its WEBFLEET offering.

The new function aims to help businesses optimize their fleet's utility and reduce carbon emissions as a result.

An easy-to-read online maintenance overview allows fleet operators to keep tabs on forthcoming maintenance such as service intervals and annual inspections.

Users can create maintenance tasks per vehicle, copy them to vehicle groups, monitor their status and plan accordingly.

The new feature is instantly available at no charge for the WEBFLEET’s 13,000 global customers.

ACTIA Group selected Sierra Wireless to provide high-performance connectivity for ACTIA’s new platform, the ACU-II.

The platform will use Sierra Wireless’s AirPrime module to allow drivers to connect and manage various functions of vehicles through a smartphone application.

The platform also provides compliance with European and Russian eCall requirements.

As part of their collaboration, Sierra Wireless and ACTIA will support the HeERO project, which entails implementing and testing eCall pre-deployment pilots in real-life environments across the EU.

NAVIGON, a subsidiary of Garmin, launched the second generation of its iPhone navigation app, NAVIGON 2.0 for iPhone.

The new version redefines core elements of iPhone navigation, including a new and unique map management function and an in app purchase option for quarterly map updates, both not found in any other onboard navigation app.

Also included is a simple and intuitive user interface. Existing NAVIGON for iPhone users receive the update to the new version at no cost.

Shanghai OnStar previewed a new Turn-by-Turn Navigation Mobile App, which enables users to search for a point of interest, set it as their destination, and follow turn-by-turn navigation until they arrive.

The route may be saved into History or Favorites and accessed again in the future.

Shanghai OnStar launched its first mobile app in China in June. The new app will be available to OnStar subscribers across China at the end of 2011.

Kenwood became one of the first suppliers to make their car radios Android compatible.

The company unveiled two car CD/radios that synch with Android phones. Drivers with Androids can plug their Androids directly into their radios.

Downloading an app called Kenwood Music Control from the Android Market enables them to use buttons on the vehicle dashboard—like play, pause, and seek—to sift through and play the music stored on their phones.

The app comes out in January.

AT&T temporarily withdrew applications for a $39-billion takeover of T-Mobile from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

The move came on the heels of the FCC’s recommendation that AT&T’s attempted merger go before an administrative hearing.

AT&T announced that it will assume a $4-billion accounting charge in the fourth quarter to cover a portion of the break-up fee it will owe if its T-Mobile acquisition does not win regulatory approval.

Some believe the acquisition will create a duopoly in the national wireless market that leads to higher prices and less choice in handsets for customers.

AT&T maintains that it will proceed with the merger once it gains antitrust clearance.






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