Frost & Sullivan forecasts growth for ‘hybrid connected’ solutions, as TripAdvisor and Nokia team up

Frost & Sullivan forecasts growth for ‘hybrid connected’ solutions, as TripAdvisor and Nokia team up

Frost & Sullivan published a report documenting a shift in the telematics industry from embedded solutions to so-called ‘hybrid connected’ solutions, which seamlessly integrate smartphone apps into vehicles. According to Frost & Sullivan, the hybrid connected model will have an addressable market size of more than 5 million units by 2015 in North America alone. “By using safe [human-machine interfaces] to allow smartphones to be accessed inside the cabin, vehicle manufacturers are creating a superior brand image since consumers can continue to savor their digital experience inside the car,” says Frost & Sullivan's global program manager Praveen Chandrasekar. (For more on human-machine interfaces, order Telematics Update’s must-read ‘Human-Machine Interface Report’ today.)

Ford is leading the way in the hybrid connected market with a new Sync feature called AppLink, which allows drivers to control smartphone apps in their vehicles with their voices or manually on the wheel or dashboard. Ford has partnered with the likes of Pandora Internet Radio and Twitter and plans to debut the AppLink feature on the 2011 Ford Fiesta. Connectivity and driver distraction will challenge the burgeoning hybrid connected market, Frost & Sullivan says, but the increasing pressure on OEMs to provide a single communication module on which consumers can manage all of their apps will continue to drive the market forward.

Microsoft Street Slide

Microsoft unveiled Street Slide, a new technology targeted at the street-level mapping space dominated by Google Street View and Bing Streetside. The technology will allow users to step back and view a street—say 4th Avenue in New York City—in a long, horizontal scroll bar that’s easy to slide along from block to block, like thumbing through a flip book. At any point, the user can stop and zoom into a high-resolution panorama that provides 360-degree views of the location. Microsoft will preview Street Slide at this week’s SIGGRAPH2010 conference in Los Angeles.

Apple defends LBS

Apple issued a 13-page response to US Congress defending its policy of collecting real-time location data from users of its mobile devices. Congressmen Edward Markey and Joe Barton raised concerns about Apple collecting location data to be used as location information for its iAd platform. Apple argued that its mobile device users can turn off location services at will and must provide explicit authorization for each app that seeks out location information. It also reassured Congress that although GPS coordinates allow the iAd platform to tailor ads to locations, that information remains securely in Apple coffers and is never forwarded onto advisers.

RIM’s Locate Service

Research in Motion released a geolocation feature that gathers and delivers location information without the aid of GPS. The feature, called Locate Service, uses cell towers to home in on the whereabouts of its users in real-time. The point is to allow apps to run in areas where GPS coverage doesn’t extend and to save battery life on mobile phones, which can be severely depleted by GPS use. The location data provided by Locate Service is far more general than GPS but accurate enough to keep most apps functioning. And once you return to an area with GPS availability, you can easily switch back to normal GPS mode.

Nav N Go goes green

Nav N Go debuted the latest version of its navigation software iGo primo 1.1, which features a “Green Routing” function. Drivers enter such variables as engine type, anticipated travel speed, and anticipated fuel consumption into the function, and it then calculates a route that allows drivers to drive slower and conserve more fuel while minimizing the amount of time they lose in doing so. Nav N Go is hoping to attract the low-cost and ultra-low-cost automotive segment with its affordable and eco-friendly solution.

SuperShuttle gets Rugged

SuperShuttle announced plans to overhaul its conventional radio dispatching with an in-vehicle telematics solution from NEXCOM. The solution, dubbed the Rugged Tablet PC, allows SuperShuttle drivers to receive the exact pickup location of customers from the dispatch center on a map in their vehicles. The PCs include a Geospatial Navigation toolkit from Telogis that automatically optimizes routes for timelier transportation. They also include a barcode scanner to speed up prepaid tickets, vouchers, and promotional discounts.

Evatran offers Plugless Power for EVs

Evatran debuted Plugless Power, a wireless charging station system for electric vehicles. The stations charge the battery of an EV via electromagnetic induction, meaning a driver need only park within range of a floor-mounted magnetic charging block and Plugless Power takes care of the rest. The only drawback is that in transferring power wirelessly the system loses 10 percent efficiency compared to plug-in stations. Evatran showed off the station at the Plug-In 2010 conference held in San Jose, California. Plugless Power will hit the market in 2011.

TripAdvisor and Nokia partner up

TripAdvisor and Nokia announced a partnership that will integrate TripAdvisor’s service into Nokia’s Ovi Maps. A free Nokia-TripAdvisor app will allow Nokia smartphone users to search for and locate hotels, restaurants, points of interest, and airfares to wherever they’re traveling. The app will also allow users to peer review locations and view the 35 million traveler reviews and opinions already logged in the TripAdvisor database.

Andrew Tolve is a regular contributor to TU.

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