Symbio launches new in-vehicle infotainment services as Toyota and Tesla Motors start joint production of electric vehicles

Symbio launches new in-vehicle infotainment services as Toyota and Tesla Motors start joint production of electric vehicles

Symbio, an advanced software development innovator, announced its arrival in the connected car space with new in-vehicle infotainment services. Symbio plans to use its mobile and consumer electronics expertise to create safer, more graphically advanced and intuitive interfaces. The company will provide software development and integration, user interface implementation, and robust software testing solutions.

“With Symbio's IVI services, engineers and designers can focus on critical safety issues and the user friendliness of the system, instead of spending valuable development time on graphics, multimedia integration, optimization, and implementation of tools,” says Jacob Hsu, Symbio’s CEO.

Symbio also announced its membership in the GENIVI alliance, the non-profit industry association whose mission is to drive the broad adoption of an in-vehicle infotainment open-source development platform. Symbio brings added innovation and capabilities to the alliance, says Hsu, as the interaction between automotive and consumer is a key factor in competitive product development.

London’s Olympic Wi-Fi

With the 2012 Olympics approaching, London mayor Boris Johnson asked Europe’s broadband leaders to build a comprehensive Wi-Fi network. The Cloud, Europe’s largest wireless broadband network, has already initiated talks with O2, Vodafone, Virgin Mobile, London officials, and Olympic organizers. The Cloud already operates one network in London, but the Olympic network would be significantly larger, potentially spreading to Stratford to include the Olympic village. The new network could go live in 2011.

Tesla’s Model S

Toyota and Tesla Motors reached a deal to jointly build electric vehicles from concept to showroom. Tesla bought a closed assembly plant in Fremont, California, for the venture, and Toyota agreed to purchase $50 million of Tesla stock once the company goes public. The first joint EV to trundle off the factory floor will be Tesla’s Model S electric luxury sedan in 2012.

Data trumps voice on cell phones

People are more likely to Web browse, video stream, text, e-mail, or listen to music than to place phone calls on their cell phones, according to new data from CTIA, the wireless industry association. The data shows that, in 2009, for the first time the amount of data used for Web-based functions exceeded voice data for phone calls. Texting experienced a nearly 50 percent increase per user nationwide.

Data dominates network capacity

As cell phones transition into portable computers, data is starting to overwhelm network capacity, suggests a new study from wireless analyst Chetan Sharma. Data currently uses up to 70 percent of total network capacity, a figure that could rise to 85 percent by the start of 2011. Meanwhile, telecom companies make only 30 percent of total revenue per user from data communication, which means they’ll be eager to sell alternative data plans—for cars, for example—in the future to level out the usage, says Sharma.

4G goes mainstream

The smartphone market experienced an overall growth of 57 percent in the first quarter of 2010, according to a report from research firm IDC. Almost 55 million units were shipped worldwide. In the coming two years, a steadily increasing percentage of those units will run on 4G networks. A new study from ABI Research revealed that 480 million people already receive 4G coverage. That will rocket to 1 billion by the fourth quarter of 2012, the report forecasts. Yota, Sprint, and Clearwire have already ramped up 4G offerings with new models from HTC and Samsung.

Crowd-sourcing traffic information

Traffic data is the most important application on portable devices, with navigation apps coming in a close second, according to consumers surveyed by Strategy Analytics. Most traffic data currently comes from public and fleet data, but as GPS probes proliferate and commuters become more involved in reporting, traffic data will become an aggregate of GPS data and crowd-sourced inputs, says Strategy Analytics. And in the not-so-distant future, we can expect loose-knit traffic communities that illuminate the latest crashes, slowdowns, and construction zones, making it easy to discern the fastest way from point A to B.

Vehicle tracking

Fleet management and vehicle tracking specialist DigiCore has invested £3 million in the UK vehicle-tracking sector. The company will take a 25 percent stake in telemetry provider Minorplanet and form a new subsidiary whose goal will be to create a telematics platform across Europe. Minorplanet had faced significant financial woes that limited its ability to raise investment.

“This is a positive development for the Group given the economic backdrop,” says Terry Donovan, Minorplanet’s chief executive. “DigiCore is a leading international vehicle tracking provider [that recognizes] the inherent value of Minorplanet's major subsidiary, the value of the customer base, and its experience in providing telemetry solutions.”

Andrew Tolve is a regular contributor to TU.

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