Posted by Dale Buss on April 23, 2013 08:02 PM
It was inevitable that, as infotainment has risen in importance as a consideration for auto purchase, the value of the "info" part of infotainment would rise as well.
Now, that evolution has reached a likely and logical next step: Infiniti is making the information core of its concierge "personal assistant" service available to you even if you choose not to buy or drive an Infiniti.
The Nissan-owned luxury make, newly under the global leadership of Johan de Nysschen, has been telling dealers to give out free access to the Infiniti Personal Assist service as a tool to stimulate floor traffic, according to Automotive News. Dealers have been authorized to sign up showroom visitors for free 60-day trial subscriptions to the feature even if they have no interest in buying an Infiniti.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on April 9, 2013 01:37 PM
Audi along with other automakers has seen how infotainment features have risen like a rocket as consideration criteria for US luxury buyers lately. As Audi seeks to penetrate the ranks of upscale American Millennials—in general, and with its new, entry-level A3 sedan due out around the end of this year—the brand is making a new play for this crowd.
In partnership with T-Mobile, Audi is offering a new, $15-a-month data plan that will give drivers in-vehicle connectivity through the Audi Connect service, which includes access to Google Earth and Google Voice Local Search; news, weather and fuel prices; and a WiFi connection including broadband connectivity for up to eight devices in an Audi vehicle.
"We want people to be attracted by the price and to be able to keep their connection [to Audi Connect] alive continuously," Anupam Malhotra, senior manager of Connected vehicle for Audi of America, told brandchannel. "We can ensure continuity of support. And people don't have to deal with reminder-of-renewal e-mails or worry about whether the service is still active."Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on June 11, 2012 06:06 PM
Turns out that maybe American drivers are more sensible than either the U.S. government or automakers give them credit for. New research shows that when it comes to "infotainment" and "telematics" in cars, auto owners are much more interested in Point-A-to-Point-B applications such as navigation than they are in making sure they can feed their Twitter account from the driver's seat.
Mobile applications are encroaching in the vehicle — look at Ford's Sync voice-activated technology, Hyundai's Blue Link, GM's OnStar, the Mercedes-Benz "iPhone on wheels" concept and Apple's iOS 6 announcement that it's integrating Siri voice recognition as an "eyes-free" (from the device, not the road) digital sherpa. Look for Siri voice command buttons on the steering wheels of upcoming vehicles from nine automakers: Land Rover/Jaguar, BMW, GM, Mercedes, Audi, Toyota, Chrysler, and Honda. (Update: the news took at least one of the auto brands by surprise — Fast Company reports that Chrysler wasn't aware of being included in Apple's announcement.)
But for all the push of technology and connectivity into the passenger seat, consumers don't want Facebook and Twitter integrated into the driving experience, nor are they looking for a Zooey Deschanel-style chat about adding reminders or what to listen to (sorry, Siri).Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on February 17, 2012 03:03 PM
The federal government has weighed in with "suggestions" about how automakers can reduce distracted driving in the way they treat infotainment technology, a pet cause of U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. More than 3,000 people were killed in crashes in 2010 in which distracted driving was a factor, the government auto-safety agency figures.
So LaHood has proffered a number of ways in which automakers can voluntarily help stem the tide of distracted-driving accidents, including simplifying in-car communications systems, designing devices that require only one hand, and disabling manual texting, internet and social-media browsing during driving.
These ideas, and the broader thinking behind them, are both a potentially huge threat as well as a possible opportunity for automakers and their infotainment brands such as Ford's Sync, General Motors' OnStar, Audi Connect and Toyota Entune. For while they, too, want to make sure in-vehicle infotainment is safe, and join LaHood in his overall intent, car companies will have at least four issues with these specific suggestions:Continue reading...