Posted by Sheila Shayon on June 2, 2011 05:15 PM
BlackBerry-maker Research in Motion is making a push to bring apps to wheels as the mobile technology turf wars are heating up.
Jockeying for a better position in the car electronics battle, RIM is leveraging its purchase of QNX Software Systems Co. which designs high-end control and entertainment modules for General Motors, BMW and Toyota.
The software is the platform for RIM's PlayBook tablet and future BlackBerry iterations, and the company has its eye on converting dashboards to computers that play music, receive e-mail and launch apps via voice command or steering wheel touch panels.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on May 26, 2011 03:00 PM
Many brands aims for consumers' hearts and minds. Ford wants to literally reach out to — and take care of — consumers' hearts to keep the brand top of mind.
It wasn’t enough for Ford to come up with Sync, its voice-controlled communications and entertainment system that provides unprecedented mobile mastery over music play lists and allows hands-free mobile-phone use. Now, Ford wants to use Sync technology to help drivers stay healthy as well.
In a fascinating extension of the wireless and electronic technologies that have made it easier for people to monitor glucose levels, pulse and pollens, Ford announced that it plans to introduce diagnostic features in its vehicles for diabetics, heart-health suspects and allergy sufferers within a couple of years.
“We see health and wellness as a core area for our technology,” commented Paul Mascarenas, Ford’s chief technology officer. “People are spending the equivalent of an entire week every year behind the wheel, and that time will only increase.”Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on April 26, 2011 06:00 PM
Two events have turned the US auto industry on its head, or at least quite a bit cockeyed: the rise of $4-a-gallon gasoline, and the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Small cars are enjoying a combination of rising demand and tight supply because of those two still-unfolding developments.
And they are two big reasons why Ford was able to post a robust, $2.6-billion first-quarter profit on Tuesday, even though the US auto market is still operating at volumes several million units below annual sales of just a few years ago.
There were two other contributors as well to quarterly results that had Ford CFO Lewis W.K. Booth “feeling pretty good” on Tuesday.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on March 2, 2011 10:45 AM
Maybe, in retrospect, it was inevitable that General Motors would try to leapfrog Ford’s Sync system for using smart phones and other “imported” devices as an infotainment platform in the car.
GM says it is trying to do just that with the announcement of its new Chevrolet MyLink system that will provide text messaging, e-mails, traffic advisories and other connected-car functions in the 2012 Chevy Volt and Equinox beginning this fall.
It also syncs with customers' favorite smartphone services, such Pandora and Stitcher SmartRadio — and represents GM's bid to compete with Ford.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on February 25, 2011 03:00 PM
The Ford brand is coming into focus — make that Focus — globally, with the imminent launch of the Ford Focus globally.
For the most accomplished global automotive brand of the last two years, Ford has been lying a bit low lately. Expect that to change beginning Tuesday, however, when Ford introduces its crucial new Focus subcompact in the US with TV ads on American Idol.
Ford brand marketers met with journalist this week in New York to talk up the fact that the 2012 Focus is the company’s first truly global car.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on February 10, 2011 01:00 PM
If there’s one week a year that auto brands listen to their dealers, it’s this week – when the National Auto Dealers Association convention is held in Las Vegas.
And Ford brand stewards this week told their retailers the company has been listening to them with an important gesture. Ford said that it would begin offering a “technology allowance” that will help dealers offset the costs of the time and trouble of teaching consumers how to use the proliferating menu of in-dash technologies in Ford and Lincoln vehicles.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on February 9, 2011 02:00 PM
If 2009 was about survival for the U.S. auto industry, and 2010 was about electric cars, expect “distracted driving” to compete for the top of the agenda for 2011. The federal government says that about 5,500 fatalities each year now can be attributed to the problem. That’s about one in every eight U.S. traffic deaths overall – and a way higher ratio among teenagers.
The likelihood of a brighter spotlight on distracted driving is becoming more evident every week, as automakers, telco brands, the federal government and other interested parties all add to a wellspring of concern and action around the problem of driver manipulation of hand-held devices while the vehicle is moving.
For the most part, auto brands have been trying to mitigate the problem with still more technology.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on January 5, 2011 06:00 PM
General Motors has been promoting its OnStar “telematics” brand as a standalone marque for many years — nearly since the pioneering automotive safety-and-security services package became available on GM vehicles in 1996.
Now, in an about-face announced this week at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, GM is going to make an OnStar package available to anyone on an aftermarket basis at Best Buy stores nationwide, in the form of a technologically enabled rear-view mirror. It will retail for $299 and come with an $18.95 monthly (or $199 yearly) service fee.
GM is showing off OnStar's abilities with a Verizon 4G-integrated concept car at CES, above.Continue reading...