One of the hot topics at last month’s CE Week in New York City was the inclusion of “car-centric” apps, with General Motors (GM) slated to release its software later this year for cars with built-in AT&T 4G LTE connections. Gartner analyst Thilo Koslowski says cars are “ideal” for apps, given the number of different controls and displays a driver can manipulate and other tricks, such as voice commands, that could be included. Diagnostics and other information-based apps would appeal as well, says Verizon Telematics vice president Tom Taylor: “[We want] more information presented in a safer, more personalized way.”
What’s the Big Idea?
Although Mercedes-Benz has already opened the door to car-centric apps with its Mbrace system, automakers like GM and Ford have the potential to make such apps a normal part of American driving culture. One challenge that could hinder wider adoption is a car version of a platform war, with each company offering proprietary software. AT&T vice-president David Haight believes that “if you pay for the app once, it should go anywhere” but admits that the companies have yet to arrive at a common standard. “[They] are all at different places, but they’re heading to the same place — it’s all converging.”