A study of five applications for the 2011 and 2012 model years that are ready for production shows that Toyota Entune and Ford Sync AppLink applications reached industry-leading levels in at least four areas, including content diversity, integration, day-to-day practicality and implementation. Happening. In this assessment, some of the better performers were BMW/Mini Connected, General Motors My Link/IntelliLink and Modern Blue Link. Table 2 shows the scores of these applications on each item, as well as the final overall score.
The functions of the next-generation car infotainment system will originate from the motoristsâ€™ mobile devices such as the iPhone, iPad and other smart phones and tablets. This is a huge change. The previous generation system used car built-in features to provide entertainment and information systems. Automakers that can perfectly integrate automotive and mobile applications will be at the forefront of the next revolution that will provide in-vehicle social media and other features. The integration of smart phone applications is a fast-growing area in the automotive industry. In 2018, the sales volume of car audio units incorporating smart phone applications will increase from several thousand in 2011 to nearly 5 million.
Toyota Entune ranked first in overall scores, ranking first among the four evaluation projects, only ranking second in the rankings, ranking behind Ford. Entune offers a range of content from the cloud, including Pandora and iheartradio as its two Internet radio sources; MovieTickets. Com and OpenTable. Com acts as its mobile assistant application; there is also a voice controlled Bing local search function. There is only a lack of social networking features, but the Enform solution in Toyota's luxury car brand Lexus will provide this functionality in the form of a check-in on Facebook. Despite many attractive features, Entune's cost is nearly $150 a year, which is more expensive than other automotive manufacturers' solutions.
Ford Sync ranks first in the implementation of the rankings, ranking second in overall scores. The content of AppLink is not diversified, limited to Pandora Radio, and a similar application to Pandora: Stitcher. There is also an embarrassing Twitter customer solution: Open-Beak, which is limited to BlackBerrys. IHS believes that the AppLink system is performing well and Ford is the first to invite programmers in the automotive industry to develop applications such as Pandora for automobiles.
For the third BMW/Mini, there is a lot of content available, but only through the Apple iPhone. The BMW/Mini was the first to bring Facebook to the car, while also offering Internet radioâ€”allowing any radio station on earth to provide Web streaming content via the TuneIn Radio app. The BMW/Mini ranks second in practicality behind Toyota. IHS believes that the BMW/Mini Connected application can achieve near-integration with the user's digital lifestyle. But it depends entirely on the iPhone, which means that the Connected app is not compatible with Android, Blackberry, and Windows Mobile, leaving a large market. And there is no voice activation function.
GM's MyLink/IntelliLink app, apart from integrating Pandora and Stitcher Radio, lacks content, but integration with the car is doing well. Although IntelliLink is a wireless system, it does not provide voice application connectivity other than application activation. Therefore, the application's commands and controls must pass through the touch screen and the heart control zone, which requires more attention from the driver than speech recognition. IntelliLink ranks fourth overall.
Modern BlueLink applications also have limited content and only provide Pandora Radio. While all other BlueLink features, such as local search, weather, traffic, and other telematics and tracking services, are available through the car's built-in transmission control system, they do not provide users with options. For example, Google cannot search for local content because BlueLink uses Microsoft's Bing search engine.
Like BMW, BlueLink can only match the iPhone, ignoring the vast market of other smartphone systems. However, starting from Pandora, the modern approach is correct, making the application practical.
Overall, the ranking reflects the results of IHS iSuppli's research at that time. As application development continues to progress, automakers may adopt more third-party application developers to create more content and increase integration, which will greatly increase the availability of these applications in automobiles. The above rankings may change.
Mark Boyadjis is senior analyst and regional director of automotive research at IHS.
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