Are Apps Going To Be The Next Driving Force In Cars?

15 January 2013, 10:11 am EST By Jimmie Geddes email: Mobile & Apps

Let's face it - apps have become a huge part of our lives. Whether they're being used on our smartphone, tablet, TV, etc. it seems we can't seem to get enough of them. Is their next home going to be in your car? It looks like that is the trend as both GM and Ford are betting on adding apps to their automobiles.

It makes sense in integrating apps in the car's built-in infotainment system and offering them to new car buyers, as as people spend a majority of their time in their cars. Just as we saw car companies embrace in-car digital entertainment with DVD players and satellite radio, the next logical move would be apps.

Ford and GM have both announced programs offering developer's access to SDKs and APIs in a bid to get some of the most used apps on smartphones and tablets ported to automobiles. The two companies are taking very different approaches to bring apps to their cars. It will be interesting to see which plan is more successful.

Ford's approach uses the driver's existing smartphone or tablet and will run the apps on the devices by using Ford's AppLink system. GM on the other hand is taking a more in-depth approach by creating a framework that will allow drivers to use apps in the vehicle's built-in infotainment system. GM's approach might not be the best one as the apps are dependent on the actual car and infotainment system, which could make the technology dissipate and become outdated over the life of owning the car. Ford's approach uses the smartphone and tablet as its main driving force and therefore the technology capabilities will increase over time since we upgrade our smartphones and tablets at a faster rate than our cars.

Either way, once the automobile makers figure out the best way to integrate our favorite apps into their cars, we'll all have a more fun and productive ride.

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