Verizon, five automakers form 4G Venture Forum for Connected Cars
A number of major automakers and telecommunications provider Verizon have joined together to form the 4G Venture Forum for Connected Cars. It aims to develop open standards that will bring 4G LTE systems into vehicles. Car builders who have signed up include BMW, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, and Toyota, with North American companies conspicuously absent.
BMW brings Stitcher to in-car infotainment system
At the SXSW conference, German luxury carmaker BMW revealed that the BMW Apps and Mini Connected systems in its vehicles now support the popular Stitcher smartphone app. The podcast-focused streaming app can be controlled from the infotainment system, including searching, providing feedback, and creating custom stations. Any cover art is also displayed on the vehicle's screen and is controlled over the iDrive interface, Engadget learned.
App opens doors, finds car, sounds horn and more
BMW has made its iOS app available to its car owners in the US (free, App Store). The app, My BMW Remote, lets owners use their Apple device in conjunction with the company's BMW Assist service to remotely access and control their vehicle's features. Basic remote functions include finding the car's location, remote door locking and unlocking, and pushing a local Google search to the vehicle.
BMW, MINI and MOG team on iPhone app integration
BMW and MINI have announced that both brands will get MOG streaming from iPhones. MOG offers users over 13 million songs on demand and includes unique features such artist-only stations. The service is now integrated into all 2011 BMWs with the BMW Apps option as well as MINI Connected infotainment systems via the MOG app (free, iTunes) for iPhone.
Fixes issues with BMWs, Minis
Music service Pandora has posted a new version of the Pandora Radio iOS app, v3.1.15. The update makes several significant changes, for instance allowing upgrades to the Pandora One tier from within the Settings tab. This costs $36 a year, but strips out audio and visual ads from the app as well as the web player.
Car systems such as OnStar, Sync, more hacked
Security researchers from iSEC Partners claim to have found a way to unlock vehicles from four large manufacturers using a cellphone and a text message. Don Bailey and Mathew Solnik can access remote control and telemetry systems from BMW (Assist), GM (OnStar), Ford (Sync), and Hyundai (Blue Link). They reverse-engineered access using off-the-shelf parts and a few hours of their time.
DriveNow set to revolutionize car sharing
BMW has teamed with rental car company SIXT to develop a car sharing service that works in conjunction with a BMW-developed iPhone app. The scheme and app are both called DriveNow, and will come online in April. It will initially roll-out in Munich, then Berlin and will give drivers the opportunity to locate, book and hire BMW 1-series and MINI cars.
Samsung rumored gettiing ex-BMW designer Bangle
Samsung may be hoping to spark its design by turning to an automotive expert for help, a Korean newspaper said late last week. Former BMW designer Chris Bangle would reportedly shape the look of future Samsung cellphones and notebooks. The Joongang rumor didn't say when he would start or if there was a given aim to the designs.
BWM to bring out car keys with NFC technology
German luxury carmaker BMW is planning on bringing out a car key with a built-in Near Field Communications (NFC) wireless link. This technology, which is used in cellphones for payment, will not only allow BMW drivers to pay at checkouts, but also eventually view car status such as how much fuel is left and even make remote purchases using the car's next-generation ConnectedDrive telecom/entertainment system, as BMW explained in a video (below). Incorporating this technology into a car key makes sense, BMW believed, because it's something a person always has on them.
Leica X1 BMW edition camera gets little for $900
Leica's X1 camera, first seen in a leak back in 2009, has just been refreshed with a special edition model. The camera maker teamed up with German luxury carmaker BMW to endow the special camera with a different color on the body and a BMW stamp on the top. No other functional changes were made to the shooter, however, although the price tag, at $3,500, is $900 dearer than the standard-issue and just-as-capable $2,600 X1.
BMW, Mini and Tesla Model S get NVIDIA tech
Both BMW and Tesla Motors today both said they would use NVIDIA's Tegra chips for their in-car systems. The faster ARM processor gives them support for much higher resolution screens, up to the large 17-inch display in the Tesla Model S, while still providing 3D visuals and responsive touchscreen input on the Tesla car. Roots in the mobile world also make it well suited to GPS navigation, including real-time traffic.
Mini Connected for iOS now in App Store
BMW's Mini badge this week quietly took its Mini Connected app (free, App Store) live for the iPhone. The long in development app gives any 2011 Mini with the Connected system access to phone features often tied into the car's own control stack. Internet radio pulled over 3G routes through the audio system, while RSS news feeds and Twitter can appear on the car display or (for news) spoken aloud on a Mini with voice control enabled.
BMW seen as backup option
A corporate mogul, Eike Batista, is courting Apple with the hope it might be willing assemble products in Brazil, rather than China, a local publication says. MacMagazine notes that Batista is looking for companies to occupy 90 square miles at the Port of Acu, a project under construction in southeastern Brazil, valued at $1.6 billion. Batista is the eighth richest person in the world, having accumulated a net worth of $27 billion based largely on oil and mining profits.
iPad has conquered the home, cars next
BMW has showcased its plans for iPad OEM accessories at the Paris motorshow, signalling that the device is set to supplant the traditional car-based DVD unit with flip down screen as the future of in-car entertainment. The iPad dock rotates from horizontal to vertical and looks to be seamlessly integrated with the front passenger headrest in the photos. Whether it is capable of charging the device on the go is unclear at this stage.
MeeGo to reach in-car entertainment systems
The nonprofit Linux Foundation on Friday said the GENIVI Alliance will go with the open-source MeeGo OS for its new In-Vehicle Infotainment (IVI) system. The decision gives automakers like BMW, GM and PSA Peugeot Citroen the new mobile platform and makes Delphi, GM, Intel, Magneti-Marelli, Visteon, Wind River and others the suppliers. IVI includes apps in vehicles that can be used by everyone in the car, including navigation, media, location-based services, and access to the Internet as well as media players and phones
BMW group cars to have special iPhone, iPod menus
BMW and its connected Mini label have taken advantage of updates in Apple's iOS 4 to provide an easier way to navigate music on an iPhone or iPod touch. When attached, any iOS 4 device will put out an iPod-like menu on a car's center dash display; anyone in the front cabin can steer playback from the car's own controls rather than distract themselves with the touchscreen. The technique supports normally out-of-reach features like on-device custom playlists and Genius playlists.
Google emerges as clear victor
Apple has placed sixth in a global survey of the "most reputable" companies around the world, says a consulting firm, the Reputation Institute. The results are based on a two-part poll. People in 32 countries were initially asked to rate the 600 largest corporations in their homelands; the top businesses for each country progressed to a second poll, where they were joined in competition by the "most visible and valuable" corporations with an above-average local reputation.
Semi-tough Mini car will get native iPhone apps
BMW's sub-label Mini today revealed that the 2011 Mini Countryman will be one of the first cars to have tight app-level integration with the iPhone. The semi-rugged compact will have an optional central computing system known as Mini Connected that will tie into Apple's handset through two native apps. At its simplest, a "web radio" app will use the iPhone's 3G connection to reach any one of a set list of Internet radio stations; the car's center column display will give control over radio stations using the Countryman's own interface.
Garmin BMW Motorrad IV GPS
Portable GPS device maker Garmin has recently announced the upcoming release of its BMW Mottorad Navigator IV, which is based on the company's existing $800 zumo 660. The device was developed in conjunction with BMW to work with its motorcycles, and therefore has a customized four-button mount, unique though unspecified Bluetooth capabilities and a list of BMW dealers preloaded into its point-of-interest database.
Thermaltake Level 10 case
At CeBIT on Friday, PC chassis, power supply and other PC accessories maker Thermaltake showed off its unique Level 10 PC case that was designed in conjunction with stylists from Germany's BMW Designworks. Instead of housing components in one big box, the case has modular compartments for each piece of hardware, such as graphics cards, optical and flash or hard drives, the mainboard and the power supply. Whether the power and signal cables for each of the components are hidden in the thin walls is also unknown.
BMW and NXP Smart Key
NXP and German automaker BMW today revealed a prototype of what they claim is the first true smart car key. The pocket-sized device holds both wireless communications and a security chip that let drivers store information that can be sent to nearby devices without much risk of a security leak. Owners could pay for public transit and road tolls or have rented cars that remember a regular driver's preferred settings, NXP suggests.