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.
Nintendo DS works with Toyota in-car navigation for control, more
At a press conference in Tokyo on Wednesday, Toyota showed off its upcoming Estima Hybrid minivan. At the same time, equipping the van with an aftermarket Smart Navi NSZT-W62G GPS head unit will let a Nintendo DS control the GPS system of the car, 4gamer reported. The DS needs to have a Kuruma de DS (meaning Use DS in the car) cartridge inserted, which allows the portable games console to communicate with the head unit over Bluetooth.
Intel and Toyota announced tech union
Intel and Toyota have announced a joint research venture to investigate new usage models of mobile device connectivity in cars. With connected cars now comprising the third-fastest growing technological device behind smartphones and tablets, the companies are working together to create an integrated solution. Intel will work with Toyota to embed its Atom-family of processors in vehicles in order to form, what the companies call, "a seamless bridge" between the vehicle and userís mobile devices.
Ford and Toyota unite on Microsoft tech
Ford and Toyota made a rare alliance for in-car technology on Monday. The two will collaborate on telematics and "Internet-based services" to help establish common standards. Both will keep developing their existing systems, which include Ford Sync and Toyota's Entune.
Enables passengers to "interact" with scenery
Motor Europe's Kansei1 Design Division, working with the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design (CIID), has developed a prototype interactive display that enables a car passenger to interact with the passing scenery. The technology, called "Windows to the World," transforms a side window into a transparent touchscreen that can magnify, track or even audibly name a passing object. The passenger can use hi fingers to manipulate the view.
Japan finds rare earth minerals for tech in Hawaii
Japan's Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology has made a discovery that could end technology shortages and reduce dependence on China. A total of 78 very large deposits have been found at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean, near Hawaii, that equate to about 80 billion to 100 billion metric tons of material like yttrium (pictured). The material should be easy to get out and is even low on the dangerous uranium and thorium that often affects these deposits, the Agency explained to The Guardian.
Toyota, Salesforce team on social as Entune shown
Toyota and Salesforce on Monday teamed up on a social network for cars. Nicknamed Toyota Friend, it would put out micro updates similar to Twitter either between fellow drivers or even updates from a car. An electric or plug-in hybrid car could automatically post when it's low on battery, Toyota gave as one example.
Toyota Microsoft deal uses Azure for in-car cloud
Microsoft and Toyota preempted their own special event with word of their plans for in-car cloud technology. Toyota's cars, starting from its 2012 electric cars and plug-in hybrids, will use Windows Azure's cloud services to improve in-car telematics. The upgrades should extend to anything from managing the car battery to music playback and GPS navigation.
Microsoft and Toyota to have April 6 event
Microsoft and Toyota late Tuesday organized a special event for April 6 at 4PM Eastern. The two said little about what it would involve but alluded to a "collaboration" between them. It was important enough that Microsoft chief Steve Ballmer and his Toyota equivalent, Akio Toyoda, would both be present.
Company known to be hostile toward jailbreaking
Toyota's Scion theme for jailbroken iOS devices has been pulled from Cydia as a result of pressure from Apple, according to a report. The theme was created by Velti, an ad agency working on behalf of Toyota. In asking for the Scion theme to be pulled, a contact from Velti is claimed to have explained that the order came from Toyota, which in turn had been pushed by Apple to remove the theme and end the campaign. Toyota complied so as to "maintain their good relationship with Apple," says the Velti contact.
Car maker may be going after tech-savvy
Toyota is advertising the Scion brand through Cydia, the most common distribution platform for unofficial iOS apps, reports claim. In particular Toyota is said to have released a "Scion 2011 Theme" in the Cydia store; the code makes radical changes to the appearance of iOS, replacing original app icons and even the swipe-to-unlock bar. Outside of technical settings, Apple limits most official customization of iOS to wallpapers and ringtones.
Entune system is scalable, upgradable
Harman announced it will preview the new multimedia and navigation system, dubbed the Entune, at CES2011. Developed with Toyota, the Entune system will appear on select Toyota vehicles later this year. The Entune system is compatible with most smartphones and feature phones, and provides hands-free calling, music playback controls, and navigation features by voice command. It also has a text-to-speech function to read incoming SMS messages aloud.
Google testing camera-guided robotic cars
Google provided an unusual surprise on Saturday as it revealed that it's testing fully automated robot cars. The modified Toyota Priuses and lone Audi TT are significantly more advanced even than the DARPA Challenges cars and use a combination of video cameras, radar and laser sensors to find both the road and other vehicles on the road. Test cars have driven over 140,000 miles of real traffic, going distances as far as San Francisco to Los Angeles where earlier robots have only driven short distances.
Wozniak comments on Toyota recall
Apple's FileMaker has released the latest update to its personal database software, Bento 3. The utility allows users to organize their important information in one place, with tools for storing contact information, planning events, tracking projects, and more. In addition, users can further personalize the way information is organized by using customizable forms. The v3.0.3 update resolves two issues related to older events in the iCal Events Library, along with a synchronization bug. The update is a free download for existing customers, while new licences can be purchased online for $50.
Scion redesigns xB stereo
Carmaker and Toyota offshoot Scion announced on Wednesday it is putting in a redesigned base head unit to all 2010 Scion xBs without raising the car's price. Compared to the head unit it replaces, both of which are manufactured by Pioneer, the new stereo has an organic electroluminescent (OEL) display, a USB connection and a subwoofer RCA output. The USB port is located in the center consoler, along with a cable for iPods and an 3.5mm aux-in jack. Pioneer also integrated an Advanced Sound Retriever (ASR) software into the head unit that aims to restore the full range of a compressed digital audio track.
Apple Fortune 500 ranking
For the third year in a row, Apple has continued a slow escalation up the ranks of Fortune's Global 500. The list ranks the world's biggest 500 corporations in terms of revenues and profits; in the 2008 list Apple now sits at 337th, with revenues of over $24 billion, and profits nearing $3.5 billion. It is flanked by Canada's Bank of Nova Scotia, and France's Alstom. In the 2007 list Apple took 367th place, while in 2006 it barely managed to break in at 492nd.
Apple takes 63rd place
A private New York-based research and consulting firm, Reputation Institute, recently compiled a list of the 600 largest companies with the best reputations, with Apple taking the 63rd spot, ahead of Microsoft at 137th place. Forbes reports that the electronics manufacturer went up 1.71 points from 73.71 a year ago, to 75.42 in the 2008 "Pulse" score, more than 11 points ahead of the global average. Clinching the top three spots were Japanese care manufacturer Toyota, search giant Google, and Swedish home furnishing company IKEA.
Google brand beats Apple
Google remains the number one company in the world in terms of estimated brand value, says the research group Millward Brown Optimor. Google has held its spot for a third consecutive year, with a recent valuation of $86.1 billion, an increase of 30 percent over earlier results. General Electric holds second place in the current survey at $71.4 billion, while Microsoft is valued at $70.9 billion. The results are based on interviews with over a million people worldwide.
Apple most innovative
BusinessWeek today released its list of "The 25 Most Innovative Companies" in the world, with Apple, Google, and Toyota taking the top three spots, respectively. The publication states the list is based on companies who nurture cultures that value creative people in good economic times and bad, as well as those that develop a diversified stock portfolio, and display independent though for corporate strategy, despite "finger-wagging" from analysts.
Toyota Home Robots in 2010
Toyota today said it would be one of the first companies to introduce helper robots into the home and began by revealing early forms of robots it expects to ultimately serve users. Known only as the partner robot, the humanoid model (shown at left) will ultimately help with tasks where the user is too busy or else incapable of performing themselves. Each limb has 17 separate joints that allow it to handle fine motor skills such as playing the violin. Future versions with more joints will not just help out with daily chores and entertainment but take care of the sick and even help the infirm move across significant distances, the car manufacturer says.