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Ford first to offer in-vehicle access to SiriusXM Internet Radio App

Ford Motor Co. is offering in-vehicle access to the SiriusXM Internet Radio App, the first carmaker to do so. The Internet Radio App allows drivers of Sync AppLink-equipped vehicles to gain access to MySXM and SiriusXM On Demand alongside satellite radio. Drivers could control Internet Radio App by just issuing voice commands or through the steering wheel or radio controls.

Sirius said the MySXM enables users to customize several Sirius commercial-free music channels and choose comedy programming. The On Demand feature allows users to access over 300 episodes from the Sirius show catalog. Over a million Ford vehicles with SYNC AppLink can use the SiriusXM Internet Radio App.

To use the new feature, Internet Radio subscribers just need to download the latest version of the application for their iPhone and Android smartphones. Ford’s move to offer such access comes at a time when customers expect their vehicles to complement their digital lifestyles.

Read the entire article Ford first to offer in-vehicle access to SiriusXM Internet Radio App

2017 Honda S660 Bruno Leather Edition is offered with nifty shifting-game app

Honda recently whips out a new feature for the S660 Bruno Leather Edition. Any guesses? Well, it’s going to be an iPhone app that goes by the name Rev Beat. Rev Beat rates the driver’s shifting proficiency whether it’s horrible, just okay or exceptional while also keeping record of the scores. Isn’t that neat? The new app also lets people know how good they are behind the wheel by allowing them to share the results on Twitter.

Sad to say, Honda hasn’t made this cute tiny roadster available in many markets other than Japan. The S660 was first introduced in 2013 but it only came into production two years later. It is quite disappointing for the majority especially after the Japanese automaker has just come out with this gorgeous brown leather edition with an iPhone app feature.

As standard, the Honda S660 Bruno Leather Edition comes in Velvet Maroon Metallic paint but you can also have it painted in Metallic Gray or in Pearl White. Either way, the Jazz Brown leather interior will certainly look good on any of these colors. Add to that, Honda will only make 800 examples of the S660 Bruno Leather special edition which will either come with a CVT paddle shifter or a 6-speed manual.

Read the entire article 2017 Honda S660 Bruno Leather Edition is offered with nifty shifting-game app

VW's new Media Control app allows any connected passenger to access infotainment system

German carmaker Volkswagen has launched a new media control application that should allow all occupants of certain VW vehicles to operate the installed media system.

Controlling media inside the vehicle usually lies in the hands of the driver, or with the front passenger. Those who are sitting in the rear cabin can’t help but be in the mercy of the front occupants when dealing with in-vehicle entertainment. Rear occupants usually have to adjust to the media preferences of the driver or the front passengers.

This isn’t the case with new VW cars ordered from May 3, 2017 and feature – as standard or as an option – the latest Discover Navigation or Discover Navigation Pro infotainment systems. These infotainment systems include, as standard, the carmaker’s new Media Control app. This new app extends the control of the media to all passengers inside the cabin of compatible VW vehicles, as long as their smartphones are linked to the Discover Navigation or Discover Navigation Pro infotainment systems through a WLAN connection. Volkswagen’s new Media Control app is compatible with smartphones and tablets powered by iOS or Android operating systems.

Read the entire article VW's new Media Control app allows any connected passenger to access infotainment system

Volvo expands On Call app with a new concierge service

Not a few Volvo vehicle owners leapt for joy after learning that the Swedish carmaker is offering an app-based on-demand service called Volvo On Call app. It comes with a variety of features that should make the lives of Volvo drivers a lot easier. Now, Volvo is launching an expanded version of the Volvo On Call app that includes a pilot program called Volvo Concierge Services.

Up until now, the Volvo On Call includes Roadside assistance, which allows the driver to talk with an operator, who could dispatch assistance to the car’s location, as indicated by its GPS coordinates. Volvo On Call also allows drivers – through their smartphones – to lock or unlock doors, remotely start or stop the engine, start car warnings or access the driving journal. The app also provides drivers with pertinent vehicle information. In case someone had forced his or her way into a Volvo car, an alert is sent through the app, and Volvo could use its GPS location to find it or, if necessary, immobilize the vehicle.

But with Volvo Concierge Services, vehicle owners could do more. In creating the expanded version of the Volvo On Call app, the carmaker has made changes based on its own research that shows that around 70 percent of owners would like an on-demand refueling service. Likewise, around 56 percent of Volvo owners indicated that they want their rides to be picked up for servicing, while around 49 percent would want to be able to have their Volvo vehicle moved to another location as they need it. The new Volvo On Call app would cater to all these services and for a few more features like cleaning (car wash) or servicing.

Read the entire article Volvo expands On Call app with a new concierge service

Getting connected while on the move has become more of a necessity nowadays. This is why carmakers have been installing infotainment systems into their vehicles. But since these systems are sometimes not enough, drivers have turned to Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, both offering easy-to-use interface compatible with many vehicle systems.

More than 200 new vehicle models from over 50 brands are now supporting Android Auto. However, Android Auto users have found that this tech is not compatible with older vehicles. In addition, it seemed not possible for vehicles without any infotainment systems to employ Android Auto.

But what if Android Auto can be brought straight onto a smartphone? This would be a great idea as this would make possible for a car without a compatible infotainment system to use Android Auto. Now, Google has noticed this possibility and worked to create an updated version of Android Auto that enables it to be employed directly through a smartphone app, without integrating it into a car’s infotainment system.

Read the entire article Android Auto 2.0 allows drivers to use app on their smartphones

BMW Group Technology Office USA and GoPro revealed that by the summer of 2016, BMW M Laptimer app will allow a GoPro camera to be controlled with an iOS device and even get to use the brand’s innovative iDrive controller and the high-resolution screen.

This app integration is a favorite among many driving enthusiasts and with this improvement, owners will be able to start and stop the BMW M Laptimer and at the same start and stop the connected GoPro camera from recording.

While the video recorded is saved on the camera, a low resolution version is also saved on the phone allowing it to be played back beside the map view of BMW M Laptimer app. According to BMW Group Technology Office USA senior development engineer Christian Schmid, integrating the GoPro and the BMW M Laptimer have shown to be popular with a number of driving enthusiasts. Since the brand first launched its GoPro camera in-car integration, pairing it up with the BMW M Laptimer was the way to go to improve the driving experience, Schmid shared.

Read the entire article BMW partners with GoPro for updated BMW M Laptimer app

In today's world, social media has become a part of every person's daily life. Because of this, Ford is incorporating The Meople.Connector app into Ford’s connectivity system SYNC AppLink.

Available for iOS and Android devices, this app will allow drivers to retrieve messages from various social media sites such as Twitter and LinkedIn while driving using the voice-control feature that allows them to focus on the road and keep their hands on the wheel.

According to The Reuters Institute Digital News Report 2015, individuals ranging from 44 years old and below typically get news and updates online including various social media sites. And by 2018, one out of three people worldwide will be using social media.

Read the entire article Ford lets drivers access social media via voice-control thru Meople.Connector app

How would you like to choose the style of your own Bentley? Somehow, Bentley helps interested buyers do just that with its newest application – the Inspirator. This innovation from the British carmaker – compatible only with iOS devices -- somehow can detect one’s personal preferences and translate them into a suitable recommendation.

The Inspirator works by first making an interested buyer watch a series of videos in any iOS device. Thanks to the device’s camera function and the app’s facial and emotion recognition software, the Inspirator can gauge and analyze a viewer’s facial expressions and reactions while he or she is watching.

How the viewer responded to the current video will dictate the succeeding one. Likewise, the response of the viewer on certain images will enable the Inspirator to determine their personal preferences.

Read the entire article Bentley launches Inspirator app, let's you configure your Bentayga

Hyundai unveiled as well as demonstrated the new Blue Link smartwatch app at Pepcom’s Digital Experience (Jan. 5) and at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show (Jan. 6 to 9, 2015). Hyundai’s Blue Link platform gives wearers quick access to remote start and service information using smartwatches and smartphones.

Hyundai collaborated with Station Digital Media to develop the Blue Link smartwatch app. Barry Ratzlaff, executive director for customer connect and service business development at Hyundai Motor America, remarked that the new smartwatch app expands the carmaker’s exploration into “how wearable technology and Blue Link fit into a customer’s lifestyle.”

He added that a connection between driver and the car – using a smartwatch and voice recognition -- was previously something seen only in science fiction movies. To use the app, the wearer just need to taps an icon or uses voice commands to execute remote functions.

Read the entire article Hyundai unveils Blue Link smartwatch app 2015 CES

Customers availing of any MY2015 model fitted with the latest generation of Volvo Sensus Connect will be eligible for a four-year subscription to SiriusXM traffic and weather information. SiriusXM Traffic allows drivers to view -- through the Volvo Sensus Connect in-car display -- traffic speed and flow information and to access detailed accident information.

Drivers could also view local and national weather radar maps, receive on-screen weather alerts, storm information and could even access detailed current and 5-day forecasts. The monthly subscription price for SiriusXM Traffic and Weather is $5.98.

Volvo disclosed that customers purchasing a new vehicle equipped with satellite radio will still a six-month subscription to SiriusXM's "All Access" package, including the satellite radio service's premium programming lineup.

Read the entire article Buyers of MY2015 Volvo get 5-year SiriusXM Traffic and Weather subscription

Verizon says it is planning to launch a new smartphone app – called Verizon Auto Share – that would enable rental car customers to unlock a vehicle. Verizon says the app could make promotional offers like in-car Wi-Fi and fuel-purchase options.

It would also include Delphi’s in-vehicle telematics device. According to Verizon Enterprise Solutions, the new app will be rolled out late this year. Mark Bartolomeo, Verizon’s chief of connected solutions, remarked in a statement that car-sharing services, traditional rental agencies and corporate fleets would find the app very useful.

He disclosed that industry experts have noted that “car usership” as well as peer-to-peer sharing done through a mobile app is increasingly replacing car ownership as a main part of the connected life style, especially among young ones.

Read the entire article Verizon to launch Verizon Auto Share smartphone app

BMW has launched a smart charging app in the United States that determines which hours electricity is cheapest, helping BMW i3 owners save money on home-charging their units. According to BMW, the app is available on both Android and Apple devices and comes embedded into the iRemote App, which sends information about i3 temperature, status, charging times and related costs.

BMW will initially offer the app only to Electronauts -- its i3 early adopter program in the United States that started operations in 2012. BMW’s smart charging app employs a direct connection to a national energy-rate database that is hosted by BMW partner Genability.

According to the carmaker, the smart charging app enables i3 owners to adjust their charging strategy even weeks in advance. Julian Lienich at BMW remarked that the carmaker is committed to improving the at-home charging experience for customers to best optimize their EVs for daily use.

Read the entire article BMW launches Smart Charging App telling when i3 charging is cheapest

2015 is a special year for Land Rover as the British manufacturer is celebrating 25 years of Discovery. Earlier this year, Land Rover introduced the XXV Special Edition anniversary model of the Discovery in order the mark the 25th anniversary.

Now, for the 2015MY, the Land Rover Discovery gives its customers the possibility to add that touch of luxury to their vehicle with the option of the distinct Ebony/Cirrus dual-tone Windsor Leather seats and the Grand Black Lacquer wood and leather-wrapped steering wheel.

There is also a new Straight Grained Walnut wood and leather steering wheel. THe exterior can be enhanced thanks to the addition of the XXV 20-inch 5-split spoke forged alloy wheels with light silver polished finish. In addition, Land Rover offers new body colours: Aruba, Kaikoura Stone and Montalcino Red, as well as a new metallic white called Yulong that will be available at a later date.

Read the entire article 2015 Land Rover Discovery arrives with new body colours, InControl Apps [w/video]

Nissan has released a new smartphone app called iManual, a digitalized version of the car manual. It will be available for the new Micra, and will contain information within the car’s manual. The new iManual also includes visual recognition software that allows owners to identify dashboard symbols and switches through their phone’s camera.

Nissan sees the iManual as a big hit, aimed at helping owners learn more about their car. It was conceived after research showed that motorists in the United Kingdom are no fans of their current car manuals. A recent online survey by Nissan showed that only 57 percent had consulted their manual, while only 13 percent had used it more than twice.

Most of those surveyed said they quickly gave up on their manuals after failing to find the information they needed. Around 13 percent said that they just keep their manual on a bookshelf with 10 percent admitting they didn’t even know where it was.

Read the entire article Nissan unveils new iManual app for the new Micra

Ford and online listening hub Radioplayer have partnered to allow radio streaming in the carmaker’s cars and vans. This will be done through the Radioplayer app, which is integrated with Ford’s SYNC with AppLink in-car connectivity system. SYNC with AppLink connects apps on smart phones with Ford vehicles, allowing them to be voice controlled by the driver.

The Radioplayer app enabled for Ford’s SYNC with AppLink allows drivers to select from the best radio stations in the United Kingdom without having to take their eyes off the road. Radioplayer could be downloaded free-of-charge, and is available on tablet and desktop. It allows users to choose over 300 stations including all BBC national and local services, commercial stations as well as a number of community and student radio stations.

Ford pioneered the launch of digital stations into its model range as an option over 10 years ago. Just within five years, Ford models were already offering digital audio broadcasting (DAB) as standard on the Mondeo and Kuga. DAB was already standard across the C-MAX range in 2010, in the B-MAX in 2012, and Kuga this year.

Read the entire article Radioplayer app now playable on Ford SYNC with Applink

Drivers and passengers of Chrysler Group’s 2014 vehicles featuring Uconnect infotainment systems equipped with satellite radio could now listen to more than 150 Sirius XM Radio stations for free for a year. According to Sirius XM, the expanded trial features its "most complete programming lineup," which includes every NFL game as well as NASCAR race.

Once the trial ends, a vehicle owner could renew the All Access package for $199 annually. The expanded trial also provides access to Sirius XM Internet Radio, allowing them to listen on Apple iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, Android and other connected devices, Sirius said. The Internet feature can be accessed atsiriusxm.com.

The package included contents like Howard Stern, Oprah Radio and live play-by-play of every Major League Baseball game. Alan Amici, head of Uconnect, said in a statement that the package is “a great opportunity” for their customers to listen to SiriusXM content delivered via satellite to their vehicle as well as get access to SiriusXM Internet Radio on their smartphones and other connected devices.

Read the entire article Uconnect offers a year free of Sirium XM Radio for Chrysler vehicles

The BMW i3 will feature a number of special Internet-based services that allow one to easily calculate the electric four-door’s available range and find the nearest charging stations. One of the services is the 360 Electric program that offers a smartphone app that provides remote access to the i3 and gives the location of public charging stations.

Under the program, the carmaker will arrange for the installation of a home charging station for a fee. BMW i3 owners, through an app on their iPhones and smartphones, could remotely monitor the battery level and charge status. The remote could also locate the i3 as well as lock and unlock the doors, honk the horn and flash the lights. The app also tells the exact location of the nearest public charging stations as well as whether they are in use – red if in use; green if free; and yellow if reserved.

A BMW i3 owner can pay monthly for public charging with the BMW i ChargeNow card, providing access across stations in the United States. Another Web-based service is Park-Now, which allows one to find a parking space in major U.S. cities. A "range assistant" feature in the standard navigation system can also plan a trip route based on the available charge in the i3.

Read the entire article BMW i3 app is able to calculate range and locates nearby stations

Sirius XM Radio Inc. has reached an agreement to purchase the connected-vehicle services business of Agero Inc. for $530 million in cash. The purchase means Sirius would have the capability to provide telematics services for vehicles like security, safety and other technologies. The concerned companies are expected to finalize and complete the transaction in the fourth quarter of 2013, Sirius said in a statement.

Sirius currently offers radio and data services in more than 50 million vehicles. Sirius said the acquisition will enable it to provide connected-vehicle services to more carmakers like Acura, BMW, Honda, Hyundai, than any other provider. Sirius chief executive Jim Meyer said in the statement that the deal accelerates the company's "development in architecture supporting connected vehicle services, as well as the ability to provide services over both satellite and cellular networks."

In July, Sirius selected AT&T to provide mobile connectivity for the telematics system it is developing for Nissan Motor Co. in North America. Nissan selected SiriusXM to be its exclusive telematics supplier in September 2012.

Read the entire article Sirius XM to acquire telematics biz of Agero for $530 million in cash

Fiat UK is launching a new Facebook App dubbed ‘You Wear,’ which analyses tagged photos to discover what color a user wear most, what that might mean, and what color Fiat 500 one is best matched with. More than half a million custom specification combinations is available for the Fiat 500, and more has been added due to the introduction of the Fiat 500 Spring/Summer collection range.

The “You Wear” app helps potential customers select the Fiat 500 color combos that best suit them. One can access the app on Fiat UK’s Facebook page or at apps.facebook.com/fiatyouwear. The app will scan 25 of a user’s most recent Facebook photos, and will then produce a personality analysis and a car color match.

The App will then publish the results so that friends could see and be invited to play. Those who used the Fiat 500 You Wear app have a chance to win in a prize draw one of 50 High Street shopping vouchers as well a grand prize of a VIP experience at London Fashion Weekend in September 2013.

Read the entire article Fiat launches Facebook You Wear app for Fiat 500

General Motors is now offering a $50 map app for iPhones that could be played on the dashboard touchscreen of a Chevrolet Spark. Timothy Nixon, chief technology officer of General Motors' OnStar service, remarked that historically, they had dashboard navigation systems, which could cost a driver around $1,500 or more.

Nixon quipped that such nav systems would not be able to “cut it anymore,” noting that the game has changed and “always-connected devices” have raised the bar.

Nixon’s view is just a restatement of the fact that carmakers’ expensive profitable in-car navigation systems are threatened are threatened by the increasing use of smartphone app to find their way on the road. The main reason for this is that while embedded nav systems run from $500 to over $2,000, many map apps come free of charge.

Read the entire article General Motors is offering a $50 map app for iPhones