Samsung eyes expansion of phone tech into auto industry

Article by Anita Panait, on January 9, 2014

Samsung Electronics Co. is famous for producing smartphones that could even rival the iPhone in terms of popularity. With carmakers surely integrating navigation and infotainment technologies into their offerings, Samsung is eyeing the expansion in the auto industry, partly driven by weakening global demand for high-end handsets.

Samsung is partnering with Intel Corp. on an open-source software called Tizen that can run smartphones, tablets, TVs and car systems. The South Korean tech giant has also managed the grabbed interest from carmakers like Toyota. Lee Seung Woo, an analyst at IBK Securities Co. told Bloomberg that in the past, cars are just used for moving, but now, passengers want to enjoy entertainment and access to the Internet inside their vehicles. "It's like a gigantic smartphone on wheels," he said.

One of those future technologies that Lee expects from Samsung are windows made of transparent flat panels that provide map displays and other information for people inside the car while still allowing drivers to have full visibility of the road ahead. Those windows, Lee said, may employ sensors to monitor passengers' health, to select music to match a driver's mood and to analyze traffic and suggest a route.

Samsung President Hong Won-Pyo told Bloomberg by e-mail in October 2013 that the company is open to collaborations with carmakers that could expand to include entertainment and navigation. Samsung is currently participating in the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

A record nine carmakers, including Audi and General Motors, are also taking part. Carmakers are eyeing to grab consumer’s attention on the gadgets and technologies fitted in their vehicle. In the 2013 edition of the CES, over 11,000 of the 150,000 attendees described themselves as being in the automotive electronics business.

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