LAS VEGAS--Ford and GM both surprised the automotive and technology worlds by announcing developer programs for their in-car software platforms, essentially replicating the ecosystem of the smartphone on the dashboard. The two launched Web sites with nearly identical URLs, developer.ford.com and developer.gm.com, to support independent development of apps for their cars.
Ford already boasts about 20 apps integrated with its Sync AppLink system, with nine new apps announced at the show. GM is behind in the dashboard app game, but the open development program should give it a jumpstart.
The programs are designed to encourage developers … Read more
LAS VEGAS--Cabin tech interfaces receive a lot of criticism for being clunky, ugly, and slow, but Chevrolet may have cracked the code by copying the smartphone. The newest generation of the MyLink infotainment system runs smoothly and employs icons that look, and can be rearranged, like those on a smartphone.
Similar to an iPhone, drivers of the new Impala will be able to put the interface into edit mode, and move icons around on the touch screen. The icons cover everything from navigation to phone to apps such as Pandora. To make the system better suited to cars, there are … Read more
LAS VEGAS--On the same day that Ford announced its Sync AppLink developer program, GM came out with its own take, announcing it would make APIs and other resources available so developers can build apps for the car.
GM announced a new Web site, http://developer.gm.com/, where developers will be able to download the SDK for its new app framework. It also demonstrated integration with iHeart Radio, TuneIn, Slacker, and The Weather Channel on the new framework.
GM plans on offering the new framework in some 2014 model year vehicles, which could come out as early as this summer. … Read more
Steve Ballmer famously chanted "Developers, developers, developers!" in 2000, and automakers have finally heard the call. GM will take part in AT&T's Developer Summit Hackathon this weekend, sponsoring a new Connected Car Challenge.
Developers at the Hackathon will have from noon Saturday until 2 p.m. Sunday to build their apps. Winners will be announced at 6 p.m. on Sunday, and some finalists will be selected to pitch their apps on stage during the Summit's keynote addresses on Monday.
AT&T says there will be more than $100,000 in cash and … Read more
OK, so you you can't remotely drive a BMW with a phone like James Bond does in "Tomorrow Never Dies," but there are plenty of real apps that will let you take control of your car and its tech with little more than your smartphone and a data connection. From beaming destinations to your Toyota's navigation system with Entune to remotely unlocking your doors with GM's OnStar RemoteLink, we've rounded up a few of the best car-controlling apps. … Read more
With current technology, GM can't give its upcoming Spark EV more range, but its OnStar division is giving drivers the tools to deal with limited driving range. A new feature of OnStar's RemoteLink Mobile app will let drivers plan trips based on charging-station availability along a route.
Volt owners use the RemoteLink Mobile app to program charging times remotely. OnStar will add the new Waypoint tab in anticipation of next year's launch of the Spark EV. When a driver enters a destination, the Waypoint feature will plot a route incorporating necessary charging-station stops.
Given that the Spark … Read more
When Samsung debuted the Galaxy Note last year at CES, the phone met with, well, a mountain of mockery.
It was inexplicably huge, it came with a stylus, hallmark of the hopelessly unhip, and worse, pundits took to calling it a "phablet" -- half phone, half tablet. It appeared to be a product in search of a market it could never, ever hope to find.
We were wrong. The Note found a following, and Samsung reportedly sold 20 million of the funny little things. That's pretty good for a tweener device with no known purpose.
And here … Read more
You may already be familiar with the maxim, "Less is more." Clearly the infotainment engineers over at General Motors are, because it seems that they've taken this approach to designing the dashboard of the 2013 Chevrolet Spark LT.
There are only four buttons for volume up and down, power, and home below the 7-inch touch screen. There are only three knobs for the basic climate control system. There isn't even a CD player -- GM's betting that you probably won't even notice that last bit, because its target market carries music around on phones … Read more
Interesting news out of Detroit, General Motors donates leftover sound absorbing material to be turned into warm weather clothing for the city's homeless.
In total, GM has given over 2,000 lbs of unused and leftover materials to the Empowerment Plan, a Detroit-based nonprofit aimed at providing the homeless of that city a job with pay, and a coat. A coat, that in this case, is not only self-heating, waterproof, and transforms into a sleeping bag, but is also made from material donated by GM. In one of the coldest cities in the United States, a coat can go … Read more