As manufacturers figure out how to integrate mobile phone applications with vehicle infotainment systems, Mercedes-Benz decided to cut the middle man out of the picture by opening its own app shop, and let customers download applications directly to their car.
The Mercedes-Benz App Store opened last week, a company spokesperson confirmed in an e-mail. The new online app store will let customers browse for new applications to add to their vehicle's Comand infotainment system. Google Search, Weather, Facebook are standard apps on this system, and Yahoo should be added later this year. Using their phone's Internet connection, they can connect to the MB App Shop to download new apps to their car.
For the moment, there are only two apps available for purchase: a news app and a parking finder app, each available for 9.95 Euros per year. The News application offers in-vehicle articles in 28 languages. When the vehicle is in motion, the application will show the article headlines, but restrict the entire article from the driver's view, reported Telematics News.
The News app is a standard feature on the Mercedes-Benz SL, and other Mercedes vehicles with Comand in Europe will be able to download the app starting mid-July. The apps are available for customers to download in their vehicles in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland only.
It's not clear if this dedicated and Mercedes-branded app store strategy will extend beyond the European countries. Mercedes previewed its app integration earlier this year at the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show. The Comand system demonstration featured Google Local Search, Morningstar Finance and Yelp applications integrated with the electronics platform. Many manufacturers, such as BMW and Ford, use a downloadable app to integrate applications already installed on a mobile device with a vehicle's infotainment system. Mercedes currently uses the Media Interface Plus hardware accessory to integrate Pandora in some cars.
(Via: Telematics News)