Each passing month more and more smart phones are entering the market. These new phones are quite capable of delivering some intriguing services to consumers, and have even become a major threat to dashboard staples such as navigation. The Telematics Detroit conference this week unveiled what could be the future of the automotive dashboard.

Apps have become part of daily life for many people. My Motorola Droid has dozens that range from a simple calculator, to music services, to a bar-code scanner. Some auto makers, such as Mercedes Benz are already using their MBrace app to allow consumers the convenience of unlocking their car, and other features. Google has already announced their intentions to use the Android platform in the Chevy Volt.

Doug Newcomb of Edmunds notes:

One potential stumbling block: automakers and suppliers aren't exactly known for the type of open-source software approach that drives app development. But that's changing. Ford recently opened the API for its popular Sync system to app develops, and BMW, Bosch, Delphi and Intel have joined together to push for an open-source automotive software standard.

Opening up the software will enable the production of scores of apps that drivers may find useful. Some of the apps and features of smart phones are already impacting services that used to be nice profit centers for auto manufacturers. GPS navigation is now widely available right on you phone, and is free for many. Even Sirius XM is not immune, as they market a navigation service for a fee.

The topic of 4G and cloud computing networks were also a big topics of discussion. Verizon promised that their more robust 4G LTE network (producing 8.5 Mbps download and 2.2 MBps upload speeds) will be able to connect users to even more than is possible on 3G networks. Between Cloud based systems that allow streaming or even caching of data, and more efficient networks, consumers will have more numerous choices for entertainment in the dashboard of the future. Never before has the marriage of cell phone and car been so close to fruition.

If you are invested in satellite radio you owe it to yourself to become familiar with the potentials that exist in the OEM channel, and the Edmunds article below will give you a good flavor of what is being discussed. Auto manufacturers currently provide Sirius XM the majority of their subscribers. Satellite radio has enjoyed being the technology king in the current OEM dashboard, but there are many upcoming options that can potentially vie for the attention of users in the years to come. As with anything, satellite radio will need to be able to adapt.

Telematics Detroit 2010: Smartphones and Apps Change Everything

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