The iPhone gets Smart

Smart designs an app for the iPhone that supplies navigation, music, and phone functions.

Smart iPhone app demonstration
Smart's iPhone demonstrator uses a functional interface. Wayne Cunningham/CNET

GENEVA--A giant-size iPhone in the Smart car booth caught our eye at the 2010 Geneva auto show. This display served as a demonstration for a new iPhone app from Smart that supplies all your cabin tech needs. We got to see the app in action, running on an iPhone 3G S sitting in a special cradle mounted in a Smart car.

The Smart car used to show off this app was clad in the new Grey Style trim, a mostly cosmetic addition to the Smart consisting of matte gray paint with yellow accents and fog lights. But this car also had an optional iPhone cradle mounted in the dashboard.

Unlike smartphone integration from Ford and Mini, Smart merely designed an app to run on an iPhone 3G S that combines navigation, phone, music, and Smart's own roadside assistance service. All the visual action happens on the iPhone's screen, with audio routed through the Smart's stereo.

Smart Grey Style
Smart showed off the iPhone app in its Grey Style-trimmed car. Wayne Cunningham/CNET

The Smart app's phone functions merely duplicate those found on the iPhone, but the interface uses larger buttons, making it easier to place calls without getting distracted. Similarly, the Smart app's main menu uses big buttons for quick access to the four main program areas.

The navigation app offers simple route guidance to destinations with 3D maps. As it relies on a data connection, you can search the cloud for local listings. The music function lets you play songs stored on the iPhone, or choose from thousands of Internet radio stations.

Because of the navigation function, Smart only recommends the app for iPhones. You can get the app even if you don't own a Smart car, but it won't be as functional. When used in a Smart with the optional cradle (249 euro), it takes advantage of a microphone in the car for making phone calls, and will also mute the stereo when a call comes in.

About the author

Wayne Cunningham reviews cars and writes about automotive technology for CNET. Prior to the Car Tech beat, he covered spyware, Web building technologies, and computer hardware. He began covering technology and the Web in 1994 as an editor of The Net magazine. He's also the author of "Vaporware," a novel that's available as a Nook e-book.

 

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