At CES 2012, Mercedes-Benz unveiled its app strategy. Its new cars will have 3G data connections, and drivers will have access to Facebook, Yelp, and other apps in the dashboard.
The Mercedes-Benz display at CES 2012 included this standalone version of its head unit, featuring the Mbrace2 connected system. This screen shows the familiar Mercedes-Benz COMAND graphic interface. But Mercedes-Benz has added a carousel structure for its menus. The carousel card reading COMAND Online will change to Mercedes-Benz Apps in the production version.
For safety, most of these app functions are disabled while the car is in motion. The apps carousel shows Google local search, which is integrated with the navigation system, Facebook, and an AP news reader.
When the car is stopped, the driver can write a status message, although the rotary dial for entering letters makes this process tedious. While under way, the driver can choose from some templates for status updates, even ones that use the navigation information to let friends know when he or she will arrive at a destination.
The newsreader covers a variety of categories. The system will show headlines when the car is moving, but not story text. The driver can select a headline and choose to e-mail the story to a previously stored address.
The Yelp app lists nearby restaurants complete with crowdsourced rating information. The Yelp listings are also integrated with the navigation system, making it possible to set a restaurant as the destination.
Mercedes-Benz integrates Google Street View into many of these apps. If a driver finds a promising listing in Yelp, he or she can call up the Street View to see what the storefront looks like, making it easier to find on arrival at the location.