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Car Tech Video: Mini Connected platform and Smart Car iPhone app

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Car Tech Video: Mini Connected platform and Smart Car iPhone app

5:04 /

Two new ways to get fully connected in your car at the 2010 Geneva auto show.

[ Music ] ^M00:00:06 >> Now, it used to be that companies that made little cars also made simple cars. That was always kind of the same thing, but not anymore. Here in Geneva, I'm flanked by two little car makers with some big ideas. Smart over there, Mini over here, both blazing some trails on connected cars. Come on. Now, inside this Mini Countryman, we see a couple things going on. First of all, a whole new interface, a whole new UI here on the LCD inside their traditional dinner plate speedometer. With this little funky controller, I can roll around and see choices that include, let's see, that's vehicle information, settings, CD, multimedia, radio, Bluetooth hands-free, navigation, okay, not so interesting, until I get around to here. Mini connected. Click on that, and here is where I'd have a series of iPhone connected services. Now, it's not working here 'cause we're in a building where we can't get a signal even if we had an iPhone hooked up. But this would be things like streaming web radio. You could imagine getting travel recommendations, maybe traffic data, weather, any of that that'll come through your iPhone and be displayed here. This is the head unit, but your iPhone ends up being the data terminal. And perhaps it could be open to any number of apps, allowing sort of an API relationship here to really make this the automotive-centric portal to your iPhone. They're a little bit vague on how all that's gonna work, but it's going to be real. Now, let's go see what Smart's doing. Theirs is a little more concrete and rather big. Even though it's one of the smallest car on the floor, this is a big idea. Check it out. Now, here's an iPhone in a cradle. This is an actual Smart designed cradle. It can be retrofitted to the Smart you've got or purchased on a new car, of course. You put your phone in there, you load up an app, written and developed by Smart, and then you've got four major buckets of features. You go to media; obviously, you've got access to your music in your iPod function. No kidding. But if you go to web radio, now we're getting into some new territory. Check this out. Because your iPhone's a streaming radio device, but this is integrated and automotive interface. Things are nice and large, easy to press; not little, tiny lines of text, and of course, integrates right into the head unit. Now, Smarts have always had pretty basic audio head units. This adds a lot of freshness to it. If I hit that and want to go streaming, there we are. If you wanna bump around, you can do the swipey thing that you do on the iPhone so often. Oh, here's an ID song application, like Shazaam, but it's based on Gracenote. What is that song? Just press this button and go figure it out. Phone functionality, of course, hands-free calling, dialing with the keypad, or you can go to your contacts, of course: the ones you already have right there on your iPhone. There's a microphone installed as part of the kit up here. And of course, the cradle is charging and bringing audio to the head unit, which will auto-mute when it's time for a call. Now, the basic nav has got a basic map. Shows you where you are, where you're going. But if you want turn-by-turn directions, you can add that on for a pretty modest additional cost, and that's gonna be just like a PND. Just like any of the turn-by-turn apps you can add to a smartphone, but of course, you're gonna be adding it to one that's auto-integrated. See what's going on here? They're taking a car that doesn't have a lavish head unit option, saying, "You know what? Forget developing that. Let's have folks punch in their iPhone and we'll do it through software." Now, the last thing I wanna show you on the nav that's interesting is you can go to search, let's say, and let's say I wanna get near my location, I wanna find something to eat, and I'm gonna go to a restaurant. And of course, the classic anywhere you are in the world, you wanna find some pizza. As the results come up, this is both a POI database, like you'd have on any sort of a nav unit -- that's here on this tab -- but look what's over to the left. Microsoft Bing-enabled live search results. And these are the ones, as you see, they're ranked by distance here. You can click on those and dive further into search result information and then decide if you wanna go there or not. And by the way, all the prompts that come from this, of course, will mute the audio when it's time to give a navigation instruction. Last part to show you is the bottom right corner, which is the assist panel. The car finder will always get you back to your car. Now, when you turn the thing off and this is docked, it basically GPS stamps where you were. So you can go back here and say, "Good grief, where'd I park the car? It was," you know, "weeks ago at the airport" or something. And this one here's under developments: camera assist. Not working yet, but a camera like you have up here in the windshield would be able to look out and see and read through image recognition speed limit signs and tell you what the speed limit is where you're going. Even warn you when you're going too fast, which Europeans love. They do a lot of that in their cars. Okay, let's price this guy. The cradle is about $400 US, 249 euros. Plus the installation fee, if you're retrofitting it, or they're just gonna wrap it all up in the car purchase price if you're buying a new Smart 42. There's a data fee for the live turn-by-turn nav. Not the basic mapping, but for the live, turn-by-turn, which would include the live traffic and also updated gas prices in the US. And that's $49, or euros, depending what market you're in. That's an annual fee. ^M00:05:01 [ Music ]

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