Car Industry

The future of Porsche's infotainment: Apps, apps, services and apps

With a name like Porsche Connect, you wouldn't expect it to be a Luddite-friendly affair, anyhow.

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With a screen this wide, there's no need to look away from the road, because you'll probably hit it no matter where your hand is.

Porsche

When Porsche trotted out its all-new 2017 Panamera, one piece of the car's interior really stood out -- a massive widescreen version of Porsche's PCM touchscreen infotainment system. While it may be a while before it appears in other models, it signifies yet another evolution in Porsche's attempts to put as much connectivity in your hands as humanly possible.

This iteration of PCM is similar to the one in the 2017 Porsche 911 -- it has a brand-new look, and like many others in the industry, it now supports Apple CarPlay smartphone connectivity. Diving past its skin, though, reveals a wealth of connected content under the name of Porsche Connect.

Porsche Connect is all about apps and services, and more apps, and more services. Like GM's OnStar, it can put a 4G LTE modem in your car, giving you access to the internet and a Wi-Fi hotspot. It also has a standalone app (for both phones and wearables) that will let you access a number of vehicle functions from anywhere. Hell, in China and Japan, you can even reach out to Porsche Connect's call center and have them book you reservations at a local restaurant.

With internet access, PCM can expand its capabilities beyond the hard drive behind the screen. Online destination and point-of-interest searches, Google Street View, flight information and even parking-lot vacancies can be brought to the screen to keep you from going insane juggling a whole day's worth of info in your head. Even better, it provides you with more reasons to keep your phone down while driving.

If you're worried about cell reception, PCM will use its external antenna to handle communication. That should cut down on wasted battery life wasted while your phone hunts for a signal. It's funny to think that, 10 years ago, you couldn't do most of this with the phone itself, let alone with a car rocking its own built-in telecom system.

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