Roadshow Video Reviews
Mercedes iPhone integrationMercedes taps the iPhone to tap younger buyers.
This is Mercedes A-Class Concept. This actually debuted in Shanghai a while ago. First time I get a chance to look at it in the flesh, if you will, here at Frankfurt. It's a car you're never gonna see in the U.S. They're not gonna bring this car there. They're busy trying to figure out how to bring this the B-Class, which is one step above this. What this car does show that really intrigues me is not the nailhead grille; it's not the pair of pantyhose that creates the top of the dash, but in fact, this car is going to be showing the first level. I wish Mercedes is gonna roll out a new interface. It will probably show up on this A-Class likely, maybe some other model as well. They're gonna differentiate or bifurcate the technology family. So if you have a lot of money to be honest and if you're a little bit more techno-phobic, you might go with the traditional system, which has the navigation, all the media built into the car. That's what you find in Mercedes today. But they're aiming at an audience that brings everything with them. They've got all their media and preferences and choices on their smartphone. They don't really wanna buy a car that replicates all that. So this car shows a new way of integrating smartphones beginning with the iPhone. Come over here. I'll show you how it works. Okay. That, believe it or not, is a Mercedes interface and if you know Mercedes cars and I've watched my videos on them, that isn't a Mercedes interface. It's got a lot of kind of a hip style to it. It's got these 3D effects. The color scheme is completely different. This isn't fully big yet for production, but they say it's a real strong indication where they're going. So this is your--for lack of a better term-- your young system for your younger buyer who doesn't normally get into a Mercedes for a number of reasons. This is one way to entice them. Now what it's doing is using the video feed through Apple's iPod Out technology coming out of this iPhone as well as a Metadata stream to actually pull the raw data for what I'm about to show you and pulling that up on the screen. It's not a literal translation of the iPod or iPhone screen. You could do that, but that isn't good for a car. This, they say, is really good, easily digestible automotive representation. So I can go to Google, let's say. And again, this is driving from the guts of your phone. This is not envisioned for a car that has built-in 3G. You wouldn't need that. It would more be an in-car-centric system. And I've got the ability to search nearby, look at my recent searches and look at bookmarks. Again, this is kind of automotive stripped down to be contextual to driving. Mercedes is really big on safety so they don't wanna make this a distracting mess. So you're saying why is Facebook in there? What am I doing staring at Facebook in the car? Well, depending whether the car is moving or not, they will lock or unlock things like checking a news feed of your various friends. Here are a bunch of folks from the development team in Palo, Alto, and Silicon Valley. I can go look at my friends here by Friend. All these will function as you've got but again, they've been stripped down and they are contextualized to keep driving in the car safe. And by the way, all these functions are web-derived obviously. They couldn't be done any other way. This is a fully connected vehicle. Check it out. When I go to this reads of my wall, they're literally read. This is going to be text-to-speech that I'm going to hear these recent postings. This is all expected to be coming out next year, sometime in 2012 on a model to be determined, but it's not gonna be on an S-Class. That would miss the point. This is gonna be on a lower class, more affordable Mercedes. And again, a whole different look and feel that I'll be interested to try out when it's actually in the wild and at the showroom.