4G in cars is coming fast (The Next Big Thing, Episode 7)
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4G in cars.
It's fast and coming fast.
In consoles in a shooter between each other; And all that connected home technology.
And it needs to come together.
Let's get a look at the next big thing.
I'm Brian Cooley welcome to our search for the next big thing.
Cars are taking their place in the internet of things.
And jumping straight to 4G to do it.
Think of it as the car having a guardian angel driving with you.
Very responsive touch screen, rich graphics, you can watch your Netflix movies in the back.
You're drawing upon things in the cloud, it happens very quickly.
Now you may have noticed that cars have been connected for a while, but typically today it's through a clue G tethered to a smart phone and even then, running on the older 3G network.
The big trend that I'm talking about is integrating that wireless connectivity right into the car, no phone involved, and doing it on the much more capable 4G network technology.
You have screens in the car that really need to catch up to what the consumer expects from their phone and tablet today.
And things like Google Maps in the car.
Even Google Earth with satellite imagery, really enhancing that driving experience.
It also gives that persistent connection to the vehicle, so they can always be online and always have availability to connect to services.
Whether you're doing searches, whether you're trying to get realtime data for traffic, or for parking, I think we'll start to see it taking place from the car, as well.
Before you see things like fully autonomous drive, these things really can't happen without real robust connectivity.
Now 4G in cars nails three things, from a technology point of view.
The first is, persistence.
You get in the car, you turn on the key, and that connection is there every time.
Tethered data phone connections tend to be more tenuous.
Not every driver has a smart phone.
Not every driver pairs them.
Not every driver has the apps that connect with the head unit.
It's a [UNKNOWN] mess.
The built-in 4G and the built-in apps in the dash are a much cleaner, robust solution.
The next step is speed.
4G in cars should be transformatively faster than the 3G in most phones still.
And not just evolutionarily so, it's a real deal changer and this is also going to be a sort of a late mover leg up for cars because they're going straight to 4G for the most part.
As opposed to dawdling with built in 3G.
And finally there's integration.
A built in 4G connection can tap into more of the cars actual sensors and systems than a tethered phone is allowed to.
That means things like vehicle location, vehicle help, status of various systems.
All that can be brough into the connected car experience, which your phone just can't deal with.
Now the fruits of these technology integrations are many.
My favorite is cloud-based navigation.
Among the features here are being able to have photo realistic maps that arrive quickly, being able to look at a street view image, and pan through it smoothly.
And being able to do rapid cloud-based search for what you're looking for, as opposed to old tired address and POI based.
Next up is streaming media.
With that constant always there connection consumer and driver habits will change and start to count on streaming media more almost as reliably as radio or CD usage.
And this also means 4G can give us reliable video streaming to the second row.
No more of those few DVDs your kids are sick of.
Then there's integrated calling.
Right now most of us pare our phone and that's how we get our calling done.
That's works well but going forward with the integrated 4G, the car will be one of the first platforms that has what's called HD voice.
That means you'll get much higher.
Fidelity in your calls which helps in the noisy environment, and something called duplex calling, where when you talk at the same time with someone else, you won't step on each other, it'll be more like a landline where you can talk at the same time.
That's a nice innovation.
In-car hotspots, now these have been around for while, but with 4G, they'll finally be able to credibly support several devices connect all at one time through the car's hotspot.
In the past that was basically a pipe dream.
I'm still not so sold on this.
I think car makers wanna push to the world of you using the indash services which have much more rich data for them then just providing a dumb pipe for you to connect your iPad from the backseat.
Finally, there are over the air updates.
A constant 4G connection will encourage car makers to start doing these.
Like you get on your smartphone or tablet once or twice a year.
Look at what Tesla has done with these sorts of things.
They've rolled out new updates over the year, they have changed infotainment services, they've [INAUDIBLE] the sun roof top rate differently, they even added a new drive feature, the creep function when you lift off the break like most automatic transmissions, they added that to the car, with a software update, over the air, with integrated wireless.
Now where does this stand in the real world?
Okay, the 2015 Audi A3 sedan is generally credited as being the first mainstream car in showrooms that offers built-in 4G.
And at a low end model, notice, not a high end.
Move to Chevrolet next, which is about to put 4G availability in most of its 2015 cars, from large to small.
That will go along with Siri eyes free, for example to start to move things toward a much more smart phone like cabin, and then in a few years, most GM brands will have 4G available across most of their models.
IHS Automotive currently forecasts a rather modest 1.2 million cars with built-in 4G on the road globally by the end of 2015, but look at just two years later, in 2017 that's 16 million cars.
Analasys Mason projects half of all cars on the road will have built in connectivity by 2024 and nearly 90% of new cars selling by that year will have it as well.
Now the biggest hurdle I hear from consumers is often privacy and data harvesting, tracking they often say.
This should map very much to the way other devices have been used as data probes in our lives and let's face it, our phones are doing that already.
But monitor carefully what's happening with a different set of regulations here because auto makers are more highly regulated than most mobile device manufacturers.
Secondly there's an additional data plan.
Right now it's 15 to 20 bucks a month, give or take, after an initial trial period for you to have this 4G lit up in an Audi or a General Motors car.
Other car makers may change that a bit but that's kinda where we are right now.
In the future, I think that will trend toward zero.
The data there is so valuable to the car maker, and they wanna get a major up take of this technology, that it would make sense to knock down any cost hurdles.
Additionally, they are more than likely to sell or share the data from your car, in the aggregate, with third party partners.
To again, rub down the price for them so that they can get it to you for nothing.
But consumers don't want another wireless account and fee.
That much is clear.
So there could also be a bundling strategy because many of the major carriers are also the ones who are sort of silently powering this connectivity in vehicles.
Back in pursuit of the next big thing, I'm Brian Cooley.
E3 2014 just wrapped up and the dust that is settling around consoles is very interesting.
We have continued to tweak and refine PS Now.
I was lying down flat, and using my head to navigate as I was sliding under big tractor-trailer trucks.
They want to create a world that feels real, that sounds real.
You could bring the sword point right up to the knight, tickle his chin or decapitate him.
Whatever you want to do.
Now when Microsoft XBox One came out November of 2013, it had a very broad, kind of a whole-house message.
Gaming at the core, yes, but also communications with Skype, streaming media, and pay TV integration.
And of course, gesture and voice control through Connect.
It seemed aimed exactly where consoles were going to be going more broadly around the household.
Four months later, however, what it's mostly aimed at is catching up with Sony's tail lights.
The sales rate is quite stark.
Sony if the first four months has sold 7 million PS4s, Microsoft 5 million Xbox One.
That 30% delta is alarming to the folks in [UNKNOWN].
And at E3, Microsoft came out talking about basically one thing around Xbox, games.
They went back to the core.
It's renewed interest and excitement benefits everyone.
Creators, publishers, console manufacturers, and especially gamers.
You heard almost nothing about Skype.
Pay TV integration or gesture control.
This time it was Sony that went broader.
They rolled out a slightly new version of the PS4 and new games, of course.
But they also talked about new peripherals.
A PlayStation TV box was rolled out.
Which will, yeah, stream games, but also be streaming video from a new service that Sony plans by end of year to compete with Amazon streaming and Netflix.
They also had their Morpheus virtual reality headset being shown in development, with games like Jurassic Encounter and Street Luge.
And then they rolled out details on their PlayStation Now streaming service that will soon let you.
Stream games to future Sony televisions with nothing but the addition of a controller.
With the Wii U game pad.
We have the first dedicated personal screen in the long history of video games.
For its part, Nintendo's still wondering how it can get back to being the darling of the mainstream console revolution, which the Wii was once touted as.
Their Wii U with its kinda tortured game pad tablet peripheral was being shown as a place where developers were spending more time making the tablet relevant.
They also rolled out something called Amiibo, or Amiibi, I guess in plural.
These are little sorts of toy figurines that have NFC technology built in.
You would touch them to a certain portion of the game pad.
To launch the related game and also bring in your history preferences and profile with the game and start game play right from that point.
And everybody's wondering when or if Nintendo's streaming TV and movie platform will be a major player.
Taking a first look at the new [INAUDIBLE].
Controller for a Steam Machine.
And Valve's Steam Machine platform is delayed until 2015.
When it does arrive, it will have a revolutionary controller with touch sensitivity, haptic feedback, and of course, tie in to Valve's very popular base of online games, games written directly for the new class of boxes, and the ability to stream TV and movies as well.
Now one of the most interesting facts around all this is that game consoles remain globally, the most installed device that is capable of streaming television and movie content, along with its core gaming mission.
Not smart TVs, not Roku and Apple TV boxes, those are actually relatively small numbers.
In the US, about half of all homes have a game console.
About a third, though, use it for TV and movie streaming.
As did the close of E3 2014, It's still clear that no game console maker has yet fully cracked the code on making their class of products dramatically more appealing to every member of the household and every demographic and every day part of daily life.
Finally, let's bring connected home technology home.
And in so in one place.
Things like lights, and door locks, web cams, garage doors, and thermostats.
We thought we could bring some rationality into this space.
Now, one of the.
The things I found most interesting from Apple's recent Developer's Conference was their announcement of HomeKit.
It's one of the least developed at this point, but it has amazing potential.
CNET began reviewing connected home technology summer of 2013.
And one of the first things you notice is how many vendors there are of devices that have their own apps, their own logic, their own behavior, and their own quality of interface.
It can be a little chaotic.
We need a place for all of them to come together as simply as the home itself pretends to be.
Products like Revolv, or the Staples Connect Home Hub are a middle layer of hardware and software that seek to broker the relationship between your phone or tablet.
And the devices that now control your home.
Apple's home kit would seem to give us a place to get closer to our connected home devices in a more simple, transparent manner.
Giving developers a single place to tie back to where they know they'll find enormous critical mass.
And where they can get together with some degree of interconnection.
So that I'm not handling every single device in my home discreetly, but having some degree of sort of macro.
Relationship, where one behavior on my part can command several devices to do what I need.
For example, if I pull out of the driveway in my car, my phone can sense that geolocation change and perhaps tell lights, thermostat, and security systems to go into the right mode for an empty house.
Now Apple has a well known elegance with how they pull these kinds of things together.
And of course, an extremely loyal and enormous developer base [APPLAUSE] On the other hand, Apple also has a way of deciding what will and won't be possible within their universe and doing it in sometimes a conservative fashion.
We also need a very clear analogue form the Android camp to answer home kit or a huge number of users will be left out of this home simplification revolution.
Also it's interesting how many of Apple's carrier partners are also in the business of selling you smart home devices and the connection and APP software to operate them elegantly.
That puts those two at odds, but with a partner they can't afford to lose, Apple.
In sum I would watch for developers who understand that tight integration down at the core of the OS is a smart place for home control.
The home is a simple place.
We want it to get better, but we don't want it to get more complicated.
There's very little tolerance for that.
Making this kind of home control as core to an operating system on a mobile device as is messaging or decoding web content seems the smart path to me.
Thanks for watching.
It's good to have you along as we go on pursuit of what's in the tangible future of consumer electronics.
Let us know your thoughts at cnet.com/nextbigthing to find our back episodes, and our email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
I'm Brian Cooley.
I'll see you next time we go in search of the future.
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