AUTOMOTIVE MULTIMEDIA AND COMMUNICATIONS

Detailed system and semiconductor demand analysis for in-vehicle infotainment, telematics and vehicle-device connectivity features.

January 12, 2010 20:01 mfitzgerald
The unspoken theme to the 2010 Consumer Telematics Show held one day prior to CES in Las Vegas was HMI’s role in the safe interaction between the driver of the vehicle and the various portable and embedded electronics prevalent in today’s vehicles.  When polled, the vast majority of the 250+ attendees of the telematics conference indicated that driver distraction is a major concern. There is widespread legislation across international markets governing the safe operation of cellular phones while driving. Safety concerns and legislation over the next 2-3 years is also expected to cover music players/iPods, PND and smartphone use in the vehicle. There is also strong legislator interest and research into driver distraction issues surrounding driver use of multiple multimedia and automotive features within the vehicle.
  • Ray LaHood, United States Secretary of Transportation has called distracted driving a “deadly epidemic” and NHTSA has stated that in 2008, 6,000 deaths and 500,000+ injuries were caused by distracted driving.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/11/27/AR2009112702320.html Despite increasing demand for HMI innovation there are significant cost related challenges that will impact availability, pricing and competitive positioning between HMI products and between car makers. Achieving scale economies across vehicle segments and leveraging from markets and products outside the vehicle will impact automotive product development. Car makers have differing strategies towards `open' versus proprietary solutions for multimedia and communications solutions including HMI. For example, Ford and Fiat are working with Microsoft, whereas Toyota is considering taking a proprietary route to operating system (OS) platform development.
  • The most notable progress towards `open' standards, platforms and APIs - and hence cost reduction - has been made by voice technology based automotive products.
As consumers multimedia usability experience improves rapidly on portable devices and in the home, there are increasing opportunities for automotive players to learn and leverage this progress for improvements in the multimedia and communications experience in the vehicle.
  • There is a significant and growing gap between multimedia experience on devices and in the home versus automotive products.
  • There is rapid growth in consumer adoption, functionality and user experience for: iPods; iPhones and smartphones; PNDs; and multifeatured devices.
  • Display designs and location, voice technology, resistive touch, capacitive touch, other haptic technologies, other HMI technologies, improved intuitive menu structures, and user interface design all offer opportunities for automotive product improvement and competitive differentiation.  (Please refer to Strategy Analytics Blogs concerning the KIA UVO and Ford SYNC announcements at CES 2010)
Strategy Analytics forecasts strong growth for automotive voice technology and touch screen displays are set to reach $1.2 billion and $1.7 billion respectively in 2015. Strategy Analytics expects total revenues generated from voice recognition systems to increase from $284M in 2007 to $1,195M in 2015 representing a CAGR of 20% p.a. over the forecast period. Strategy Analytics expects total revenues from touch screen displays to increase from $660M in 2007 to $1,7102M in 2015 representing a CAGR of 13% p.a. over the forecast period (Exhibit 1.3).
  • "Total" is the summation of demand from the major vehicle producing regions of NAFTA, Japan, Europe (West and East), Russia, South Korea, China and India.
For more information on vehicle HMI, please see the following Strategy Analytics report “Automotive HMI: Voice Technology and Touch Screens Have Significant Lead”:  http://www.strategyanalytics.com/default.aspx?mod=ReportAbstractViewer&a0=4730

December 31, 2009 18:12 rlanctot
Audi's announcement of an optional Google Earth-enabled navigation system for the 2011 A8 due in mid-2010 has raised a question for competitors: To 3G or NOT to 3G? Having just put a messy transition from analog to digital technology in the rearview mirror, the automotive industry is facing yet another key point of inflection between 2.5G, 3G and 4G wireless technologies for embedded telematics solutions. Several automakers have already taken some preliminary decisions leading down the 2.5G path for their future telematics platforms focusing on safety and security. The belief is that additional functionality can be handled via the customer’s smartphone – and that the primary function of automotive telematics remains automatic crash notification and, perhaps, navigation. Some OEMs are targeting the wider spectrum of location-based applications with their related revenue opportunities enabled by 3G technology. And QNX and Alcatel-Lucent have partnered to prepare the market for a 4G LTE future. It is worth noting that QNX is a strategic partner with Audi as is Elektrobit, both of whom are developing cloud-based, location-based solutions for cars. Big decisions await the industry in 2010. Car makers will want to avoid the cost of a 3G module. They will also want to avoid the cost of data plans, hoping to tag along on the customer's data plan via a physical or Bluetooth connection to the smartphone. This strategy will work in the short term, but Audi is one OEM pointing the way to a 3G future with its announcement of a Google Earth-enabled navigation system for the 2011 A8. Initially built around a GPRS/EDGE platform, the car maker has announced its intention to bring UMTS on board. This decision will put Audi into the telematics forefront where it can be expected to be joined by Mercedesand BMW. The key to success will be leveraging location-based technology to deliver a superior value proposition to the driver. With 3G, the full spectrum of content and services and related business models will be at the company's disposal and not dependent on the capabilities of the customer's smartphone or a flaky Bluetooth connection, though Bluetooth will have a role to play. Ford will have the sexiest solutions at next week's CES event in Vegas, but Audi has served notice that it is stepping into the telematics ring and will be a contender. By this time in 2010, the luxury segment may have a new technology leader.

December 22, 2009 22:12 jcanali
As Strategy Analytics anticipated, the market for digital maps has quickly shifted in the wake of Google’s entrance into turn by turn navigation. In the contrast to Google’s recent announcement to pull away from Tele Atlas as its primary map supplier, Microsoft (MSFT) and Navteq have entered into a “new chapter” in their ongoing partnership in what has been deemed as “a true 'win- win' for both companies” as stated in a recent press release.  While by no means a merger, the implications of this partnership could prove to be extremely far reaching.  Microsoft and Navteq/Nokia have technologies which extend into computer software, computer operating systems, mobile software operating systems, search engines, mobile hardware, and automotive platforms as well as the wealth of location-based data owned by Navteq.   This may prove even more significant as Google has recently leaked its intention to expand into the mobile hardware market. The most immediate benefit will be the use of Microsoft technology to create 3-dimensional, street level maps, which MSFT calls Streetside, for its Bing Beta Maps.  As more PNDs become connected, the ability to house 2D/3D maps onboard while storing street level maps off board will be an important selling point and help to differentiate PNDs from mobile phone navigation.  Street view maps are a fun application, but lack the accuracy for reliable automotive navigation.  Developing a seamless way to switch from street views to more accurate 2D/3D maps will help PNDs to better differentiate themselves from smartphones as PNDs provide better automotive usability. The growth of the connected PND market and smartphone navigation solutions can be seen in Strategy Analytics’ recently updated database listed below: Portable Navigation Multi-Feature Device Specification Database In addition to achieving better quality maps, Navteq has strengthened its position by gaining greater access to consumer markets for smartphones and connected PNDs, and could benefit from Microsoft’s strong position in the automotive market, especially in terms of volume cars equipped with Ford SYNC or Fiat Blue&Me and a system that is currently in the works with Hyundai.  While Google is a company with massive resources and a proven ability to flawlessly execute plans, perhaps the strength of its position in automotive and LBS has been overstated by many in the industry. Garmin should benefit from its close relationship with Navteq, while Tele Atlas/TomTom needs to evaluate its future and ponder potential strategic partnerships of its own.   Although Tele Atlas/TomTom has said that it will continue to focus on accuracy and innovation, these words seem more like hollow executive speak than a signal that Tele Atlas/TomTom believes its business model is still functional.  TomTom’s recent decision to slash the price of its iPhone application in half, from $99 to only $49, seems to belie assurances that everything is alright at the Dutch Company. In terms of Microsoft, the partnership helps Bing better target the mobile and automotive search market that Google seeks to dominate.  Strategy Analytics recently detailed Google’s competitive position in the report:  Competitive Position Analysis of Google in the Automotive Market Google has not been shy about its wishes to dominate mobile and automotive search, in fact, at Navigation and Location 2009 in San Jose, CA, a representative from Google stated, “it is advertising, not navigation that we are after.”  This makes search a vital component for deriving revenues from LBS solutions.  Microsoft is prudently looking to bolster its position against Google’s rapid push into LBS by partnering with Nokia. As reported here, by Telematics Update, the new Bing Maps will include a free voice-enabled search application, allowing the driver to access maps, directions, and traffic without compromising the wheel of their car.  The hands free application will cue the driver will visual signs rather than audio responses, thus giving Microsoft a potentially more powerful value proposition to potential advertisers as well as a solution that drivers may prefer. Still, the battle for dominance in automotive and mobile phone search is just beginning and long battles often make for strange bedfellows.   Google’s decision to pursue mobile phone hardware is certainly going to upset the likes of Motorola, who were relying heavily on the success of Android based phones.   This comes on the heals of pulling away from Tele Atlas and offering free TbT on Android, a platform on which Garmin is building navigation-centric Nuvifones.  While Google’s slogan, “don’t be evil”, may continue to resonate with consumers, these moves may have engendered distrust with potential strategic partners.      With many major players have yet to weigh in including automotive OEMs, Google may be viewed as too ambitious for potential partnership.      Meanwhile, Apple, a darling of many consumers, has yet to fully weigh in, but has not ignored LBS quietly acquiring Placebase last July.

December 2, 2009 15:12 rlanctot
TeleCommunication Systems (TCS) has announced that it has entered into a definitive merger agreement to acquire Networks In Motion for an aggregate of $170M. The merger consideration will be paid in a combination of cash, TCS common stock and promissory notes. Networks In Motion's Board of Directors has unanimously adopted the merger agreement and recommended its approval by Networks In Motion's stockholders. The acquisition accelerates TCS' position in enabling mobile operators to offer enhanced location-based data services. The move by TCS reflects the relatively quiet success achieved by Networks in Motion and TeleNav and a couple of other companies in building a highly profitable business around a combined base of approximately 20 million+ subscribers to navigation applications for mobile phones. The $170M valuation also helps TeleNav which is approaching an initial public offering. The announcement is potentially bad news for Google which recently entered the smartphone navigation space with its free turn-by-turn navigation application for Android-based phones. NIM's relationship with Verizon will likely result in Verizon-only capabilities being leveraged in the market, such as probe-based traffic data, which Google will be unable to match due to its much smaller base of users. According to Strategy Analytics estimates, Android-based smartphones will represent approximately 10% of all smartphones in 2010, but only a subset of these will be compatible with Google's TbT application and only a subset of these will actually download the application. Nevertheless, the navigation on smartphone business opportunity has again proven to be more significant than originally thought, now representing a market worth, in total, as much as $2B. Much of this value is deriving not only from the application subscriptions but also from the sale of additional "premium" content, such as traffic data, or updates within the applications, not unlike other profitable application segments, such as on-device gaming. In the end, carriers are more likely to support navigation partners that provide a path to profitability from subscriptions and in-application sales versus free applications such as Google's Tbt offering. So, while Navigon will continue to dominate the iPhone navigation segment and Google will increasingly rule the Android world, a combined TCS/NIM will grow stronger via its relationship with Verizon. Of course, TCS/NIM will also benefit from offering a more fully evolved and acceptable navigation solution relative to the Google offering. http://www.networksinmotion.com/newsroom/12_01_2009_TCS_acquire_NIM.php-Lanctot

November 16, 2009 12:11 rlanctot
Mercedes-Benz launches its Mbrace 3G-based telematics system today as standard equipment on all models except the GLK, the E-Coupe, the SLK and C-Class cars. It is an option on those models. The first six months of service are free and $280 a year after that. Keeping the concierge service costs $20 a month. The new system sets a new standard for smartphone integration, upgradability, voice recognition, dealer-customer integration, car-phone-PC integration, and customer support via three call centers one each for roadside assistance, concierge and emergency calls. Mercedes has been quoted as saying that it plans to add an application store and is also looking at enabling access to concierge and other services via the customer's phone, independent of the car. The bottom-line is the system is intended to be future-proof. The announcement marks the beginning of a transition by Mercedes away from current TeleAid telematics service provider ATX toward Hughes Telematics. The Hughes Telematics vision of service provision ultimately includes satellite and Wi-Fi connectivity, but the Mercedes system launches with 3G cellular connectivity. (Hughes' plan also calls for Website management of vehicle status and diagnostics. It is not clear how much of this capability, if any, will be available at launch.) The significant aspects of this industry changing announcement includes: -> VoiceBox natural language understanding voice engine. - Mercedes is the second OEM, after Lexus, to implement this technology which allows users to make naturally spoken requests for information and assistance either for controlling the car or for location information. The voice recognizer can speed access to information regarding weather or location data, for example, by eliminating the need to connect with an operator, but the operator is still available if the voice recognition fails. -> Three call centers for processing different types of calls. - Most telematics systems use a single call center for processing all types of calls. The Hughes system behind Mbrace has separate call centers for ACN or emergency calls, roadside assistance, and concierge services. -> Upgrade and updatability - Applications can be added wirelessly or at the dealer. -> Connectivity to customer phone - Vehicle doors can be locked or unlocked remotely via smartphone. The vehicle can be located in a crowded partking lot via smartphone app. If the vehicle is stolen, the user can be notified via text message. Additional smartphone functions will be available and an "app store" is in the works. Bluetooth connectivity is also provided for. -> Access to off-board information - Routes and POIs can be sent from Google to the car. (The Hughes vision ultimately calls for Website management of vehicle status and content ranging from audio and video files to service status and remote diagnostics. Mercedes will either be enabling these capabilities at launch or shortly thereafter.) -> Dealer connect - The system will connect the nearest Mercedes dealer if there is a problem. -> Automotic collision notification - Activated in the event of an airbag deployment or by a press of the SOS button, a Mercedes operator will get on the line, notify 911 and stay on the line until help arrives using vehicle coordinates. -> Real-time weather and traffic reports - Also provides real-time assistance in the event of a disaster. An operator will help locate shelter or alert family members. -> Concierge service - Access to a representative who will help make dinner reservations, order flowers, buy tickets to the opera, or book a flight. -> Access to services via phone - Mercedes may eventually allow access to services via phone independently of the car. Link to Wired News story: http://www.wired.com/autopia/2009/11/mercedes-mbrace-telematics/ Related Strategy Analytics reports: Telematics as a Downloadable App Arrives - http://www.strategyanalytics.com/default.aspx?mod=ReportAbstractViewer&a0=4973 App Stores Coming to the Automotive Market - http://www.strategyanalytics.com/default.aspx?mod=ReportAbstractViewer&a0=4802 27M Users of eCall and Infotainment Services by 2015 - http://www.strategyanalytics.com/default.aspx?mod=ReportAbstractViewer&a0=4428 Economic Climate Demands Sharper Connected Vehicle Business Models - http://www.strategyanalytics.com/default.aspx?mod=ReportAbstractViewer&a0=4425

November 4, 2009 20:11 jblight
On 29-Oct-09, Google launched Google Maps Navigation (Beta) an internet-connected GPS navigation system with voice guidance.  It is part of Google Maps for mobile and is available for phones with Android 2.0.  This move will massively boost consumer adoption rates for navigation on smartphones and put huge pressure on the PND and connected PND market.  Google also leads as the preferred consumer navigation brand on mobile devices with consumers across the US, UK, France and Germany.  The move however does not spell disaster for navigation device and solutions vendors.  Market opportunities for navigation and location products, features and apps will be characterized by segmentation and product differentiation.  The key to successful business models is in understanding consumer price, feature, feature sets and usability preferences. Lessons can also be drawn from the digital camera and portable music player markets.  The full implications of the Google Navigation Beta launch on navigation competitive dynamics are discussed in the new Strategy Analytics report ‘TomTom and Garmin Will Survive Despite Google's Entry Into Turn By Turn’.  The key conclusions are:  1. The navigation market is still far from becoming a ‘de-facto Google navigation and location monopoly’. Offering free turn by turn navigation will not guarantee total market dominance for Google.  Google’s entry into turn by turn navigation will however result in a major shift in the competitive dynamics.  In Strategy Analytics’ view, Google still faces significant competition, particularly from Nokia-Navteq and Microsoft.  2. Comparisons and lessons can be drawn from the digital camera and portable music player markets. Two years ago the camera became a widely available feature on phones but the standalone camera market is still healthy and opening up new product opportunities including for GPS and connected camera and video devices. Free Google turn by turn navigation will not spell the immediate death of all the other product alternatives, most notably PNDs.  The introduction of ‘free’ navigation on smartphones, can be arguably compared with the introduction of the camera and digital music features on wireless handsets.  According to Strategy Analytics Global Wireless Practice, ‘cameras on phones have been just about the most popular feature launched in recent history (apart from voice and SMS)’.  However the portable digital camera market didn’t die as a result. 
  • According to Strategy Analytics Digital Consumer Practice, over the period 2003 to 2009, global shipments of digital cameras grew from 49M units to 116M units.
Similarly, the rapid integration of digital music playing capabilities onto handsets has not stifled the growth in dedicated digital music devices.
  • According to Strategy Analytics Global Wireless and Digital Consumer Practices, global sales of wireless handsets with music playing functionality has expanded significantly, rising from 48.1M in 2004 to 793.9M units in 2009. 
  • Yet sales of dedicated digital music players continued to expand simultaneously, rising from only 26M units in 2004 to 141M units in 2009.
3. Monetization and product differentiation are the key challenges. Strategy Analytics has long argued that monetization and product differentiation are the key challenges facing all vendors aiming to develop business models in the navigation and location market.  The competitive landscape will continue to be highly dynamic due to increasing wireless market complexity.  4. Clearly targeted consumer experience research of navigation and location is critical. More consumer research is required to identify the highly segmented consumer preferences for: different navigation products, apps and services; the bundled features sets of those products; the quality thresholds and usability of the navigation and location applications; brand preferences; and the price points and price models that are going to be most successful in different target markets.  5. Market consolidation can be expected particularly between navigation solutions providers. The competitors in the value chain most exposed as a result of this move by Google are the suppliers of navigation solutions to the wireless operators.  Increasing distribution routes to market, and developing navigation and location products will be costly and small specialist players are vulnerable.  It can be argued that there will now be significant questionmarks surrounding the 30-Oct-09 announcement that TeleNav has filed for IPO. As Strategy Analytics’ indicated in the Oct-09 blog 'Wireless Devices and Operator Solutions the Next Big Push for TomTom', there will now be distribution and other business opportunities to be gained from consolidation between players.  These issues can explored further with Strategy Analytics analysts in person at the forthcoming Navigation and Location USA Conference, 1-2 Dec 2009.

October 29, 2009 17:10 mfitzgerald

http://www.fastcompany.com/blog/chris-dannen/techwatch/ford-will-open-sdk-car-apps

Ford has announced that it plans to open its SYNC platform to third party app developers. Though no timeline is given for implementation, Ford has indicated that it will announce future SYNC features during the CES show in January 2010.

Though the SYNC system can be upgraded with new features or apps, only features developed by Ford are available for downloading on the syncmyride website.

Prasad Venkatesh, Vehicle Design & Infotainment at Ford is quoted in the article: "The way we're developing the toolkit, you could sit in the comfort of your home and plan a roadtrip," he says. Using a smartphone or computer, you'd then add points of interest or other plans. "At the click of a button, the cloud would make all that available to you in the car, and it would broadcast it to your social networking groups."

The quandary OEMs face is their inability to control the downloadable application marketplace. However, there is an opportunity for OEMs to leverage that the app space by testing and approving applications before release and in the case of Ford, working with partners to develop specific applications specifically for their vehicles.

An in-depth look at downloadable telematics apps can be found in the following Strategy Analytics report: Telematics as a Downloadable App. Arrives

http://www.strategyanalytics.com/default.aspx?mod=ReportFormatsViewer&a0=4973

Smartphone apps are popular downloads but are not necessarily a source of revenue. This has implications for automotive telematics app opportunities.

Prasad stated that “Ford doesn't know whether they will pursue an app store model ala Apple, and no firm plans have been made about monetization. The potential is there, however; he says he is encouraging the students at UM to pursue their apps with an entrepreneurial mindset.”

It is important for app store owners to provide the right balance between free content as an enticement for consumers to buy from the stores, and paid-for content to realize revenue.

A simplified app purchasing process, such as that perfected by the Apple App Store, is critical to the launch and overall success of an app store. According to Strategy Analytics’ Wireless Media Labs smartphone survey research, over two-thirds of iPhone and over half of BlackBerry respondents in the US have installed all or the majority of the applications on their phone for free.


October 27, 2009 18:10 jcanali
https://www.msndirect.com/MSNDirectServiceAnnouncement.aspx Microsoft has announced that as of January 1, 2012, its Road Traffic Information (RTI) service, MSN Direct, will be discontinued.   MSN Direct is an FM radio-based digital service which allows specially equipped portable devices to receive information from MSN Direct services in the US.  Devices that support MSN Direct include PNDs and embedded navigation units.  With these devices, subscribers gain access to road traffic information (RTI), as well as weather, gas prices, local events, stock quotes, new movie information and flight times. MSN Direct’s business model faced challenges from the start Two years ago when the PND market was in a strong growth phase and fuel prices were high, the MSN Direct product looked promising as it developed ties with US PND leader, Garmin, as well with aftermarket navigation system suppliers.   With a price point of $129.95 for MSN Direct for the duration of the device (and recently reduced to $99.95), a compelling case for RTI and fuel services could have been made to consumers.   When the price of the service is amortized over the product life (roughly 3 years) a consumer would only need to save about $0.83 a week in fuel to cover the price of the service. However, MSN Direct suffered greatly from being removed from point of sale of a navigation device.   As an add-on service, MSN Direct had little control over how aggressively its service was sold to buyer of PNDs and aftermarket navigation at Big Box stores or even how well buyers were informed of the service. Furthermore, most Americans tend to be quite comfortable receiving traffic updates from traditional media sources such as television and radio.  To many, the perception of RTI quality does not merit paying for what can be attained through traditional media.   To others, MSN Direct was simply not perceived as high-tech enough, as RTI technology has been evolving rapidly. In Jul-09, Strategy Analytics spoke to representatives from MSN Direct who remained optimistic about the future of MSN Direct, stating, that by winter of 2009, the price of MSN Direct receiver chips will be the same price as RDS-TMC chips, or about $1 and that a further reduction in subscription price points should drive subscription.   Strategy Analytics remained dubious about this possibility, especially as Navteq was grabbing for market share by offering free lifetime traffic updates on some Garmin devices and access to traffic information over mobile phones.   This coupled with greater distribution of traffic information via cellular to smartphones appeared to sound a death knell for MSN Direct and other paid RTI services that provide the very highest quality RTI. Not the end of Microsoft in RTI The demise of MSN Direct does not mean Microsoft has exited the market on RTI, but instead simply has taken a breather.   Microsoft Research laboratories have spent five years developing a complex software model called Clearflow.  Clearflow is designed to help one determine if it is truly faster to detour when one is confronted with a traffic jam.   According to U.S Microsoft, Clearflow will be integrated into Bing Mobile and other Microsoft mobile applications, including in-car navigation and personal navigation devices and Clearflow will be available at no cost.  In addition, Microsoft beat Google out of the blocks in announcing real-time search with non-exclusive deals with both Facebook and Twitter.   The demise of MSN Direct does not diminish the role of RTI, but rather reflects the evolution of the RTI, interlinked with navigation and location. Clear business models will win the day The implications of MSN Direct’s demise should signal to others such as Sirius XM Traffic that trying to establish a directly consumer funded TMC+ service in volume markets continues to be extremely difficult.  Ad-funded models are also in the early stages of evolution.  And while the lessons are less clear for TomTom and others offering truly premium traffic services, they should to take note of MSN Direct’s difficulties in overcoming RTI quality perception issues, establishing well targeted price points, and how to bundle, successfully, RTI with navigation. The future of 'standard' RTI services is when they become more fully integrated with turn by turn navigation and maps, and together, they start to be used to 'hook in' consumers for high end high quality RTI, and location based services and applications. Strategy Analytics has profiled a wide range of RTI vendors in the forthcoming report 'Road Traffic Information: Competitive Positioning and Business Models', publication due Nov-09 Strategy Analytics has addressed the changing nature of the Location Value Chain in a Oct-09 webinar at:   http://www.strategyanalytics.com/default.aspx?mod=ReportAbstractViewer&a0=5087 Strategy Analytics will be hosting a panel discussion on Road Traffic Information at TheWhereBusiness.com’s Navigation and Location conference on December 1-2 in San Jose, CA at: http://www.thewherebusiness.com/navusa/

October 21, 2009 15:10 mfitzgerald
Internet radio is a web based delivery of audio entertainment that is offered in two basic forms. In the first form, terrestrial and satellite radio stations stream live content or pre-recorded podcasts via the Internet. The second form is comprised by dedicated internet radio stations such as Pandora, Slacker and Last.FM which offer individualized, custom content based on listener input. The automotive digital radio market is ripe for applications that enable internet radio listening in the vehicle – though technical and business model hurdles remain. Safe vehicle-device interface solutions present product opportunities for automotive OEMs, not just for radio but also device based music file management. An automotive interfaced app for radio content does present opportunities, but there needs to be careful examination and identification of exactly how consumers use radio content, and how consumer radio listening habits are developing in the iPod/iPhone/Smartphone market across various market leading devices. Only then can an effective in-vehicle radio app be designed. Internet radio is one application within the in-vehicle infotainment mix that will have the app price plan managed by the consumers’ smartphone or internet enabled device and the accompanying dataplan - and not with the OEM car maker. The car maker could charge for the optional vehicle-device connection feature and avoid a subscription based pricing model. · Cellular data plan pricing will need to reflect the consumer’s willingness to pay – internet radio via cellular is not free. · It is important for app store owners to provide the right balance between free content as an enticement for consumers to buy from the stores, and paid-for content to realize revenue. A simplified app purchasing process, such as that perfected by the Apple App Store, is critical to the launch and overall success of an app store. Internet radio adoption in mainstream automotive markets is very unlikely before 2012. Though internet radio can be listened to in the car using a smartphone and Bluetooth A2DP vehicle-device connectivity, no purpose built OEM automotive internet radio solution with an integrated HMI exists. · May 2009 - Pandora announced that it is working with Ford to implement its internet radio technology with the Sync platform. · June 2009 – Pandora announced that it is working with automotive operating system and middleware supplier, QNX, to bring its internet radio solution to the automotive market. · Cellular network bandwidth limits are strained by streaming content such as internet radio. 4G solutions such as LTE and WiMax do not have adequate network coverage to be a viable solution for the automotive market. This blog summarizes the recent Strategy Analytics insight “Automotive Internet Radio far From Prime Time” that can be found at the following link: http://www.strategyanalytics.com/default.aspx?mod=ReportAbstractViewer&a0=5086