Next Tech Wave in Car Audio Is Not Hardware

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At least 4 leading aftermarket suppliers say that the next tech wave in car audio will be apps.  Yes, apps tailored to car audio.

Mercedes mBrace apps
New Mercedes-Benz add touts apps

This is also true in the new car market.  This week Mercedes Benz launched a new TV commercial that almost exclusively advertises the apps you can access from its vehicles. (See the ad below)


The Mercedes-Benz infotainment package offers Facebook, Yelp and Google Local Search.


“Yes, it’s the next wave.  What it will look like, I don’t know.  With phones so integrated with the radio, an app could make your system sound better ,” said Mike Anderson of Alpine.

In May, Pioneer released a Harris poll study it commissioned that said about 80 percent of smartphone owners use apps in the car.

The top 3 most used apps in the car are maps & navigation (56 percent), music (31 percent) and social networking (24 percent), the Pioneer study found.

Apps have already changed the landscape in navigation.  JVC Mobile explained you can now get a car radio with an LCD screen for $299 to $399, and with the addition of apps from MotionX or Garmin, you no longer need to pay $799 to $899 for navigation.

Pioneer, one of the first supplier to embrace the shift to apps with its AppRadio, said that apps are becoming “features.”  Pioneer’s Ted Cardenas at KnowledgeFest last week said that apps have made the phrase “feature set” obsolete because now, you can add apps as you go such as navigation or traffic or Internet radio.

Many suppliers said they believe that apps that let you adjust the acoustics  in the car will be popular. JVC offers such an app called BBE SonicMax.

Roximity recently released an app especially for Ford vehicles that lets you know when there’s a sale in your area for products you like.

Strategy Analytics estimates that within 2-3 years, app control in the car  “will be a check off item on more than half of all cars.”  Roger Lanctot of the research group noted, “a combination of embedded modems and Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity will make this happen.”

Just so we understand the app tsunami influencing the car market, this year alone the total app market for all deviceswill reach 40 million billion app downloads globally, resulting in more than $13 billion in download revenue, said Strategy Analytics.

Source: CEoutlook

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