Apple and Google have made names for themselves as technology innovators and as the companies shaping the direction of their industry. Both companies recently released high-profile connected car products – CarPlay and Open Auto Alliance, respectively – that allow users to bring the comforts of their mobile devices to their vehicles. It would seem that both companies are focused on new opportunities to extend their market dominance.
The catch? Microsoft announced its first connected car partnership, with Ford, all the way back in 2007.
A shifting industry
LONDON (Reuters) - Vodafone is buying an Italian car electronics maker for 145 million euros ($197 million), seeking to get ahead in the race to connect more products to the internet and offset slowing growth in its core mobile phone business.
GM says it will next month launch a new range of vehicles capable of connecting to the internet over the 4G network of AT&T.
Customers will be able to use services free of charge for a three-month period or up to a three-gigabyte limit, after which they can take out a data plan starting from $5 a month.
The 2015 Chevrolet Malibu is to the be the first LTE-equipped vehicle and will be followed by more than 30 other Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac vehicles by the end of the year, said the carmaker.
Satellite company SkyWave Mobile Communications has launched a new dual satellite-cellular HSPA device to support M2M services.
The company says the device’s functionality will allow customers to access the most cost-effective communications network without sacrificing coverage or connectivity to essential data.
The IDP 700 series terminals are designed to provide a “quick and smart way” to connect people and assets anywhere in the world, says SkyWave (Ottawa, Canada).
US telecoms giant AT&T continues to set the pace in the connected-cars industry, having just announced a deal with Volvo to provide wireless connectivity services in vehicles sold in the US and Canadian markets.
The multi-year agreement will see AT&T (Dallas, TX, USA) equip Volvo’s (Gothenburg, Sweden) US 2015 model year with its Sensus Connect embedded infotainment service, while Volvo customers in the US and Canada will also have access to Volvo On Call – which allows car functions to be accessed remotely and also notifies emergency services in the event of a crash.
A recently formed company calling itself M2M Spectrum Networks has unveiled plans to build and operate what it says will be the first licensed dedicated M2M network across the US.
Founded last year by entrepreneurs Barclay Knapp and Carole Downs, M2M Spectrum Networks (Phoenix, AZ, USA) says the rollout of its network will occur in “multiple phases”, with trials scheduled to begin in the second quarter of the year.
However, Knapp and Downs expect the network to cover 75% of the US population by the end of 2015 and 95% by the end of 2016.
Telit has launched a new automotive business unit following its takeover of a platform business from Dutch company NXP Semiconductors.
The UK-headquartered hardware player says it has now completed the acquisition of NXP’s (Eindhoven, Netherlands) automotive telematics on-board unit platform (ATOP) business, which develops technology allowing vehicle makers to implement eCall or similar functionality in a straightforward and cost-efficient way.
Kore Systems says it has begun providing an M2M service management platform to Singaporean telecom operator StarHub, which plans to launch a number of fleet and asset management services based on the tie-up.
The operator has been ramping up activities in the M2M area and sees the Kore platform as a vital component of its offerings to a number of vertical markets.
App-based ride company Uber will start delivering on its promise of expanding its business into logistics on Tuesday when it launches a trial courier service, Uber Rush, in Manhattan.
"Better, faster, cheaper," is how Uber's (San Francisco, CA, USA) general manager in New York, Josh Mohrer, described the service in a tweet to Reuters. Customers will be able to watch the progress of their packages in its transportation application, much as they can track the progress of the cars they order up on the service.
Spain’s Telefonica has won a major connected-cars deal to provide services for electric vehicles being sold by Tesla in Europe.
The partnership will see the operator provide connectivity services for the Tesla Model S in the UK, Spain, the Netherlands and Belgium.
To support the service, Telefonica (Madrid, Spain) is also drawing on its partnerships with other operators and M2M platform provider Jasper Wireless (Mountain View, CA, USA) through the M2M World Alliance, an association formed to spur the development of M2M services worldwide.