Connected Cars are an Extension of the Smartphone Revolution

The idea of “connected cars” served as one of the highlights of CES as Chevrolet, Ford and others embrace the relationship between smartphones and cars. The combination of existing cellular and Bluetooth technologies can help create smarter vehicles that not only enhance entertainment, but also aid drivers with diagnostics, safety, charging schedules and other vehicle-related issues.

Ford announced Amazon Cloud Player integration with its Sync App Link platform, which will enhance in-car entertainment for drivers. The Chevy Volt features Pandora and Stitcher Radio integration, allowing the driver to safely use voice and touch commands to play and rate music.

OnStar app integration allows drivers to view statistics on mileage, fuel economy and tire pressure data. The Chevy Volt also allows drivers to set different charging schedules.

Connected cars also allow drivers to remotely control their vehicles. People can lock or unlock cars using an app, and can also honk or flash lights to help find a car in a crowded parking lot. People can also send directions to a car, allowing them to follow the pre-sent route once they get to their vehicle.

“Essentially, the connected car has become a new mobile platform, or an extension of the current smartphone revolution,” suggests GigaOM. “A satellite or cellular connection in the car, plus Bluetooth, allows the car to interact on the Web while the smartphone is the app platform that powers it. We’re in the early stages of the connected car market, but all the pieces are there for big growth and adoption: wireless technology, voice or touch interaction and smartphone apps to make our cars smarter.”