CES 2011: Cool Cars And Hot Apps
It has been like this for a few years now; with the start of the new-year, all the excitement related to the upcoming CES of that year reaches a peak for all the gadget and tech lovers. The years CES is eagerly awaited for at the mega event, the biggest electronics producing brands unveil their most thrilling and innovative machines for the year.
2011’s CES has kicked in and it has fulfilled all the expectations, which by the way, has become a tradition ever since the event first took place. This year’s CES, however, has been the cause of a bit more excitement than usual for some tech lovers out there, if not for all of them. This is attributed to the fact that this time around, a lot of greener and environment friendly automotive innovations were to be revealed by top automobile producing brands of the world. In addition, better position-locating apps and sound systems for cars would be like hot bread in winter at this year’s CES.
Electrical Vehicles are getting more and more popular day by day. People nowadays are more likely to test drive an electrical vehicle and according to a market research conducted by CEA, 40% of consumers are likely to do so. This is being attributed to the fact that people are more aware and want to make a positive impact on the environment. At the event site in Las Vegas, the new Electric Vehicle Techzone occupied almost 3500 square feet exhibit space in North Hall of Las Vegas Convention Center. Major brands like Audi, Ford, Toyota and GM Onstar were all there to showed their latest innovations at CES 2011. The brands also showed their latest in-vehicle technology and connected, high tech cars are a big trend at CES this year.
The keynote line-up featured two of the giants of automobile world; Audi and Ford. Audi chairman, Rupert Stadler, spoke at 11 am on Thursday, 6 January, and Ford CEO and president Alan Mullaly spoke at 11 am on Friday, January 07 for an amazing third consecutive year.
Ford Focus took to the stage with CEO Alan Mullaly, and guess what? The car has been named CES 2011’s official car. This might sound surprising but this has happened before. Last year at the CES, Ford Taurus was named the official car. The news did astound a lot of people not because it’s in vehicle technology is not up to the mark. This is not the case as Ford Focus’s cabin tech is actually quite good. It’s just that the car is actually quite affordable.
The car comes with a lot of really nice features. You can plug your cell phone into one of the cars USB ports and it become a wireless router, with the help of your cell phones modem, and you can enjoy Wi-Fi integrated in the car. In addition to this, the car gets the MyFord Touch interface on the instruments to enable you to enjoy the various navigation, audio and video options while driving. Also, a Ford would be incomplete without the Ford Sync system, which enables you to send voice commands on your blue tooth enabled cell phones and MP3 players. The ST version of the car will capture the focus of many, but the upgraded, hotted and turbocharged car will not be available until later this year.
More on the MyFord app; it is a smart phone app that keeps the electric vehicle owner updated on the various activities and the positioning of the car from time to time. The app, which will be launched on Android and Blackberry with iPhone following right on their heels, gives you information about the cars charging, location and other driver oriented information upon running. The app also tells you how much CO2 that you have saved up and, amusingly, also tells you about your driver with the help of a scale that operates between “Zippy” and “Zen”. Also, it tells you how much money you have saved up while driving the electric vehicle.
When Audi CEO, Rupert Stadler, rolled onto the stage, he did so in style in the company’s new e-Tron Spyder. Although this car was the same as the one used at the Paris Auto Show, apparently a new paint job had taken place and the silver previously used was swapped for a breathtaking red look. However the turbine-styled wheels remained unchanged. The Audi e-Tron Spyder is a hybrid with a twin turbo V6 engine and two electric motors. The hybrid cars’ engine is extremely capable and can do 0-60 miles per hour in about 4.6 seconds, a stat that is has been appreciated around the globe. The company’s CEO also took some time to explain Audi’s MMI system, which has a character recognizing touchpad. He also explained a car of the future with a mobile device instead of a dashboard and admitted that such innovations distract the driver. However, it is believed that this will not be an issue for science and technology will come up with a solution to avoid that.
At the CES, Toyota unveiled its latest Entune Multimedia System. Entune, incorporating a wide variety of entertainment and navigation options, makes driving a fun experience. Install the free application on your phone, hook it up with the cars Bluetooth and voila!! You are ready to use Entune. It has a number of features from booking a table at your favorite restaurant to getting movie tickets at the nearest theatre. Toyota, after teaming up with Microsoft’s Bing and with its help you can look at news, stocks, weather and much more. A function called bing did get a lot of attention. If you do nit know where your destination is, just punch it in and you can navigate directly to the location and the function can even give you turn by turn instructions.
Entune also comes with iheartradio.com, Pandora, HD Radio, USB connectivity and XM in addition to standard audio options like CD. Entune is easy to use for it will be controlled by conversational voice commands. This is a relief because the specific commands are easily forgettable. Entune will most probably debut in Toyota’s Lexus.
In-short, major automobile companies are focusing on the connectivity of their vehicles and strengthening the location and navigation aspect of their cars. However with what we have seen so far, with a large amount of apps in a car, one can get distracted while driving which can be catastrophic. In my opinion, I believe that the company’s should look to make these advancements safer to use for the users. Only then can we say that progress has truly been made. Otherwise, introducing such apps will just make roads a dangerous part of our cities.