CES' Hot New Gadget Is Your Car

New vehicles sprout 4G; Google announces Open Automotive Alliance
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 6, 2014 1:00 PM CST
CES' Hot New Gadget Is Your Car
The Ford Electric Focus car's interior, featuring "MyFord Touch" interface, is shown.   (AP Photo/Ford Motor Company, Stuart Ramson)

The big news from the Consumer Electronics Show—where the expected theme is "the connected car"—is a plan to make your new vehicle a little more like your smartphone. General Motors and Audi tell the Wall Street Journal they have plans to give their vehicles built-in 4G high-speed broadband, and the services sound pretty cool: GM says it'll offer weather and music apps, viewable on an in-dash screen, plus a Vehicle Health app for troubleshooting problems with the car itself. But that's only the beginning of what Google calls the Open Automotive Alliance: a teaming with automotive companies to bring Google's Android system to the road, Businessweek reports.

Honda and Hyundai are also in on the deal, while Nvidia will make the chips for automotive displays. But you'll have to pay up for the services, expected later this year, and automakers are already being met with grumbling about distracted drivers. "To take mobile technology and give the driver distractions that don't even relate to driving is just not the right direction," a National Safety Council director said, adding, "I don't blame the automakers, but they are now in an arms race to be more connected." With those complaints in mind, automakers are working to integrate technology so as to be "glanceable." As an Nvidia rep says, "Holding a phone and interacting with a phone while driving is just not safe." (Read more technology stories.)

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