Alpine Electronics and Nokia to integrate smartphones into cars

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Alpine Electronics today announced a strategic partnership with Nokia and Navteq to bring a new car integration technology called 'Terminal mode' to car 'infotainment' systems. It integrates Nokia smartphones with in-car systems allowing, not only the usual call functions, but also the use of smartphone-based services (e.g. Ovi Maps navigation) and content (e.g. music) via the high resolution screens and audio systems embedded in the car. The integration also offers the opportunity for automotive-specific widgets on the phone, including fuel levels and engine status.

Alpine Electronics say:

"By integrating the smartphone handset seamlessly with in-car electronics, this technology is able to bring smartphone widget-based services like navigation, music, weather reports and application stores, in addition to the usual call and talk functions of a mobile phone into the car environment. Once connected, and with appropriate safety measures in place, users are able to ergonomically and safely use services and applications through the high resolution screens and audio systems embedded in the car."

It makes sense to combine the smartphone with a car appliance as it avoids unnecessary duplication and allows you to get your familiar services and content via an improved, car-centric user interface and experience.

Alpine Electronics say the integration will allow them to combine information from smartphones with the car "to create unique user experiences". For example, a combination of location (GPS from the phone), together with fuel levels and engine status (from the car) might be combined to create a service which shows, when needed, the petrol station with the lowest fuel prices. The connection between car and phone would be made via Blueooth or USB cable.

Alpine Electronics, a subsidiary of Alps Electric Co., is best known for its aftermarket car audio and entertainment systems. However, it also has a significant OEM business; mainly to premium car brands - including BMW, Volvo, Land Rover, Aston Martin, Mercedez Benz and Jaguar.

More information is available in the Alpine press release.

Also from the press release:

"The infotainment system of a modern car is a natural extension for the capabilities of smartphones. Not only will it simplify the use of turn-by-turn voice guidance from Ovi Maps, but also provide a new and easy way of accessing other content on the smartphone, such as music, and delivering automotive specific widgets from the Ovi Store," said Vishal Chatrath, Head of Product Development for Nokia Automotive.

"This collaboration offers Alpine Electronics the opportunity for further innovation using our Mobile Media Solutions in the automotive industry. We look forward to leveraging our past experience and leadership in bringing smartphone connectivity to the vehicle environment to meet thefuture needs of our automotive partners," said Toru Usami, Executive Managing Director, Alpine Electronics.