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2012 CES Wrap-Up: The Cloud's the Limit

By Jacob Brown | January 16, 2012
Over the past few days, we've covered touchscreens, voice commands, head-up displays, applications, smartphone integration, and various other technologies featured at the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. But what does much of it come down to? The cloud. Technology in cars is finally at a point where it needs to move as quickly as it does with home computers. As a car remains relatively unchanged throughout its lifecycle, it's up to the databases outside of that vehicle to keep on progressing. Many automakers were touting high-speed computer chips and open-source Linux software that would allow them to keep ahead of the curve. Ford's approach centered around progressing the advancement of smartphones. And oftentimes, automakers just resorted to outsourcing their software management, as is the case of the Aha and Gracenote systems installed in many new cars. The cloud is where it's at, as a car made today will look and feel outdated in two years, technology-wise. Having modular technology on-board and upgradable technology on phones and servers will keep products as fresh as their processors can handle. Here's what we covered at this year's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas: Paragraphimage Reporter's Notebook Here are some of the sights and sounds from the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show you might not see anywhere else. From the the gourmet mini pulled pork sandwiches at GM's press conference, the completely unnecessary NPR ice scrapers during the Ford conference, and the Chinese luxury sedan spotted in the Imperial Palace Hotel, we went everywhere and did everything. The Reporter's Notebook shows you just a small, but entertaining, portion of it. Read more... Paragraphimage The Best of the Rest Whether looking at Mercedes-Benz's mbrace2 infotainment system or the giant touchscreen system that controls almost all of the functions in the 2013 Tesla Model S sedan, we looked at GPS units, radio controllers, and other tech that we thought was worthwhile enough to include. While downtime was sparse, here are a few things that might interest the buying public now...and in 2032 or so when Mercedes-Benz gets its self-driving, hand motion-activated car on the road. Read more... Paragraphimage Suppliers Delphi and Visteon Match Wits with Epic In-Car Technology You don't often hear the names Delphi and Visteon, but their roles as automotive technology suppliers are vital to pushing technology forward. They've developed all sorts of interactive technology. And then they had to develop more technology when that first set of toys became too distracting for drivers. Now all they need to do is convince someone to buy their products and put them into production. Read more... Paragraphimage Ford Opens AppLink to Outside Developers, Starts With NPR and Roximity How much more will Ford's Sync be able to expand? However much your phone can hold. First Ford created voice commands with Sync in 2008. Not too long ago, it created AppLink to support third party software developers. Now, National Public Radio and deals finder Roximity are using the mobile technology to let listeners listen to NPR stations across the U.S. and find discounts on restaurants and other venues just by driving by them. Read more... Paragraphimage Audi Teases Next-Gen A3 with Production-Ready Interior Display Of all places to show off a new car, Audi chose CES for its next-generation Audi A3. At the show, you could sit in its new interior, fiddle with the touchpad-equipped MMI infotainment system, which debuted in the much more expensive Audi A7 and A8, and even see screen shots of the outside of the next Audi A3, which will likely come to the U.S. as a 2013 or 2014 model. Read more... Paragraphimage Korea-Only Kia Naimo Concept and Ray EV Shine Light on New Technology Neither the Kia Naimo concept car nor 2012 Kia Ray EV were ever intended to come to the U.S. They came to CES to display Kia's emerging electric technologies, as well as a larger, more versatile UVO touchscreen infotainment system. We were enamored by the Korean automaker's two little boxes of funk. It's just a shame Ford's display with the just-introduced 2013 Ford Fusion was right next to it, stealing much of Kia's thunder. Read more... Paragraphimage Kia Debuts Second-Gen UVO with eServices, Smartphone App Kia brought along its 2012 Kia Optima Hybrid to display a working version of its next-gen UVO infotainment system...which isn't going to reach production until the 2014 model year. We know, we're disappointed, too. But teenagers aren't. The new UVO will have speed detection that notifies owners if their cars go above a certain preset speed without them in the car. It also has geo fencing that can tell if drivers go outside a preset space. Good thing that didn't exist a decade ago. Read more... Paragraphimage GM Says Cue Infotainment System Will Work Like Apple's Siri By 2015, 78 percent of all cell phone users will have smartphones. Why does this matter? Because Cadillac is designing its Cue infotainment system work with them. Exclusively for General Motors' highest brand on the food chain, Cue will have a modular, Linux-based platform that will allow it to change styles, readouts, and applications constantly. It will be tailored to each driver along with other upcoming platforms. Read more... Paragraphimage OnStar to Introduce Car Sharing App for Owners to Make Money If you're an owner of a vehicle equipped with OnStar, RelayRides' Shelby Clark has just the product for you. Collaborating with General Motors' OnStar unit, Clark has created an internet and smartphone app that will let owners of lesser-driven vehicles put their cars up for rent. Clark says the program will allow said owners to be able to recoup as much as $1000 per month. He says it's almost fool-proof, but it won't be without its drawbacks. Read more...
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