Your Car Care REPs have arrived and ready to give you some smart talk. I like to keep things personal between readers and myself so people can see that Iím not just your average over achiever that has a passion for automobiles. While thinking of topics to write for this installment of Your Car Care REPs (around 11:45 PM) my doorbell rang and I wasnít expecting anyone. When I opened the door I was surprised to see my neighbor who looked upset and frantic. She was asking if she could use my telephone because she had locked herself out of her house and wanted to call a locksmith to open it. I asked if she had left a window open because I had a tall ladder that I could use to climb in and avoid her having to pay a locksmith $200 for 2 minutes worth of work. She said, ďYeah the kitchen window is openĒ. Low and behold I was able to climb in through her kitchen window and open her front door. Avoiding her the headache and pain of having to wait for a locksmith, getting a new lock, changing her set of keys, etc. This success story also gave me the next topic for this article, which is about Smart-Phone Applications for your Car. In this article weíll discuss the various types of applications that will allow your car to graduate from Simple Simon to Smart-Phone University.
Right now Smart-Phone Application makers are swarming around the auto market with fierce competition heating up. For automakers, applications provide new ways to deliver infotainment and tele-matic services to customers. For motorists, Smart-Phone applications allow them to enjoy their infotainment systems to the fullest, while paying only for the applications they want. Iíve learned that there are a host of applications readily available for your Smart-Phone. One application that appears to be very popular with iPhone and Blackberry users is the Viper SmartStart. The SmartStart will allow a user to remotely start-up a vehicle, turn on youíre A/C in the summer time to cool your car down or turn on your heat in the winter to warm your ride up before stepping inside. Now I hear some people with the moans and groans ďRemote start is nothing new!Ē Ahh this is true but what makes the Viper SmartStart unique is that you can literally be anywhere in the world and start your vehicle or open and lock its doors. Thatís because SmartStart works in conjunction with your Smart-Phone & satellite, not inferred technology like handheld remote starts. You may be saying why would I want to remote start my car thatís in Brooklyn, NY if Iím somewhere in the Maldives? This is true. But if you accidentally locked your keys in your car like my neighbor did her house keys you would be able to open it back up immediately, because most people walk around with their cell phones in their pockets or cell phone hip carriers. No need to call a locksmith, no need to break a window or even go get your extra set of keys. The Viper SmartStart even comes in handy if you parked your car in a crowded parking lot and canít seem to find your ride (which happens more often than one thinks). There is a neat function that will sound your cars horn and flash its lights alerting you where your baby is hiding out.
General Motors plans to offer a mobile application for Smart-Phones that will let OnStar users access information and control their vehicle directly from their handsets. The application will provide users with vehicle information such as fuel level, fuel range, remaining oil life, tire pressure and fuel economy averages. The app will also be able to start the vehicle, turn on the lights and control the door locks. GM has also announced agreements with Google that will allow drivers to select destinations using Google Maps and then sends those destinations to OnStarís turn-by-turn navigation service. One of the things that GM is doing is make their apps brand specific. For example if you own a Corvette and have this app it would be tailored to your Corvette needs and if you own a Cadillac Escalade and have the GM app it would be tailored to your Cadillacís needs. This is a breakthrough for OnStar because with the cost of monthly subscription fees one is subjected to, most users have opted out of the OnStar plan once their free trial period is up. This Smart-Phone app option may now justify monthly fees drivers will have to pay to have their cars equipped with the technology.
Ford Motors, which has been trying to fast-forward its automobiles in the digital space, announced its 2011 Fiesta model would be the first vehicle in which Smart-Phone apps can be voice-controlled via its in-car synching software. Ford said it would make the next generation of its SYNC-enabled vehicles into Wi-Fi hotspots, allowing drivers and passengers to connect to the Internet everywhere much more seamlessly in a moving car. Fords touch Sync will allow users to control their phone applications through voice commands and on-screen touch commands. Pandora Internet radio, online talk radio aggregator Stitcher and mobile Twitter client OpenBeak are the first SYNC-enabled mobile applications. I think all these are a great breakthrough in Fords automotive infotainment department as long as it wonít distract the driver and cause more vehicular accidents.
The apps that are described above are some of the more popular ones, but there are several car applications out there for your Smart-Phone. Thereís apps that will reveal where speed traps are located throughout the US, apps that will tell you how efficient or how much horsepower your vehicle is getting, there is even an app that will allow you to drive your car by remote control. (No kidding!) You can get your 007 on in 2010 for real. We just got the green light and ready to peel out, until the next episode keep shining.