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The car is becoming the ultimate mobile device

post Wednesday January 15, 2014

Tags: apple, car, google, honda, technology


Up to a couple of years ago, when people wanted to buy a car at the dealer, they would ask about characteristics such as horsepower or fuel economy. However consumers that have grown up with the internet and mobile devices expect that they are also connected when they are on the road with their car. So, the requirements of a car are changing.

Google and Apple expand their battle to a new front: the automobile. Each year 80 million new cars and light trucks are sold. That is why automobiles are a new opportunity for Internet-based software and services companies, such as Google and Apple.

Google is working with the German automaker Audi to develop in-car entertainment and information systems that are based on Google's Android software. This is a response to Apple. Last June Apple launched an initiative to integrate iPhones and other devices running its iOS operating system with car makers' dashboard control panels. For this initiative Apple has the support of a number of carmakers; i.e. BMW, Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz, General Motors and Honda.

When driving a car you need to be concentrated and keep your hands on the steering wheel and your eyes on the road. For that reason Apple created the voice-based technology Siri. Siri will read out loud your incoming emails and it is possible to dictate a reply. Honda integrates the Siri technology in the steering wheel of their new models. 

At the  Consumer Electronics Show in Last Vegas (7 – 10 January) an announcement was made that the car companies Audi, General Motors, Honda and Hyundai and the tech firms NVIDIA and Google are going to work together in the Open Automotive Alliance. The companies share a vision for the connected car and are collaborating to make this vision reality.

Google and Apple need patents to put their ideas into practice. Envision IP analyzed the US patent holdings of Google, Samsung, LG, Sony, Blackberry, Nokia and Apple. In the chart below you can see the US patents and published US patent applications of these companies.

Automotive Patents

Source:  Envision IP

It shows that Google currently owns 310 US patents and 153 published US patent applications. Many of these patents come from Google’s  acquisition of Motorola Mobility.  75 US patents and 42 published US patent applications of Google are related to the vehicle technology that Google developed by itself. Apple is on the right side of the chart with 35 US patents and 54 published US patent applications.

It is clear that the automotive industry will change in the upcoming years. Great engines and fuel efficiency is not all what matters, consumers want to be connected with the internet while being on the road. 

Source:  The Wall Street Journal , Envision IP , CS Monitor and Open Auto Alliance
Image courtesy of Hyena reality /
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