December 19, 2012 - Our cellphones and cars are becoming more integrated every year. Car companies are spending large portions of their R&D budget to bring new features to the dashboard of the car, rather than to the engine. The average person might not get excited about added engine torque, but an app that integrates into your dash? That is something everyone can relate to.
This year we have seen the Ford Sync AppLink, which is essentially a program for bringing apps directly to your in-dash navigation screen. I think it’s a great idea from a safety standpoint. You don’t have to desperately fumble around with your iPhone to thumbs down every Nicki Minaj song that comes on your Pandora—now you can rid yourself of her “music” without putting your life in jeopardy. AppLink integrates Pandora, and a few other apps, and allows you full functionality through your in-dash navigation screen. It even has voice-activation software.
One of the newest apps for your car is a coupon system offered by ValPak. The app utilizes your GPS to pinpoint any coupon deals that apply to your current location. So if you’re out shopping or running errands and you want to save a few bucks on lunch, you can scan the ValPak app for any coupons that apply to restaurants in your area. Personally, I think I'll wait until I can use my in-dash navigation to Yelp, but this is a pretty good idea from ValPak.
As cars and smart devices become more integrated in years to come, it will be interesting to see how the technology progresses.