Market Overview

Will Honda Get an App Store?

One can only imagine the kinds of apps Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) might bring to its self-driving cars.

Apps make perfect sense for those vehicles. How else will consumers entertain themselves during a long drive? They have to do something.

If apps ever become a big part of the auto industry, carmakers will surely aim to repeat the success that Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) has had with its own app store. Until it becomes a priority for consumers, however, you should not expect an app store from Honda (NYSE: HMC).

"I think we'd rather put resident technology if you're talking about things that help you drive like Lane Watch, Lane Keep Assist -- those types of things," John Mendel, Senior VP of Honda's American division, told Benzinga. "That's gonna be resident technology. That, I don't think, is gonna be [in an] app store."

"The question about functionality and individuality I think is still to be determined in how we get there," he added.

While new technology dominated the auto shows of the past, many automakers seemed to be less focused on this element at the 2013 North American International Auto Show.

"I don't think it [technology] is slipping away," Mendel countered. "What consumers want is simplicity. They want technology that's easy to use, not invasive. Certainly we work within the regulations of distracted driving, that's a big issue now. I think the simpler and more intuitive the technology can be, that's what consumers want."

While Ford (NYSE: F) recently signed an agreement to bring Rhapsody functionality to the SYNC AppLink, Mendel did not indicate that Honda would follow suit with a similar announcement.

"We look at what connectivity consumers are looking for, and I think rather than carrier-specific or anything else, we look at the whole suite of how consumers consume and enjoy what they enjoy," he said. "So we look at broad ranges of groups, whether it's music [or] online, and try to stay [ahead] of that."

Follow me @LouisBedigianBZ

Posted-In: honda John MendelNews Management Tech Best of Benzinga

 

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