Nokia Announces HERE Connected Car System (NOK)
With an eye on the future of automobile transportation, Finnish mobile communications company, Nokia (NYSE: NOK) announced Friday the creation of an embedded infotainment and navigation system called Here Connected Driving.
Described as “the only end-to-end driving solution on the market today,” Nokia said it designed Here Connected Driving to help carmakers and suppliers of in-vehicle technology provide a connection between the driver and car to the cloud and various other devices such as computers, smartphones, and tablets.
The unveiling of Here Connected Driving is Nokia’s second major product announcement in less than a week, following the debut of the $150 515 feature phone Wednesday.
The Connected Driving product actually consists of four components, HERE Auto, HERE Auto Cloud, HERE Auto Companion, and HERE Traffic, Nokia’s existing mapping software.
HERE Auto is the navigation piece. It delivers the map, turn-by-turn directions, satellite views, and street level images. Nokia will provide a software development kit to allow car makers to add entertainment and other applications to suit their needs and those of their customers.
HERE Auto Cloud links the system to the cloud, providing real-time traffic updates, suggestions on dining, parking, and even where to charge your electric vehicle or which gas station just lowered gasoline prices.
HERE Auto Companion provides the connection to mobile and web applications, which allow the driver to stay connected when outside the car. Everything is synchronized, so a route created on a smartphone, for example, shows up on the device in the car. Auto Companion also provides unique features like “walking navigation” and indoor maps such as in a shopping mall.
Upgrades to HERE Traffic allow data to be processed faster and, according to Nokia, more accurately. This allows for more up to date travel time estimates and the ability to re-route on the go.
In a demo conducted for GigaOM in Chicago, a Nokia HERE exec mapped a route on an Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) iPad then called it up on a mocked-up in-car dashboard screen. After being “routed” to a department store parking lot, the parking location was transferred to a Nokia Lumia phone where walking directions into the store were provided.
At the end of the simulated shopping trip, walking directions back to the car showed up on the phone. As GigaOM noted, although it was a canned demo, if it works in the real world, it could be impressive.
The question for Nokia (and investors) is whether automakers will buy it or whether Nokia is “late to the party.” Many automakers have their own in-dash systems with some, like Ford (NYSE: F) and General Motors (NYSE: GM) having already opened up their platforms to developers, according to GigaOM.
At the time of this writing, Jim Probasco had no position in any mentioned securities.
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