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Clarion joins Nokia’s Terminal Mode collaboration, as Audi unveils a new Connectivity Navigation Radio platform

In this week’s Brief: Nokia, Clarion, Navman Wireless, Porsche, Autotxt, Audi, QNX Software, Freescale, FleetMatics, and SageQuest

Nokia announced that Clarion, a global leader in car audio and electronics, has joined its Terminal Mode collaboration. Nokia hopes to make Terminal Mode, a technology that seamlessly aligns mobile devices and car infotainment systems, an industry standard. Consumer Electronics for Automotive is already part of the collaboration.

Clarion will be called upon to develop the smartphone interface of Terminal Mode and to build an app service for in-car devices that utilize Nokia’s Ovi Store. “The integration of in-car devices with smartphones will provide better user experiences for consumers and lead to radical changes in in-car information systems,” said Tatsuhiko Izumi, president of Clarion.

Izumi wants to see accelerated development and greater commercial dominance of in-car information systems for the Europe and North America markets, as well as China and other emerging markets. Clarion’s partnership with Nokia, which enjoys a strong presence in these markets, will help. Nokia plans to introduce the first Terminal Mode after-market accessories in 2011, followed by in-car-integrated systems in 2012.

Navman’s new dispatch

Navman Wireless released the M-Nav 760, an in-vehicle dispatch, messaging, and GPS navigation unit. The M-Nav 760 is designed for use with Navman’s OnlineAVL2 fleet tracking system. The device enables dispatchers to send job details, location, and customer information directly from the OnlineAVL2 software to the nearest vehicle in the field without typing or making a phone call. Once the driver has accepted an assignment by tapping a pre-programmed response on the screen, the device automatically displays a map to the job and delivers audio turn-by-turn directions. The goal is to increase fleet productivity and reduce operating costs by automating communications and job routing.

Porsche adopts Autotxt VTS

Porsche announced that UK-based Autotxt Limited will deliver its Vehicle Tracking System (VTS) as an OEM solution for Porsche's 911, Boxster, and Cayman lineups. Autotxt's VTS is embedded in the vehicle with access to the controller area network. It provides consistent communication between vehicle, service operating center, and all related security authorities and services. In case of alarm, the system architecture enables the detection, tracking, and securing of stolen vehicles in 42 countries. The product meets the requirements of insurance companies, regulatory authorities, and legal requirements of international trade.

Audi’s new CNR platform

Audi unveiled a new Connectivity Navigation Radio platform in its Audi A1. The platform is made by Delphi Automotive and will be integrated into most of Audi’s cars in the coming years. The platform’s open software architecture allows Audi to configure its vehicles' infotainment platforms with simple software upgrades. More than 20 variations of the new infotainment platform are available, including radio concert with navigation. The platform’s scalable design also helps differentiate vehicles while fulfilling standard requirements for radio reception, user connectivity, and navigation.

PNDs weather the storm

Although PND volumes are dropping, customers still prefer them to free navigations apps on smartphones, suggests a new study from ABI Research (Aftermarket Navigation, Infotainment, and Telematics Product Tracker). PNDs’ persisting popularity is due to larger and more sensitive touch screens, better maps, and easier usage while driving. Roughly 42.3 million PNDs will be shipped in 2010, according to ABI Research market data. Garmin, Navigon, and Pioneer each launched new PNDs in the first half of 2010. Garmin’s nuvi 3700 series devices, with their ultra-thin screens and dual-orientation, have performed particularly well.

QNX Software and Freescale

QNX Software announced that its QNX CAR Application Platform now supports Freescale Semiconductor's i.MX applications processors for automotive. The collaboration will help speed time-to-market for customers and support infotainment systems with sophisticated graphics and connectivity features. The QNX CAR Application Platform provides automakers and suppliers with pre-assembled reference implementations designed to reduce the risk and cost of building sophisticated in-car infotainment systems. i.MX processors are designed to enable both consumer electronics user experiences and advanced device connectivity in the automotive environment.

FleetMatics and SageQuest

FleetMatics and SageQuest completed a merger agreement to create a new global software-as-a-service company for vehicle management solutions. FleetMatics agreed to acquire 100 percent of the outstanding shares of SageQuest, creating a combined new entity. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed, but Jim Travers, CEO of FleetMatics, said that with this acquisition of SageQuest, “FleetMatics will extend our ability to deliver the best-in-class products and services to fleets of all sizes. It
is the strength of our combined products and services, as well as our reputation as superior service providers, that compelled this combination to happen.”

Andrew Tolve is a regular contributor to TU.

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