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  • 14 Nov 2011 9:04 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Monday, November 14, 2011 -- Woodland Hills, Calif. – Location-based mobile coupon app Yowza!! announced its participation in the second annual Small Business Saturday on Nov. 26. Yowza!! is supporting the Small Business Saturday Coalition by offering two free months of service followed by a 50 percent discounted monthly rate to the first 15,000 merchants who join by that date. Small Business Saturday is a day for dedicating a portion of holiday shopping to local, independently owned small businesses.

    American Express, founding partner of Small Business Saturday, is gearing up for the second annual event that is built on last year’s inaugural program. Last year, small businesses saw a 28-percent increase in sales on American Express Cards on Small Business Saturday compared to the Saturday after Thanksgiving in 2009.1

    Yowza!! recognizes the importance of small businesses throughout North America, the jobs they help create and the culture they instill in local communities. As of 2007, small businesses had generated 64 percent of net new jobs in the previous 15 years and employed just over half of all private-sector employees, according to the Small Business Administration.

    “We are proud to have Yowza!! join the Small Business Saturday Coalition,” said Mary Ann Fitzmaurice, senior vice-president, American Express OPEN. “It is critical that we get as many supporters onboard as possible to generate demand for local small businesses this holiday season and beyond.”

    “Yowza!! is pleased to team with American Express to support the Small Business Saturday Coalition. Coupons have always been a sales driver for small businesses, and mobile coupons have proven to be 10 times more effective than traditional coupons. With Yowza!!, merchants can post offers in seconds and reach consumers when they are on the go and looking to spend money,” said David Teichner, CEO, Yowza!! “We believe it’s critical to support local businesses this holiday season and encourage others to do the same.”

    Social media will play a central role in helping raise awareness about the importance of supporting small businesses and recognizing Small Business Saturday as a day to Shop SmallSM. The Small Business Saturday Coalition will be driving consumers and business owners to facebook.com/ShopSmall where they can participate in many ways, including:

    • American Express is giving a one-time $25 statement credit to Cardmembers who register their eligible American Express® Card for the Small Business Saturday offer and use their registered Card to spend $25 or more at a small business on Nov. 26.
    • Small business owners can go to facebook.com/ShopSmall to download online promotional materials that will help them drive sales to their business on Small Business Saturday.
    • People can spread the word about the day and their favorite businesses by giving a shout-out to their favorite local shops and restaurants via Facebook and Twitter.
  • 11 Nov 2011 6:08 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    http://social.telematicsupdate.com/infotainment/telematics-and-cloud-4-keys-car-offerings

    Guy Story, Audible’s chief technology officer and chief scientist, talks to TU’s Andrew Tolve about harnessing the power of the cloud in the vehicle

    The past few months have been good ones for the cloud, as more OEMs commit to the concept of streaming Internet-based services and offerings into the vehicle. In May, for example, Toyota announced a partnership with Microsoft to develop a cloud-based platform for future Toyota vehicles.

    In October, Mercedes unveiled @yourCOMAND, a comprehensive cloud-based system and the future face of its telematics strategy.


    As these solutions suggest, with the proper platforms, an array of products and services can be streamed into a vehicle and kept current with simple app updates, thereby decoupling in-car services from established vehicle development cycles.

    In the minds of some, telematics and the cloud are soon to become inseparable.


    “There’s no turning back,” says Guy Story, chief technology officer and chief scientist at Audible. “The cloud is part of the user experience in much of what people do these days. The ship has left the dock.”


    At the same time, figuring out how the cloud will be present in vehicles is still very much up in the air.

    While some companies have pioneered embedded solutions, others are wary of opening up their systems and potentially compromising security, regulatory compliance, and governance issues.


    The need for enough bandwidth to host cloud-based solutions is another challenge. “We’re in the early stages,” concedes Story, “when all these different ideas are colliding. The industry is poised to really get going, but it hasn’t fully happened yet.”
    In his opinion, the following four topics will be key to harnessing the cloud in the vehicle.


    1. Phone doesn’t equal car
    In the early stages the smartphone has been a great test model for how wireless data connectivity can operate within a vehicle.

    Indeed, Audible, which sells audio books online, has reached its primary marketundefineddrivers listening to books while they driveundefinedvia smartphones and digital solutions like the iPad.


    Ultimately, however, these solutions aren’t native to the vehicle and therefore lack the seamlessness Story believes drivers want. As he puts it, “My phone is not my car and my car is not my phone.

    As a content provider, I want to develop to a car platform that I know is in the vehicle. It’s a simple, easy model when I can talk directly to the car.”

    (For more on smartphones, see Telematics and the ‘built-in’ vs. ‘brought-in’ debate, Telematics, smartphones and the future of connected infotainment and Six reasons the smartphone is key to auto telematics; to learn more about smartphone integration, read TU’s In-Vehicle Smartphone Integration Report.)


    2. Embracing dynamism
    One of the most alluring aspects of cloud computing is that it can ensure in-car offerings remain viable throughout the car lifecycle.

    This is an important point when you consider that OEMs often balk at in-car offerings because they’re worried that they will be outdated by the time new cars hit the market, let alone by the time their warranties run out.


    “There needs to be some way that platforms can persist over time,” says Story, “and the concept of updating apps and functionality in the vehicle by way of the cloud is one of the most elegant ways to deliver on this.”


    Of course, yielding control of the in-car environment is often anathema to OEMs, due to safety, compliance, or data management reasons.

    Therefore, figuring out who manages in-vehicle platforms and to what degree content providers can leverage them is critical in the coming few years.


    “You certainly don’t want the embedded system of a car to interfere with safety,” says Story.“These are things I think we can figure out, and I don’t see them as at odds with the idea of being able to update things more frequently.”


    3. Ensuring consistency
    As nice as a fast-flowing, constantly connected cloud sounds, the reality is that connections these days are rarely constant, downloads often take way too long, and bandwidth is a major problem.

    Story points out that if you’re deeply engrossed in a great novel, it’s pretty enraging if you miss the final line of a chapter or the climax of plot. “You can’t miss part of a story,” he says, “and off-line playback can be a challenge.”


    Content providers can work around those limitations, he says, but ultimately for drivers to be content with cloud-based solutions, OEMs and providers need to figure out how to ensure a higher level of consistency.


    That extends to the look of interfaces as well, Story believes. Audible is a product, a brand, and something that ideally will look the same no matter the make or model of the vehicle in which it’s displayed.

    “I’ll stop short of saying we need the same platform across the board,” he says, “but a certain level of consistency needs to be there.”


    4. Improving collaboration
    Delivering the cloud to the vehicle is not a question of technology. The technology is there. What’s often missing is an open dialogue among OEMs, telecoms, and content and service providers.

    Aligning goals or at least starting to communicate in the same language is a final key. “By and large, this is a matter of coming up with the right model of collaboration,” says Story.

    “Partnerships and cross-industry business models will enable it all to happen.”
    Story contends that once the various stakeholders align themselves, it will unleash a second wave of innovation:

    “When we’re able to overcome the challenges and work in tandem, we’ll begin to think about even more innovative ways to work with the car. As a result, it’ll become a first-class citizen of the Internet.”

    Andrew Tolve is a regular contributor to TU.

    For more all the latest telematics trends, join the sector’s other key players at Content & Apps for Automotive USA 2011 on Nov 29-30 in San Diego.

  • 10 Nov 2011 6:06 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Thursday, November 10, 2011 -- Chatsworth, Calif. – Precision Interface Electronics (PIE), designer and manufacturer of OEM-grade interfaces that bring the portable music experience to the vehicle, announced that its participation in the 2011 Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) show fulfilled the company’s mission of a strong introduction of its new IPH product line.

    PIE displayed its new interfaces that enable charging, playback and track / playlist control of an iPod or iPhone while connected to the factory audio system in late-model Honda and Acura vehicles, as well as the Toyota, Scion and Lexus brands.

    The HON03-IPH fits select 2003-2011 Honda and Acura vehicles, and maintains compatibility with add-on factory options, such as XM Satellite Radio, a DVD player or USB port. The TOY03-IPH works with applicable Toyota, Lexus and Scion vehicles built between 2003 and 2011. It also works with factory add-ons, but it will replace the factory external (not internal) 6 CD changer if the vehicle is equipped with one. Sharing the same feature set, the TOY-IPH rounds out the Toyota and Lexus applications, fitting select vehicles from 1998 through 2005. All three models sport a new gold logo and blue status LED, and come in freshly styled blister packaging to display on the showroom accessory wall.

    “We are extremely pleased with the turnout at SEMA,” said Kevin Allen, national sales manager. “Our IPH line has been highly anticipated by our dealers and distributors. We’ve already begun shipping these first three models, and we look forward to strong sell-through for the holiday season.”

    In anticipation of a robust fourth quarter, PIE has also enhanced its sales team. Karen Aceituno will help develop and grow the company’s sales infrastructure in South America, as well as assist in select territories throughout Southern California, New York and Philadelphia. Aceituno brings a varied background to the team, including retail sales of wireless devices and accessories with AT&T and Verizon. She will operate from PIE’s headquarters in Chatsworth.

    “Karen is a perfect fit for our team,” continued Allen. “In addition to being bilingual, which is a necessity for our international efforts, she is extremely personable and a quick learner. She is already making an impact with our customer base, both domestically and abroad.”

    About Precision Interface Electronics

    Celebrating more than 20 years in the mobile electronics industry, Precision Interface Electronics builds and distributes the world’s best cables and interfaces. An established Tier 2 manufacturer with ISO-9001 certification and an Apple ® Licensee, PIE owns its own production facility in Jiashan County, Zhejiang Province, China, which enables it to employ quality control measures that meet the highest standards of product manufacturing.

    For more information about PIE’s new IPH interfaces, call (800) 526-8590 or visit pie.net.

  • 10 Nov 2011 6:04 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Thursday, November 10, 2011 -- Pioneer Corp. announced consolidated net sales declined 1.1 percent for the second quarter of fiscal 2012, the three months ended Sept. 30, from the same period in fiscal 2011. Although car navigation systems showed strong sales in Japan, the Japanese yen's appreciation against the U.S. dollar, combined with lower sales of optical disc drive-related products and a decline in car audio sales, mainly at the OEM business as a result of the Great East Japan Earthquake, resulted in an overall decline.

    Although gross profit decreased as a result of a decrease in net sales, Pioneer recorded a 17.4 percent increase in operating income from the second quarter of fiscal 2011, to 5,050 million yen, thanks to reductions in selling, general and administrative (SG&A) expenses. Net income declined 82.8%, to 1,212 million yen. Net income in the second quarter of fiscal 2011 included a gain on the sale of the company's former head office and other assets.

    During the second quarter of fiscal 2012, the average value of the Japanese yen appreciated 10.3 percent against the U.S. dollar, and was almost unchanged against the euro, compared with the second quarter of fiscal 2011.

    Car Electronics

    Car Electronics sales increased 10.8 percent year on year, to 70,805 million yen, despite the negative impact of the Japanese yen's appreciation. In car navigation systems, consumer-market sales rose, due to very strong sales in Japan. OEM sales grew as well, because of an increase in dealer option sales in Japan. In car audio products, consumer market sales declined overall despite an increase in Europe. This drop in sales reflected a decline in Central and South America due to a delay in the introduction of new models as a result of the earthquake. OEM sales also declined, on lower sales in China and North America, from lower OEM orders owing to the earthquake. OEM sales accounted for 42 percent of total Car Electronics sales, compared with 45 percent in the second quarter of fiscal 2011.

    By geographic region, sales in Japan increased 32.2 percent, to 36,591 million yen, while overseas sales declined 5.6%, to 34,214 million yen. Operating income in this segment declined 1.9% due to an increase in SG&A expenses, combined with the effects of the earthquake, while gross profit rose, in line with an increase in sales, to 3,613 million yen.

  • 08 Nov 2011 6:07 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Tuesday, November 08, 2011 -- Industry forecaster IHS has released market statistics that claim global sales of high-end car audio systems are heading for 7.9 million units in 2011, up 14 percent over 2010.

    IHS predicts that the market will continue the upward climb, reaching 13.3 million units by 2015, explaining the growth will come from “the rapid spread of premium sound systems in mid-market cars,” the Wall Street Journal reported.

    "While many automotive infotainment functions are migrating out of built-in car electronic systems and into portable devices like smartphones, music remains a basic feature that all vehicles must have," Mark Boyadjis, senior analyst and regional manager for automotive electronics research at HIS, was quoted in WSJ. "This means that audio systems that can produce high-quality sound will continue to be in demand."

  • 08 Nov 2011 6:07 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Tuesday, November 08, 2011 -- Vizualogic introduced its newest integration product, the SmartLogic brand of Android headrest monitors, at SEMA and announced that the full-color, 7-inch touch screen devices running the Android 2.3 Gingerbread operating system will be shipping to retailers in the first quarter of 2012. The monitors are touted as being able to give rear-seat passengers the ability to pull up apps such as Netflix, email and music, accessible via cloud computing whenever connected to the Internet. Bluetooth, USB, SD card and HDMI compatibility is standard.

    The monitors didn’t right away impress CNET automotive equipment critic Antuan Goodwin. In a CNET report, he raised the question of why an older version of Android was used in the prototypes demonstrated at SEMA, as opposed to Honeycomb or Ice Cream Sandwich versions of the Android OS.

    He writes that despite Vizualogic’s assurances that “the unit would be updated to version 3.1 or better by the time it reaches production … I'm guessing that the real reason Gingerbread 2.3 was chosen was because the hardware specs aren't very impressive.” Goodwin writes, “I’m guessing that the real reason Gingerbread 2.3 was chosen was because the hardware specs aren’t very impressive.” Goodwin describes the specs as “1GHz single-core processor of unknown origin, 512MB of RAM, and 4GB of internal storage.”

    Further, Goodwin’s review of the unit “found that performance was rather sluggish and even frozen at one point.” Still, because CNET was “informed that the unit on display was a preproduction version,” he added he was “reserving judgment until the Vizualogic Android Headrest Monitors hit 12-volt retailers in the first quarter of 2012 for somewhere around $1,400 for a pair.”

  • 08 Nov 2011 6:06 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Tuesday, November 08, 2011 -- Arlington, Va. – The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) announced today its 2012 International CES Best of Innovations Design and Engineering Award Honorees. The International CES Innovations Awards honor outstanding design and engineering advancements across 32 consumer electronics product categories, including two new trend-focused categories: Tablets, e-Readers, & Netbooks, and Software & Mobile Apps.

    "We saw a ten percent increase in Innovations Award entries this year, which highlights the honor and prestige associated with these awards and the robust innovation within the CE industry," said Karen Chupka, senior vice president, events and conferences, CEA. "We congratulate all finalists for their design and engineering expertise."

    The Best of Innovations honor is awarded to the products with the highest judges' scores and will be featured in the Innovations Design and Engineering Showcase at the 2012 International CES. Honorees will also be displayed at CES Unveiled: the Official Press Event of the International CES from 4-7 p.m. on Sunday, January 8 in the Venetian Ballroom of the Venetian. The 2012 International CES, the world's largest consumer technology tradeshow is scheduled to run January 10-13, 2012.

    Entries for The Best of Innovations are judged on overall engineering qualities related to technical specifications and materials, aesthetics and design qualities, the product’s intended use and function, unique features and how the design and innovation of the product compares to others in the marketplace.

    The Best of Innovations Honorees for 2012 are:

    Computer Accessories

    Plantronics
    Calisto 835

    Digital Imaging

    Lytro
    Lytro Light Field Camera

    Eco-Design & Sustainable Technologies Nest Labs
    Nest Learning Thermostat

    Gaming Hardware & Accessories

    Razer
    Razer Blade

    Headphones

    Sonomax Technologies, Inc.
    eers™ Custom-Fitted Earphones

    Health & Wellness

    Basis
    Basis Band

    High Performance Home Audio

    Devialet
    D-Premier

    Home Networking

    Wi3
    WiPNET

    Integrated Home Systems

    2D2C, Inc.
    SafePlug Electrical Receptacles

    Home Theater Speakers

    Reality Design Pty Ltd
    SonicBlade

    Personal Electronics

    Libratone
    Libratone Live

    Major Home Appliances

    LG Electronics USA
    Refrigerator with Blast Chiller Technology

    Portable Multimedia Accessories

    Belkin
    Kitchen Cabinet Mount

    Portable Power

    Audiovox Corporation
    RCA USB Wall Plate Charger

    NEW! Software & Mobile Apps

    Ford Motor Company
    MyFord Mobile

    NEW! Tablets, E-Readers & Netbooks

    Sony
    Sony Tablet S1

    Wireless Handsets

    T-Mobile
    HTC Amaze 4G

  • 08 Nov 2011 6:01 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Tuesday, November 08, 2011 -- West Chester, Ohio – ESCORT Inc., the leading manufacturer of premium automotive electronic accessories and maker of the world's best radar and laser detectors, held the world-wide release of its patented ESCORT Live™ Ticket Protection Network, the revolutionary radar and laser ticket protection network, at the 2011 Specialty Equipment Manufacturer's Association (SEMA) show in Las Vegas last week. During the course of the show, ESCORT Live™ was awarded three significant awards including 'Best New Product' SEMA Show, Popular Mechanics 'Editor's Choice' Award for Best New Product and a 2011 SEMA Show 'Global Media Winner.' The new ESCORT Live™ technology has been dominating show coverage for the mobile electronics category.

    ESCORT Live™ won the 2011 SEMA Global Media Award, which honors products based on their potential impact and commercial success, upon review of its success and show publicity during the weeklong event. The show week began with ESCORT Live™ being named 'Best New Product' within the mobile electronics category, followed on the day with the announcement by Popular Mechanics, from the SEMA Show, the they had declared ESCORT Live™ one of their selected Editor's Choice, Best New Product winner in addition to the earlier, major announcement by SEMA. Nearly 2,000 vendors and manufacturers submitted more than several thousand new products at the event. For the Global Media Award, a judging panel of 26 journalists from 16 countries chose a select few products including the new ESCORT Live™. "We are extremely excited to be chosen by SEMA, Popular Mechanics and now these influential and respected journalists from around the world," said John Larson, ESCORT President and CEO. "There is nothing else in the world that offers safety and threat protection like our new ESCORT Live™ technology. We believe – and the experts and the media are confirming this – that ESCORT Live™ is the ultimate social driving network."

    "The entire ESCORT team is honored to receive these three awards for our history of industry-leading premium automotive accessories," said ESCORT Vice President of Marketing Dave Smidebush. "This is one more award that demonstrates just how truly revolutionary our new ESCORT Live™ network is and how, as a social network for the road, will help drivers to drive smarter."

    ESCORT Live™ delivers revolutionary radar and laser ticket protection by using real-time, cloud-based threat and information sharing among millions of drivers just like you.

    Imagine you are driving to work or school, or in an unfamiliar area, where ticketing threats prowl, especially those out of visible range. What if you could track oncoming threats, or know where mobile ticketing vans are miles before they see you? ESCORT Live™, uses the eyes and alerts of 'scout' drivers connected with their smartphone ESCORT Live™ app to help you accurately know where ticket threats are … even before you leave your parking lot!

    The result is social networking for the road – ESCORT Live™ allows you to know sooner, react faster, share important information and help you Drive Smarter.

    ESCORT Live™ works with ESCORT's class leading windshield mount radar detectors (and BELTRONICS Pro Series radar detectors) by simply replacing the power cord with ESCORT's new Bluetooth enabled SmartCord Live power cord and the free ESCORT Live app downloaded to your smartphone (iPhone 3GS and 4, OS 4.1, and Droid OS 2.2 or later). When combined, ESCORT Live™ delivers the world's most advanced real time radar and laser ticket protection.

    ESCORT Live™ includes ESCORT's test winning Defender Database which provides the most accurate speed camera, red light camera and speed trap information, alerting you in advance so that you can safely navigate high threat locations. Also, ESCORT Live™ includes ESCORT's patented GPS features including Truelock which uses the power of location awareness and the ESCORT Live™ network to let you identify and then permanently lock out known false alert sources. ESCORT Live™ also provides drivers with the posted speed limit, their driving speed and even alerts when the speed limit changes.

    The key to the ESCORT Live™ community is real-time national reach and scale, and the fact that it is ready to work with more than one million current ESCORT and BELTRONICS models in use today. Multiply this data gathering and sharing process by millions of miles and driving hours and the result is a nation of protected ESCORT Live™ drivers.

    "Following an ESCORT Live™ driver yields excellent information about what lies ahead because the first vehicle's alerts are seamlessly transmitted to other cars equipped with the ESCORT Live app," says Larson.

    "Our radar detector products have always provided drivers with the highest level of ticket protection in the marketplace," Larson added. "Now, with ESCORT Live, ESCORT drivers don't need to be in the range of the threat, they just need to be in the network."

  • 08 Nov 2011 6:01 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Tuesday, November 08, 2011 -- Richard Branson is among the new investors in Square Inc., which is behind is Square, the company revolutionizing transactions between buyers and sellers, according to an announcement on Branson’s Virgin.com. Square recently closed a $100 million Series-C financing round.

    Founded in 2010, Square has shipped over 800,000 card readers to merchants and is currently processing over $2 billion in payments annually. While currently focused on its U.S. growth, the company plans to offer Square in international markets in 2012.

    Richard Branson took interest in Square's rapid growth and novel technology, in particular its free hardware that allows anyone to accept credit card payments anywhere, anytime. "I’m very passionate about helping people start and grow successful businesses, and Square is an incredible technology that inspires and empowers everyone to be an entrepreneur," he said.

    Square launched in 2010 as an innovative way for individuals and businesses to accept credit card payments on their mobile devices. The company distributes an elegant and easy-to-use card reader and mobile application, which has seen widespread adoption.

  • 07 Nov 2011 6:03 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Monday, November 07, 2011 -- Olathe, Kan. – HushMat, maker of automotive sound deadening and thermal insulation material, introduced an innovative in-store merchandising concept at SEMA that integrates QR codes into four automotive market-focused posters for the Hot Rod and Restoration, Performance, Car Audio and Heavy Truck markets.

    “Automotive retail centers have a difficult time handling information for the thousands of products in their stores and HushMat is an emerging and growing line,” said HushMat founder Tim McCarthy. “HushMat provides easy to understand, Silent Salesperson merchandising poster to quickly inform the retail consumers and provides the counterperson or floor salesperson a QR cod, which plays a short but very informative video directed to that customer.”

    HushMat’s is promoting the concept through its wholesale distribution and retail partners as part of a strategy to offer innovative tools and techniques to increase consumer awareness products. “We want to provide a quick and easy way to use reference for the HushMat salesperson right on the sales floor without having to leave the customer to find product information,” McCarthy said.

 

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