Fast Company

Nokia Leads Ride Pimping Initiative With Apps, Smartphones, NFC, Wireless Charging

Tesla

Nokia and a long list of car and consumer electronics firms just agreed to form the Car Connectivity Consortium--a global effort to harmonize the electronic magic that will power your future car, and which would fill K.I.T.T. with envy. [Ed: And Kit]

According to the press release, the newly minted Car Connectivity Consortium is an "open alliance focusing on cross industry contribution" that will release its first specification "within the next few months" with some of the "first commercial products" due later this year. But what exactly is it they're aiming at? It's exactly the kind of car-to-portable electronics standard that's needed to give us the same kind of super-clever car entertainment, navigation and information systems that we dream of from watching too much sci-fi.

Specifically it's all about connecting "high-performing mobile devices to vehicle-based systems" so that there's "new opportunities for business" and a "world of innovative applications for consumers."

Essentially, Nokia knows that future cars--be they EV editions, or next-gen conventional vehicles--will be rammed full of smart displays, in-car computer and wireless broadband powers, and that consumers would like their pocket-sized computers (smartphones, in other words) to interact with them all. Hence the Consortium is all about tightly connecting "in-car systems such as digital displays, steering wheel buttons, rotary knobs and car audio systems." In particular, there's a system dubbed Terminal Mode based upon established systems like IP, USB and Bluetooth, that could let consumers control their mobile devices via in-car systems for the purposes of convenience and safety.

Along with Nokia, Daimler, GM, Honda, Hyundai, Toyota, Volkswagen, Alpine, Panasonic, LG, and Samsung are involved--but it's an open consortium, so "further leading industry players will join over the coming weeks." It's an open question whether Apple and Google (two huge players in this market who're starkly missing from the initial list) will be among the latecomers.

Best of all among the plans, the Consortium hints that wireless charging for mobile devices is on the cards, and NFC too--which could have a host of uses from electronic "keys," to individual ID for automated seat-and-mirror adjustments, to automated data sharing between navigation apps in smartphones and in-car systems. BMW recently revealed its NFC car-key plans, which hints at some of the functionality the CCC may end up designing, and the exciting possibilities that NFC offers could well tempt Apple and Google to play along with their competitors. And to imagine the sort of super-smart in-car systems that may well result, take a glance at the recent news about the Tesla S EV which, it's just been revealed, will support third party app integration into its huge 17-inch multitouch system.

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