Cars: There’s an app for that

Suw and I are taking two weeks off. Most of the time, we’ll be here in London enjoying a holi-stay. I might engage in some deep-thought blogging after recovering from a really too busy 2009. In the meantime, I’ll just engage in a little light coolhunting.

Someone recently was picking my brain about the future of in-car technology. I think that one of the knock-on effects of the iPhone is that people will expect apps and add-on services in a wider range of consumer electronics. Cars will not just have on-board computers to manage the engine but also on-board computers to navigate, entertain and inform much as we would expect in our home.

Hobbyists have already been adding these kind of systems to their cars for years, and Prius drivers love to hack their hybrid cars. High-end cars have complex environmental and entertainment systems, but we’re starting to glimpse how these activities will filter into the mainstream.

Satellite radio services in the US have been using some of their surplus bandwidth to provide information services, and with 4G data services such as WiMax and LTE service expanding in the next few years, mobile data will provide the kind of bandwidth that we’ve previously thought of as restricted to DSL and cable. Faster wireless connections will bring new forms of entertainment, expand the use of web services and provide new opportunities for information providers.

GigaOm has a great post on a prototype system in a Prius.

As a journalist, the question is whether news organisations will let another opportunity slip by them.