General Motors just announced a flexible application framework that marks the automaker’s entry into the world of in-vehicle apps for infotainment systems. The development, announced at the Consumer Electronics Show, will allow drivers to add apps and features to their vehicles after the initial purchase, thereby allowing vehicle infotainment systems to improve over time.
Integrated into new infotainment systems “debuting in select 2014 model year vehicles”, the implementation of the apps will be conducted through a catalog allowing vehicle owners to choose from a menu of available applications designed for the vehicle.
GM showed off apps from four potential partners for the new app catalog, including iHeartRadio, TuneIn, Slacker and The Weather Channel. The catalog is not yet available on GM vehicles and is expected to grow as the automaker launches the initiative.
“There will be a category of apps that will be unique to our cars and very different from what people use today on their smartphones or tablets,” said GM Chief Infotainment Officer Phil Abram. “It’s not just taking phone apps and making them function in a car, which most car companies do in some form now. Instead, GM may approve applications that stem from vehicle ownership. For example, customers can choose to download applications that assist them in driving more safely or in a more fuel efficient manner, possibly decreasing the costs of vehicle ownership.”
“GM customers will soon be able to personalize and update the apps in their vehicles,” said Abram, “compared to today, when you purchase a vehicle and the infotainment features are fixed and remain the same throughout the ownership experience.”
To support the development of in-vehicle apps for the app catalog, General Motors is offering tools for app developers, including a software development kit (SDK). The automaker is requiring developers to submit apps for its approval before making them available in the in-vehicle app catalog.
In 2012, GM Authority exclusively reported that General Motors filed for the following trademarks: Chevrolet App Shop, Buick App Shop, and GMC App Shop. In addition, GM Authority was first to report that Cadillac’s CUE will gain app functionality.