New York Auto Show Highlights a Changing Car Culture

1 - New York Auto Show Highlights a Changing Car Culture
2 - At the New York Auto Show, a Changing Car Culture
3 - The Connected Car by Volvo
4 - Internet at the Push of a Button
5 - Automaker App Stores
6 - The Apps Are New, Not the Data
7 - Ford Sync
8 - Using Apps to Keep Cars on the Road
9 - The Dodge Challenger
10 - What's Worth Boasting About
11 - Smartphone, Meet Smart Car
12 - Millennials Behind the Wheel
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New York Auto Show Highlights a Changing Car Culture

by Michelle Maisto

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At the New York Auto Show, a Changing Car Culture

Many of the old tactics for selling and displaying a car still apply. Speed, fuel efficiency and good looks all matter. But increasingly, so will the wireless modules under the hood (as it were). The technology on board, says AT&T's Lurie, "is going to be one of the reasons people decide whether to buy or not buy a car."

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The Connected Car by Volvo

AT&T was at the auto show to talk about its newest customer win. Volvo's 2015 vehicles (arriving around May, said one person on the Volvo show floor) will be wirelessly enabled via AT&T's networks. Whether that means HSPA+, LTE or both hasn't been decided.

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Internet at the Push of a Button

Inside the connected Volvos, pressing a button with a world/Earth icon (to the right of the keypad) pulls up the Internet on the car's in-dash touch screen. When the vehicle is moving, Internet capabilities are disabled.

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Automaker App Stores

Automakers will eventually host their own app stores for customers. General Motors, for example, has said most 2015 Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac models will have app store access this summer. The AT&T-connected Volvo, however, will ship with about 15 apps but, at least for now, no option for downloading more.

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The Apps Are New, Not the Data

Most people's first experience with in-car access to a cellular connection was with GM's OnStar. Volvo offers something similar, with OnCall, which is accessible via a mobile app. Car makers and carriers are still figuring out the details around connecting cars to data plans. (OnStar was sold as a service—not as data use.) This summer, AT&T will begin allowing subscribers to add cars to their data plans as easily as a new tablet.

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Ford Sync

Ford recently pushed out an update of its MyFord Touch software to drivers. While Sync comes in different flavors, Sync with MyFord Touch offers hands-free calling (drivers can say a name to place a call), voice-activated radio tuning, 911 Assist for roadside assistance and WiFi connectivity.

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Using Apps to Keep Cars on the Road

At last year's New York Auto Show, Ford launched an app developer program and announced a Fuel-Efficiency App Challenge. Shown here is the 2015 Focus Electric.

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The Dodge Challenger

Encountering the 2015 Dodge Challenger, Internet connectivity won't be most people's first thought. But the car does feature an 8.4-inch Uconnect infotainment system. Up to 10 Bluetooth-enabled devices can connect to Uconnect, which can turn the car into a hotspot and give a driver voice control over the radio, digital media storage players and any connected phones.

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What's Worth Boasting About

Dodge, in a sign beside its new Durango, states that it's "one of the most technologically advanced SUVs on the market." In the headline, its tech prowess received higher billing than "fuel-efficient" and "powerful."

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Smartphone, Meet Smart Car

Nissan offers its NissanConnect app in the Apple App Store and Google Play. With the app, drivers can connect their cars to applications such as Pandora, iHeartRadio and Google Search. In 2014 models, Nissan began offering features like hands-free texting using voice recognition.

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Millennials Behind the Wheel

With automakers using social networks such as Instagram and Twitter to attract young drivers, in-car connectivity is no longer an option. "We're seeing 30, 40 percent of people saying they're going to choose a car that's connected," AT&T's Lurie told eWEEK. "This is now here." (Pictured is the 2015 Scion FR-S.)

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