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Livio Aims to Put 1000s of Smartphone Apps into Every Car

New system would simplify process of adding new apps to systems like Ford Sync or NissanConnect.

by on Apr.18, 2012

Motorists are demanding access to smartphone apps like Pandora as they drive.

Long gone are days when drivers had to settle for scratchy AM radio on their daily commutes. It’s hard to find a new model in showrooms, these days, not equipped with FM, a CD changer, perhaps a hard drive and, more and more frequently, a system like Ford’s popular Sync that links to various smartphone applications to let them play through the vehicle’s speakers.

In fact, manufacturers have been racing to line up “app” partners, notably the Pandora music system and Stitcher news service, seeing a competitive advantage in the number they can offer customers.  But that’s not always easy.  It can require a significant amount of engineering resources to get an app and a system like Sync, the Mercedes-Benz mbrace2, or the new NissanConnect to work with one another.

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But a small start-up from the Detroit suburb of Ferndale believes it may have the answer.  Called Livio, it wants to position itself as a sort of software middleman.  Technology it has developed could simplify the process of connecting app to car – permitting motorists to access literally thousands of smartphone services, from music to social networking.

“My focus is to get apps into cars,” says Jake Sigal, the founder and CEO of Livio, which operates out of a small, one-story building about 10 miles north of the Detroit riverfront.


Can Chevy MyLink Sink Ford Sync?

And what will it mean for OnStar?

by on Feb.18, 2011

Chevy will launch the new MyLink infotainment system on the 2012 Volt and Equinox models.

Chevrolet is about to become the next automaker to take aim at Ford Motor Co.’s well-reviewed Sync infotainment system.

The new Chevy MyLink will go into production on several 2012 models and expand from there, the maker says, offering an array of voice-activated services, including the ability to access music through web services like Pandora.

The Chevy MyLink system adds to the array of services already offered by General Motors’ OnStar system, which is more focused on safety and security, but also provides navigation and so-called concierge features for a monthly charge.

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While Chevy’s corporate parent was an early participant in onboard technology, through OnStar, industry analysts contend the maker fell behind because of its focus on generating monthly revenues.  Ford, however, developed a strong following for Sync because it does not require a fee – though it also doesn’t offer some of the features of OnStar, such as the ability to reach a human operator for emergency assistance.