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Automotive market rapidly expanding beyond hands-free calling

The automotive industry is a steadily growing market for Bluetooth® technology, with Bluetooth enabled hands-free calling systems now included as standard equipment on millions of new cars and trucks. All 12 of the world's major car manufacturers offer Bluetooth hands-free calling systems in their vehicles.

Safety concerns and new hands-free driving laws spurred the explosion in hands-free calling systems. Millions of consumers now look for hands-free calling systems when they shop for a new car, and millions more added hands-free calling by purchasing Bluetooth speakerphones that clip to their car's visor—one of the simplest, lowest-cost, hands-free calling systems available.

Many more drivers still use the original hands-free calling device—a Bluetooth headset—to keep their hands on the wheel while driving.

By 2013, electronics are likely to form 30 percent of the cost of a car, providing limitless opportunities for Bluetooth integration for hands-free communication, in-car entertainment systems, navigation and remote car diagnostics"

-- TechNavio

MusicInfotainment on the go

Now that so many drivers experience the convenience of hands-free calling, they also want to listen to music and podcasts in their car without the hassle of wires.

Being able to connect the car's audio system to a Bluetooth enabled device gives drivers freedom to listen to whatever they want, whenever they want.

Applications on a car entertainment systemApplications in the car? Why not?

Smartphones are the hub of consumer's lives, and in the car, do much more than just let consumers talk and listen to music while driving. It can also run apps on the flat-panel display in the car. Apps help navigate, check traffic, view weather reports, look up movie and restaurant information, and perform other tasks to improve the driving experience.

Automakers are getting involved in the effort to get smartphone apps running in the car. For example, Toyota and Hyundai offer new Bluetooth enabled systems for smartphone apps in the car, and Ford is aggressively pursuing the app market with its Bluetooth enabled Ford Sync system.

Consumer electronics makers also getting involved

Even consumer electronics makers such as Pioneer and Sony are getting in on the apps-in-the-car market, adding the ability to connect phones to their latest car receivers. These systems allow drivers to run apps they might find useful while driving, sending information from their phone to their car's flat-panel display and audio system. These apps are helpful to drivers like locating the cheapest gas or playing of streamed music over the Internet via the phone on long road trips.

New phone apps are emerging that communicate wirelessly with a car to monitor and diagnose its mechanical and electrical systems. Automakers like this because adding wireless sensors to cars helps them eliminate copper wires, thereby reducing vehicle weight, improving fuel economy, and lowering manufacturing costs.

Handsfree calling controls  

Even more uses for Bluetooth technology in the car

The ability to make hands-free calls is included in many different devices consumers use in the car - not just factory installed hands-free calling systems.

For example, many car navigation systems now include Bluetooth hands-free calling. This includes the small, affordable navigation devices consumers can mount on the windshield if the car lacks an integrated navigation system. This added hands-free calling capability gives portable navigation devices benefits beyond just maps and navigation.

Bluetooth enabled tablets also prove popular in the car. It's no secret that the iPad and other tablets are extremely popular. Just like mobile phones, virtually all tablets include Bluetooth technology. Many drivers want to pair their tablet with a Bluetooth audio system in their car, to play music and podcasts over their car's speakers - even run apps in their car. Just as consumers enjoy connecting their phone in their car without wires, they'll want to wirelessly connect their tablet.

Hands-free calling, music, and smartphone apps are the three of the most obvious uses for Bluetooth technology in the car, but carmakers are testing other possible future uses. For example, Ford is exploring Bluetooth enabled systems that monitor a person's vital signs while driving.

Now is the time to get involved and establish a foothold in the automotive market for Bluetooth products, as it expands far beyond just hands-free calling.

Fast facts about the automotive market for Bluetooth products

  • All 12 of the world's major car manufacturers offer Bluetooth enabled hands-free calling systems in their vehicles
  • There are 10-15 different ways to use Bluetooth technology in the car, including hands-free calling, music streaming, PC and tablet tethering, navigation, proximity sensors, entertainment systems and car diagnostics

How to profit from this market

The Bluetooth SIG helps companies like yours benefit from opportunities in the automotive market. Get started by joining the Bluetooth SIG community. We have more than 25,000 member companies worldwide making everything from cars and computers to mobile phones and microchips. To learn more, visit our membership page.

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