Motorola reinvents the radio... again...

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From: Adam Rifkin -4K (
Date: Sun Aug 06 2000 - 15:27:57 PDT

"GM will also offer a Cadillac DeVille that has a screen capable of
downloading e-mail and doing limited Web browsing only while the car is
in park."

Dammit, why email "only while the car is in park"? I want email in reverse!!

> Car Radio of Future Arriving
> The Associated Press, Aug 6 2000 3:36PM ET
> CHICAGO (AP) - The traditional AM/FM car radio is going the way of the
> Victrola and the eight-track player.
> In fact, the company that pioneered radio in cars is one of many pushing
> to tune it out - pairing it with the Internet to provide a more useful,
> entertaining and plugged-in product.
> Motorola Inc.'s iRadio prototype and a truckload of competitors, most
> still a year or more away from the market, are bringing the Web to your car.
> ``We're reinventing a product we invented in 1929,'' says Brian Santoro,
> a vice president at Schaumburg, Ill.-based Motorola, whose name comes
> from ``motor car'' plus ``Victrola.'' ``It's our heritage, it's our DNA.''
> While Motorola is among the leaders in this emerging blockbuster
> category, it won't be first.
> Clarion Corp. of America claimed those honors last year when it came out
> with a souped-up car radio called Clarion AutoPC. Along with the usual
> radio and CD player, the voice-activated system offers personalized
> Internet data such as news headlines, sports scores and stock quotes
> along with e-mail, and can provide directions with a built-in global
> positioning system.
> Others are scrambling to come out with similar products.
> Among automakers, General Motors and its OnStar service will provide
> some Internet access in new versions of 32 of its 54 models this fall.
> GM will also offer a Cadillac DeVille that has a screen capable of
> downloading e-mail and doing limited Web browsing only while the car is
> in park.
> Not wanting to be left behind, Ford Motor Co. says it will have some
> sort of e-mail and Internet connection in the near future on some luxury
> models.
> The carmakers are betting that millions of drivers will be willing to
> pay as much as $30 a month for the Internet-access gadgets, which are
> expected to be standard equipment in all new cars by 2004 or 2005.
> Motorola is parlaying its roles as a longtime electronics supplier to
> automakers and that of the world's No. 2 cell-phone manufacturer into
> dominance in the burgeoning industry of telematics - wireless
> telecommunications in cars and trucks.
> Demand for Web-connected cars is projected to help triple the company's
> telematics sales to about $1 billion in the next three years. And
> iRadio, which is expected to be installed in luxury cars of the major
> carmakers by the end of 2001, is only the forerunner of bigger projects
> still on the drawing board.
> ``Telematics will be the next air bag in the auto industry,'' said
> Santoro. ``It's an enormous opportunity.''
> Unveiled last January at a consumer electronics show in Las Vegas,
> iRadio remains a tantalizing prototype that combines existing
> capabilities with a few new ones.
> A display model, hooked up in a Mercedes, gives a preview of next year's
> product while engineers tinker with the latest version in labs.
> After indicating their preferences on a Web site at home, drivers will
> be able to speak a single word and get - hopefully - instant results in the car.
> Say ``stocks'' and a robotic voice gives the latest Microsoft or
> Wal-Mart share price. Say ``traffic'' and get an update of conditions on
> your preprogrammed route.
> Drive into a new city and your computer will be automatically
> reprogrammed to indicate all rock FM stations.
> The quickest route, the closest gas station, the nearest Mexican
> restaurant, the next Marriott down the highway, sports scores of your
> favorite teams - all will be theoretically just a word away.
> Motorola, while still working out the kinks, says you will also be able
> to leave a voice-mail, hear your e-mails, send e-mail, page a customer
> or download audio books with the car computer system.
> Emergency information also will be available. Say ``hospital'' and you
> will see a screen display of the nearest medical facility; say ``nav''
> and get spoken directions on how to get there.
> The company is reluctant to talk about pricing at this stage, but
> industry estimates put the cost of iRadio models at between $1,000 and $3,000.
> Motorola has formed alliances with carmakers, IBM, technology start-ups
> and others as it tries to speed the product to market.
> Charles DiSanza, an analyst who follows Motorola, says iRadio is
> well-conceived and looks ``pretty neat,'' although it remains ``embryonic.''
> ``It looks like they're doing the right things,'' but it's still too
> early to assess how it will fare in the marketplace, said DiSanza, of
> Gerard Klauer Mattison & Co.
> Another key unanswered question: Will it distract the driver unduly?
> Many are concerned that all this multi-tasking behind the wheel doesn't
> exactly go hand in wheel with good driving.
> Jim Louderback, who follows technology for cable television network
> ZDTV, says that while some of iRadio's features ``sound great ... others
> just sound dangerous. But you can't put the genie back in the bottle.''
> Government and safety organizations, while enthusiastic about the
> potential of new gadgets like mapping and locator systems in cars, are
> more wary of the fun stuff after reporting a growing problem with
> distractions from hand-held cell phones.
> ``There are a lot of very interesting concepts and ideas being floated
> around about potential in-car services,'' said Geoff Sundstrom, a
> spokesman for the American Automobile Association. ``But our industry
> and the wireless industry need to make darn certain that we're not
> creating a safety issue on the road.''
> Sensitive to the concerns, Motorola says talking to the computer instead
> of punching in numbers will enhance safety. It is working to iron out
> glitches in the voice-recognition system to make sure drivers speak to
> it rather than pushing endless buttons.
> ``We do not foresee people surfing in the driver's seat - that's never
> going to happen due to the complexity of the Internet,'' said Santoro.


.sig double play!

If we didn't reinvent the wheel over and over, we'd never have steel-belted radials. -- Eugene Miya on alt.folklore.computers, in message-id <398609c3$>, around 2000-07-31

I think that having existing code hobble along in [a] way that sometimes loses information is not a good thing. I have never subscribed to the Unixlike idea that "mostly working most of the time" is good enough. I think it's better for incompatible changes to cause code to not work at all than to lose in obscure ways. Otherwise it will never get fixed. -- Jamie W. Zawinski,, on bug-lucid-emacs, around 1993-05-26, describing why he broke backward compatibility in Lucid Emacs

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