This year’s Consumer Electronics Show was a chance to lift our glasses in a Las Vegas-style champagne toast to, of many things, glasses — Lady Gaga’s Polaroid camera glasses, Pixel Optics auto-focus glasses, and Passive (under $20) vs. Active 3D glasses from Sony, Samsung, Toshiba, NVIDIA and more. But while the glasses were raised, the real excitement belonged to the automotive sector that turned over the ignition from yesteryear to the future of both electric powered vehicles and integrated electronic navigation.
A Boeing GUI for Ford: Having watched former Boeing president, Alan Mulally, go to work helming the new Ford and designing the next generation of Ford’s in-dash multimedia system, then announce the Focus Electric Car for 2012 at CES, who could not be impressed with the new Ford UI? Toyota circled back to the Puget Sound to tap Inrix of Kirkland, Wa, to provide real-time traffic information through its system known as Entune, which is slated to make its console experience in Toyota models later this year.
Inrix also happens to be working with Ford on its Sync product and mobile applications. Brier Dudley reports in the Seattle Times that Inrix is currently “staffing up heavily” with 15 open positions to support the Toyota work and a contract with an additional automaker that will be announced later this month.
Recognize the other Northwest brand prominently displayed on this digital dashboard? Bing Maps and Bing Mobile technology were also part of Toyota’s CES announcement which teed up the opening keynote delivery of Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer.
Toyota Entune will debut Bing, keeping navigation continuously up to date with more than 16 million points of interest; OpenTable, make a reservation at one of 15,000 restaurants; and MovieTickets.com, buy movie tickets and read reviews. All destinations can be seamlessly sent to the navigation system. Making drivers’ lives even easier, Toyota Entune delivers customizable real time traffic, fuel prices, weather, stocks and sports.
Touting a best-in-class, advanced conversational voice recognition system, Toyota Entune promises to eliminate the need to memorize thousands of voice commands. The intuitive interface allows the driver to focus more on the road ahead.
“Toyota has always been a leader in the automotive industry, so it makes sense it would bring the latest in mobile technology to the car,” said Chris Daniels, general manager of Bing for Mobile, Microsoft Corp. “By bringing Bing Maps and Bing for Mobile technology to the car, we are helping Toyota enhance the overall in-vehicle experience to be as rich and robust as possible, which means personalizing the information to each driver’s needs.”
While Windows 7 remains a question mark for its prospects as a tablet system, Microsoft began talking Wednesday about the next version, which is expected to be called Windows 8 and to launch in 2012.
Microsoft showed a very early build of the next Windows, including a version that runs on cell phone chips, providing an alternative for the first time in many years to the chips based on Intel Corp. technology. At the moment, most tablet computers including the iPad use that type of chip, which consumes less energy and allows for longer battery life.
“Whatever device you use, now or in the future, Windows will be there,” Ballmer said. [24×7]