The new Mercedes-Benz A-Class is "always on": Mercedes-Benz puts the iPhone on wheels
Stuttgart
Feb 23, 2012
Stuttgart. Mercedes-Benz has now integrated the iPhone comprehensively into the user experience of the new A-Class. Thanks to the integration of a concept Mercedes-Benz App which will enable "Digital DriveStyle“, developed in-house, together with the „Drive Kit Plus for the iPhone“, drivers will be able to access all the key content from their iPhone through the in-vehicle display and enjoy safe and convenient operation of the iPhone via the controller on the center armrest. An attractive 'look' will be ensured by the modern user interface design. The „Drive Kit Plus for the iPhone®“ will allow you to send messages, select music tracks and check the weather forecast or stock prices, as well as to make appointments. This will be available even with the entry-level Audio 20 system.
This seamless integration of the iPhone into the vehicle, in conjunction with the new revolutionary user interface design, means that Mercedes-Benz is now able to offer the Facebook generation its natural home on four wheels, in the form of the new A-Class. Along with Facebook, Twitter and so on, the „Drive Kit Plus for the iPhone“ supporting future Mercedes-Benz Apps, offering further services and content to transition the digital lifestyle into a „Digital DriveStyle“. Highlights include:
  • Personalised internet radio by AUPEO! Personal Radio, which offers radio stations that compile an individual program for listeners and recommends similar music by genre or artists based on personal taste.
  • The advanced navigation software from Garmin, with internet-based real-time traffic information, online POI searches and 3D map display, all of which work even in combination with the entry-level multimedia system Audio 20.
  • A socially interactive experience involving "sharing", "posting" and the integration of music and other content from social networks including text-to-speech.
  • An intuitive 'Car Finder' which automatically stores the vehicle's location. Pedestrian navigation makes it completely easy to find your way back to the car.
New here is also the contextual and location-based display of menu content under the headings "Social", "Media" and "Places". The basic logic behind this was presented by Daimler for the first time in January of this year at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. Appearing under the heading "Social", for example, are the various friends and latest news from the social networks.
The user interface design is unique and revolutionary. Transparent symbols are illuminated in red to create three-dimensionally arranged navigation levels. Within the three-dimensional illustration provided by this menu structure, the user can move intuitively between the various functions in fluid, animated transitions. The user interface concept was designed and implemented by designers and engineers in the Mercedes-Benz research and development center in Palo Alto, California/USA. Enlarging the display of content on the screen to an appropriate format for use in a vehicle and allowing it to be controlled through the ergonomically positioned Controller on the center armrest makes operating the system both safe and easy.
The iPhone is connected through an interface developed by Mercedes-Benz Accessories GmbH. This allows content to be fed directly from the graphics output of the device to the display of the vehicle. At the same time, the iPhone is both powered and charged automatically while it is being used.
Full iPhone integration is not only possible in conjunction with the COMAND Online multimedia system. All functions, including navigation, can also be used even with the entry-level Audio 20 system. Mercedes-Benz is thus making it possible for the A-Class's younger target group in particular to continue their digital lifestyle seamlessly inside the vehicle. The "Drive Kit Plus for the iPhone" will be making its debut in the new A-Class, which will be celebrating its world premiere at this year's Geneva Motor Show, and are also planned to be available from autumn 2012 for the B-, C- and E-Class.
Always up-to-date: COMAND Online with Cloud technology and Mercedes-Benz App Shop
Safe and convenient access to the internet on the move is already available in a whole series of Mercedes-Benz models: the fully integrated multimedia system COMAND Online was introduced in 2011. As well as innovative applications such as Google Local Search including Google Street View and Panoramio, Mercedes-Benz is the only manufacturer to offer the option of sending individually preconfigured routes from Google Maps on a PC to the vehicle. The internet connection that is required for the functions in COMAND Online is established via a mobile telephone Bluetooth link and a secure Virtual Private Network (VPN).
Mercedes-Benz is firmly convinced that the future lies with cloud computing. The software used in the COMAND Online applications is not stored in the vehicle, but runs off the Daimler Vehicle Backend. The advantage of this is that applications can be continually updated in the cloud, and new applications released to Mercedes-Benz customers, without the need to visit a workshop.
In this sense on March 31st, 2012 a new Mercedes-Benz App to access News will be available to COMAND Online customers.
Additionally, Mercedes-Benz Apps for COMAND Online will be offered soon in the new Mercedes-Benz App Shop. The first two Mercedes-Benz Apps to become available in the App Shop will be the Parking Finder and Morningstar Finance, that offers access to stock prices.
It is planned to introduce a dozen or so new applications each year. To this end, Daimler has set up App Development Groups in both Palo Alto, California/USA, and Bangalore, India.
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