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Radio to Lead In-Car Apps

According to analysts at IHS, integrated internet radio capabilities in autos will take off over the next several years.

El Segundo, CA (August 29, 2011)–According to analysts at IHS, integrated internet radio capabilities in autos will take off over the next several years.

Global sales of automobiles with internet radio capability are set to rise by a factor of more than 30 during the next eight years, leading a wave of in-vehicle apps that will be integrated into car electronics systems in the coming years, according to the IHS iSuppli Automotive Research Service from information and analysis provider IHS.

Sales of cars with internet radio integrated into their head unit will soar to 24 million units in 2018, up from 168,000 in 2010. The U.S. will lead the internet radio market, with sales growing to more than 10.9 million units in 2018, from 149,000 in 2010.

“The next several years will see an explosion in the use of in-vehicle apps in cars, driven by booming shipments of automobiles employing head units designed to integrate cloud-based content,” said Egil Juliussen, principal analyst for automotive infotainment at IHS.

“These apps, whether built into cars or provided via connected mobile devices like smartphones, will provide a range of infotainment, entertainment, remote diagnostics and navigation services. With music having been the leading form of entertainment in cars for more than 75 years, internet radio is expected to lead the in-vehicle app revolution.”

The explosion of Internet radio in vehicles is being enabled by fundamental shift in the way car electronics systems are being designed. Automotive infotainment systems are transitioning from fixed function head units to what IHS calls apps-based head units.

Similar to PCs, apps-based head units will be based on a software and hardware platform that will provide all functionality via applications. These apps will run on the head-unit platform and will supply a user interface based on the human machine interface (HMI) that OEMs have included in cars.

About 50 car models in the U.S.–from BMW, Ford, Lincoln, Mercedes-Benz, Scion, Buick, Chevrolet and Hyundai–already have internet radio app integration or will have it in their model-year 2012 versions.