Advertisement

‘Choice of apps could soon decide which car we buy’

With autonomous vehicles on the horizon, in-car apps could soon be a key factor when buying models, writes John McIlroy

There’s a massive battle going on in the front of your car, and you may not even be aware of it. It’s the tussle for your data – and the right to turn it into money.

Conservative estimates suggest in-car data globally could be worth $750m (£555m) annually by as soon as 2020 – and that’s only the start.

Best driving apps for iPhone and Android

Advertisement - Article continues below

The theory goes that once autonomous tech really kicks in, we’ll all have much more time to ‘do things’ while we’re in the car. Those activities have potential profits – and that’s why established firms like Jaguar Land Rover and the VW Group are investing in start-ups who can come up with the sort of apps and services to prevent us all from just handing over our car’s infotainment screen to Android Auto or Apple CarPlay.

Volvo is taking a completely different view, though. As its boss Hakan Samuelsson outlined in London last week, the firm is basing its next generation infotainment system on Android and integrating Google Assistant – so you’ll be able to interact with it and buy third-party apps for your car, much as you currently do for your smartphone.

Why give up the fight with the tech giants? Because, says Samuelsson, Volvo “isn’t clever enough” to compete. “You’ll have access to thousands of apps this way,” he says, “and they’ll all be better than the ones we would have written.”

It’s admirable, typical candour from the Swede. But it illustrates how this area of the cars we buy is going to become ever more diverse over the next five years. Indeed, it’s not a massive leap to consider a time, in the near future, where our choice of car could be as much down to which ‘app provider’ it gets us access to as it is our views on the engine, chassis or cabin.

Could in-car apps have a big effect on the best-sellers in the UK? Here is the top ten as it stands

Advertisement
Advertisement

Recommended

Visit/news/351989/its-car-care-week-so-head-outside-and-show-your-motor-little-love
News

‘It’s Car Care Week, so head outside and show your motor a little love’

If you can’t drive your car, editor-in-chief Steve Fowler thinks you should wash it instead. When you're done, send us a pic and we’ll print the best
1 Apr 2020
Visit/news/351950/global-temporary-shutdown-car-factories-could-actually-benefit-manufacturers-and
News

'The temporary shutdown of car factories could benefit manufacturers and customers'

With car factories around the world closing temporarily, it may give manufacturers the chance to clear out the current backlog of unsold new cars, say…
28 Mar 2020
Visit/news/351936/jlrs-very-british-approach-keep-calm-and-carry
News

‘JLR’s very British approach: keep calm and carry on’

Editor-in-chief Steve Fowler praises Jaguar Land Rover on both its ability to handle a crisis
26 Mar 2020
Visit/opinion/351904/car-exhibitions-are-going-through-most-dramatic-period-change-generation
News

'Car exhibitions are going through the most dramatic period of change in a generation'

With the changing car market, the government's petrol & diesel ban plus the unprecedented Coronavirus, the car exhibition industry is going through a …
22 Mar 2020

Most Popular

Visit/seat/leon/351998/new-seat-leon-2020-review
SEAT Leon

New SEAT Leon 2020 review

The all-new SEAT Leon hatchback impresses with its blend of sporty handling and cutting-edge technology
3 Apr 2020
Visit/hyundai/i20/100001/new-hyundai-i20-n-hot-hatchback
Hyundai i20

New 2021 Hyundai i20 N to rival Ford Fiesta ST with 200bhp

New Hyundai i20 N to join i30 N in brand’s hot hatch line-up and our exclusive images preview how it could look
2 Apr 2020
Visit/news/102580/hyundai-kona-electric-get-increased-range-july
Hyundai Kona electric front
Hyundai Kona Electric

Hyundai Kona Electric to get increased range from July

UK-delivered Hyundai Kona Electrics will be outfitted with a handful of mechanical revisions, boosting the SUV’s maximum range to 300 miles
18 Mar 2020