Delphi and Verizon partner on car tracking, remote unlocking

Editor's note: This article has been updated to clarify the differing roles between Delphi and Verizon, and the name of the service.

LAS VEGAS--With a black box the size of a pack of playing cards plugged into a car's OBD2 port, Delphi gives owners a variety of control and information features, from tracking to remotely locking and unlocking the doors. Delphi partnered with Verizon to offer the Vehicle Diagnostics device and its associated Connected Car service, which emulates many of the features available from modern telematics services.

After plugging the Delphi Vehicle Diagnostics device into a car's … Read more

Ford integrates destination-sharing app at CES 2013

LAS VEGAS--Glympse, maker of a destination-sharing app by the same name for iOS and Android, announced an integration with Ford's Sync AppLink platform. The integration will let Ford drivers access the Glympse app, running on a smartphone, from their cars' dashboard interface.

Glympse lets users send their current location, destination, and route through Facebook, Twitter, or other Internet outlets. It includes preset messages drivers can include with their location, minimizing distraction. The app is designed to let drivers send their location with very little app interaction.

Drivers with Glympse running on an iPhone will need to cable their devices … Read more

Unlock your Hyundai with a tap of your smartphone by 2015

In the future, you'll be able to unlock your Hyundai car, start its engine, and more with little more than your NFC-enabled smartphone. Using the new Hyundai i30 (known here in the States as the Elantra GT) as its Connectivity Concept test platform, Hyundai showed off a variety of wireless technologies that it hopes to implement as early as 2015.

According to Hyundai, "the Connectivity Concept allows the user to lock and unlock the car by placing their smartphone over an NFC-tag (near-field communication), negating the need for a traditional key fob." Upon entering the vehicle, placing … Read more

BMW cars to get LTE Wi-Fi

Audi and Ford include WiFi hotspots in some of their models, but BMW maintains its high-performance reputation by offering an accessory for WiFi at LTE data speeds, the first time a car has boasted this type of connectivity.

BMW's LTE adapter snaps into any BMW equipped with a phone cradle dock in the console. Passengers will be able to connect their personal electronics, such as phones and tablets, to the WiFi hotspot and get data at LTE speeds. However, this adapter does not offer any data connection to a car's own dashboard infotainment electronics.

The adapter includes an … Read more

Top 10 Windows apps of 2012

In 2010, we began a year-end program to recognize the most popular software on Download.com. In 2011, we got a little crazy, recognizing the top 11 programs in Windows and Mac, as well as the top 11 programs in the top 11 software categories.

In 2012, we return to Earth with a more classic list of the top 10 most downloaded software programs in our 10 most popular categories for Windows and Mac. The total download count for this distinction is based on the period from January 1, 2012 to December 14, 2012. Congratulations to all of this year'… Read more

2012 Car Tech Awards: And the winner is...

CNET Tech Car of the Year for 2012

2012 Tesla Model S Our choice for CNET Tech Car of the Year goes to the 2012 Tesla Model S, a car that shows superb technology throughout while also challenging our conceptions of how a car should work. Most people know the Model S for its electric drivetrain, which not only gives it tremendous acceleration, but also the best range among current production electric cars. Compared with an internal combustion engine, the Tesla's electric motor delivers magnitudes of better energy efficiency. The EPA estimates the cost of electricity for a year of driving at $700, about 25 percent of the cost for gasoline in an equivalent luxury sedan.

Beyond its efficiency, the Model S modernizes the whole idea of a car's cabin. Tesla streamlined the entire process of getting into the car and setting off, taking out steps that have become anachronistic. A big touch screen handles all in-cabin functions, eliminating the need for an array of buttons across the dashboard. A 3G data connection feeds the infotainment functions, providing maps, destination search, and music, similar to what we have become used to with our personal electronics.

The Model S went up against the Audi S5, BMW 640i Gran Coupe, Ford Focus Electric, and Toyota Prius C, a formidable field nominated for technical excellence in drivetrain and cabin. The BMW proved popular with our jury, and we liked how the Focus Electric drove, but the Model S trumped the others with its innovative approach and capabilities.

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How to delete your Skype message history

Skype lets you pick between text, voice or even video to communicate. When using the text option, your message history is saved to the client forever, by default. This means that every single message you've sent to someone is being stored on your computer -- until you take action to delete it.

If your computer is only accessed by you, then the message history may not be an issue. However, if you are sharing a computer, or you're just worried that private data could fall into the wrong hands, then check out these quick steps to delete all … Read more

Parker smartphone app enables realtime parking search

Have you ever wanted to be able to just look at your phone and know where all of the open parking spaces are in your area? That, in a nutshell, is smart parking and it's coming to the San Francisco Bay Area thanks to a partnership between Streetline and Cisco. Interestingly, San Francisco itself isn't the first city in the San Francisco Bay Area to get these smart parking spaces. That honor belongs to Sausalito, which will be joined today by San Mateo and San Carlos.

Take a walk around downtown San Mateo or San Carlos today and … Read more

MirrorLink turns cars into dumb terminals

LOS ANGELES -- Modern cars play digital music, guide us to destinations, and respond to voice commands. But so do our smartphones. Through a technology called MirrorLink, the Connected Car Consortium (CCC) hopes to rid us of this duplication, using the car's LCD and interface to show navigation and play music from a smartphone.

The MirrorLink initiative turns the car into a dumb terminal, lacking much in the way of its own computing power and relying on the phone as its processor. One advantage of this system for the user is that the same data stored on the phone … Read more

Sprint brings the connected car to Chrysler

LOS ANGELES -- The connected car is fast becoming a reality, and Chrysler leveraged Sprint's expertise to bring two of its vehicles at the 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show online. Chrysler fitted the Ram 1500 pickup and SRT Viper supercar with its new UConnect Access system, an evolution of the UConnect infotainment suite.

UConnect combined navigation, hands-free phone, and digital audio into an integrated system, and uses a single touch-screen interface. UConnect Access adds a number of connected features to the system, such as online points-of-interest search through Bing.

The new system also brings in a full telematics service, … Read more