Communications posts on CNET - Page 10


New iPhone connector threatens car compatibility

BMW started the trend in 2004, offering native integration between car and iPod. Now almost every new car sold has some method of plugging in an iPhone or iPod. This integration is very convenient for drivers, as they can select music from the device through a car's own stereo controls.

However, reports of a smaller, 19-pin connector for the iPhone 5, replacing the current 30-pin connector, may bork iPhone integration with car stereos. Short of getting a new car to match your shiny new iPhone, what is a driver to do?

The good news is that many cars, such as those from Ford, BMW, and Honda, use a standard USB port to connect to the existing white iPhone cable. The new 19-pin connector is likely to use the same sort of adapter cable as current iPhones and iPods, so should plug right in. However, those existing cars may not be able to decode the signal from the iPhone 5 and its connector, depending on how much Apple reengineers its interface.… Read more

Honda integrating Facebook, Yelp in new Accord and Crosstour

At this year's CES, Harman International's Aha announced a partnership with Honda. Today Honda hosted a conference showing how that partnership would play out with a new service called HondaLink. This new connected service will let drivers listen to a variety of Internet-based stations, featuring everything from Slacker radio to Yelp listings of nearby restaurants.… Read more

How to unlink Facebook from Skype

Social media services and applications are always trying to make everything link together for our "convenience." Unfortunately, what's convenient for some is a nightmare for others, especially in the case of linking two large social media accounts together.

Linking Skype and Facebook allows you to see wall posts in the Skype Home window, which can be responded to and liked. But if this is a bit of information overload after a recent link of the two, unlinking them can be done in just a few steps on both services. Here's how to get started:

For Skype … Read more

BMW adding voice texting, 4G hot spot, new nav to cars

In recent years, BMW and Audi have emerged as technological juggernauts, pushing cutting-edge new cabin electronics in their cars. Today BMW announced a bundle of new features for its cars that trumps Audi in some ways, and plays catch-up in others.

The most obvious change we will see comes next year, with a new iDrive controller that BMW calls iDrive Touch. It uses the familiar dial/joystick hybrid on the console, and adds a touch pad to its top. With this touch pad, drivers can trace letters and numbers to input addresses into the navigation system. iDrive Touch also supports … Read more

The five most connected cars

You only need to look at a smartphone to realize the usefulness of an Internet connection in a car. And the advent of smartphones is playing a big part in getting automakers to integrate connected features. People used to looking up an address on a smartphone can now do it right in their car's dashboard, and save that address to the navigation system. Other apps that can come in handy on the road, as deemed by these automakers, bring up Internet radio, social networking, and dinner reservations.… Read more

Pilot of the future: U.S. Army gets wearable tech for the battlefield

U.S. Army, welcome to the future.

If you happen to be in Farnborough, London, this week, you'll be able to see a demo of an Army pilot geared in the latest in wearable military technology -- a portable computing device that fits in a pocket and a display panel that can be strapped to a soldier's wrist.

The entire Aviation Warrior (yes, that's what it is called) system -- which includes a helmet equipped with a flip-down viewing monocle and taps into the cockpit's digital display -- may seem like something that belongs in Battlestar … Read more

To stop distracted driving, Cape Town police take motorists' phones

When fines and warnings don't work, police may want to consider another tactic to stop distracted driving: confiscate mobile devices.

Thanks to a new law in Cape Town, South Africa, police have started confiscating mobile phones of motorists caught talking or texting while driving, reports the Cape Times. It's legal for motorists to use hands-free devices to operate mobile phones, but using handheld phones behind the wheel can result in a 500 Rand ($60) fine, or up to three years in jail, or both. However, officials say they give out 8,000 fines each month, and haven't … Read more

Monitor your car's performance with the Torque app for Android

Your car's dashboard is probably home to a speedometer, a tachometer, a fuel gauge, and -- if you're lucky -- a coolant temperature gauge. However, your car's electronic brain (ECU) is actively monitoring dozens of parameters behind the scenes that you, the driver, could find useful. This is where diagnostics hardware and apps like Torque Pro and Lite for Android step in, putting all of that data at your fingertips.

Torque doesn't require anything more than the hardware already present on your Android phone to function. Without any external hardware, Torque can still pull sensor data … Read more

Mercedes-Benz opens an app store in Europe

As manufacturers figure out how to integrate mobile phone applications with vehicle infotainment systems, Mercedes-Benz decided to cut the middle man out of the picture by opening its own app shop, and let customers download applications directly to their car.

The Mercedes-Benz App Store opened last week, a company spokesperson confirmed in an e-mail. The new online app store will let customers browse for new applications to add to their vehicle's Comand infotainment system. Google Search, Weather, Facebook are standard apps on this system, and Yahoo should be added later this year. Using their phone's Internet connection, they … Read more

Ford France announces Keyfree Login password manager

One of my favorite convenience features for cars is smart keyless entry and start. This transponder-based system lets you unlock your doors by simply approaching the car, touching the door, and pushing the starter button -- no fumbling with the key fob required thanks to RFID technology.

Ford thinks that if this sort of walk up and unlock technology is good for your car, it should also be good for your laptop, which is why it's announced its Ford Keyfree Login software. After downloading and installing the Chrome extension onto a laptop or desktop computer that features Bluetooth connectivity, … Read more