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The Apps 'Explosion' and Your Car

Wednesday, 13 Oct 2010 | 9:31 AM ET

Want a peek at the future of how we'll be interacting and using our cars and trucks? Just look at your iPhone, BlackBerry, smart phone, or whatever you use every day.

Apple iPhone
Getty Images
Apple iPhone

Just as the explosion in apps for your phone have changed how we stay in touch or are entertained, we're on the cusp of seeing the same type of apps revolution with our cars.

I saw the potential first hand when I drove the new Chevy Volt. Volt director Tony Posawatz has an app on his iPhone that lets him monitor the charging status of his Volt, reminds him when he should plug it in, where the nearest charging station is located or how far he can drive before he needs to re-charge or fill up with gas. It was not only cool technology, it was a peek at where our cars are headed.

With the advanced electronics coming into cars (especially electric models), automakers are realizing people want to "customize" their cars like never before. And in this high tech age, that means adding apps.

"Want the navigation screen in your car to show you unique information about where you are driving? Add an app."

Want your car to make a certain sound when you start it up? Add an app.

Want the navigation screen in your car to show you unique information about where you are driving? Add an app

Want a special ring tone for when someone calls you and it comes through the blue tooth system in your car? Just add an app.

The potential is unlimited, just as it is for smart phone apps. Sure, there will be some issues regarding safety and driver distraction that will pop up from time to time. But make no mistake, the smarter, more connected, "app car" is coming to a driveway near you.

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  • Phil LeBeau is a CNBC auto and airline industry reporter based in the Chicago bureau and editor of the Behind the Wheel section on CNBC.com.

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