Automotive app market switches to take-off mode

June 24, 2013 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
The market for apps running on automotive platforms - head units, smartphones, or smart infotainment systems - is heating up. ABI Research forecasts that the number of such apps downloaded in cars will jump from around 12 million at end of 2012 to 4.3 billion at end of 2018 generating revenues of $1.67 globally.

Although connected cars have been on the market for several years, pioneered by platforms such as GM's OnStar and Ford’s SYNC, their growth has been relatively modest and car companies have struggled to generate revenues from monthly subscriptions.

“Car OEMs now increasingly see infotainment as a key differentiator in their cars,” comments Gareth Owen, principal analyst at ABI Research. “We predict a sharp growth in the adoption of connected car infotainment systems over the next few years, with apps being the main driver, as for the iPhone.”

With several proprietary, open standard, and open source systems vying to become the de-facto technology for downloading apps in the car, the battle for domination of the automotive app space is heating up, as car OEMs, Tier-1 suppliers, plus behemoths such as Apple and Google maneuver to capture the biggest slice of the automotive app cake.

ABI Research also expects a sharp rise in Bluetooth in cars driven by growth in adoption of connected car infotainment systems. Consumers already use their phones extensively to listen to music or connect with social media sites. As Bluetooth becomes more prevalent in cars, they will be able to make hands-free calls or check their social network accounts in their vehicles, or on their phones, in a completely seamless manner.

These findings are part of ABI Research’s Automotive Infotainment Research Service .

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