By on November 30, 2012

Sprint Nextel presents a new “Velocity” in-vehicle communications and entertainment architecture at the LA auto show. You can’t buy it from Sprint, but Sprint hopes your automaker will buy it from them. This did not keep Sprint from taking jabs at its presumptive customers:

“They know how to make great cars. They assemble these vehicles that we all fall in love with. But when it comes to this stuff, they are not in the communications business.”

So spoke Wayne Ward, Sprint’s vice president of emerging solutions, to Reuters.

Velocity meets automakers with severe migraine. Misunderstood technology did cost precious J.D.Power points.  Consumer Reports panned the MyFord Touch system and called GM’s new CUE system “convoluted and frustrating.”

“This stuff is pretty hard,” said Ward who hopes that automakers learn to leave the stuff to the experts.

Velocity is an application framework for infotainment and telematic systems. It includes Infotainment and streaming music, remote locking and unlocking, vehicle start, 911 assist, even creating a rolling Wi-Fi hotspot.

Sprint’s first customer is Chrysler which uses Velocity as the basis for its UConnect system in the Ram pickup truck and Dodge Viper.

 

 

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11 Comments on “Sprint To Automakers: Give Us Your Tired, Your Poor, Your Wretched In-Dash Gizmos...”


  • avatar
    Jason Lombard

    By most accounts so far, the UConnect is one of the pluses for Chrysler these days. Kudos to Sprint for taking the bull, er, Ram, by the horns on this one.

  • avatar
    BigDuke6

    Great idea! Let’s make it MUCH easier for drivers to be distracted from….um…….oh yeah, …..DRIVING!

  • avatar
    Junebug

    I think the intent is to make these systems easier to use so that you aren’t distracted from driving. Voice commands and such, and for the life of me I can’t understand why you would even consider texting when blue tooth is so friggin easy.

  • avatar
    zerofoo

    Automakers suck at software, it’s no secret. This goes double for the aftermarket (Kenwood, Pioneer, Alpine…etc).

    Google and Apple have user interfaces pretty well figured out. Motorola’s auto dock for their razr line does a nice job of skinning android to make the thing easy to use for music, navigation, and telephone while behind the wheel.

    Automakers need to leave this one to the software/usability experts.

    • 0 avatar

      Agree. Everyone thinks they can design a good interface, but that’s not the case. It is difficult, and requires real skill, knowledge, and experience.

      The best interfaces come from companies with the best designers (like Apple and Google), or from companies with their hands tied by an extremely limited interface, like on non-smart phones or old mechanical center consoles on cars.

      Give them a big screen with touch input, they they will fuck up all sorts of ways.

      I’m a software engineer, and I prefer physical buttons and sliders for a number of reasons.

  • avatar
    tikki50

    there is no way in hell I would want a sprint app running my car. I hate that friggin company. It figures they would say “this stuff is hard” funny that’s what your company does, yet it’s difficult for you. That explains a lot! I’ll trust GM and others to make an app and have it more secure than sprint ever thought they needed it. Any brand that starts picking up sub brands to handle in car technology is only shooting themselves in the foot. Do it yourself and do it right.

    • 0 avatar
      DrunkenDonuts

      Funny, I feel the opposite. I’d rather have a communications company like Sprint, or a software developer like Android (Google), Microsoft, or even Apple put the software in my car. GM, your example, went into bankruptcy because they couldn’t even build their cars right. And you think they can develop their own software? Yeah, um, not so much…

    • 0 avatar
      nrd515

      but they don’t seem to be able to do it right! I have to say that at this point, the best one of these systems is the one on my friend’s brand new 2013 Ram. It’s apparently the Sprint one and works pretty well. The most annoying one (IMO) is the Ford one. The update helped, but it’s still to slow and gets stuck sometimes. My 2010 Challenger just has the old “U-connect” and it works ok, but every once in a while, when I’m telling it to dial something like, “4195551212″, it misses numbers or just tries to dial different ones. Then, when you say “clear” or “no” when it asks you if it’s correct, it gets all confused and you have to exit U-connect and start over again. One time, I thought I had a stroke or something, it just refused to correctly dial the number I was saying over and over again. I gave it a few minutes and it was fine. It’s the only real problem I’ve ever had with the U-connect system. I don’t think these systems, any of them, are a really good idea.

  • avatar
    icemilkcoffee

    “But when it comes to this stuff, they are not in the communications business”

    Neither is Sprint-Nextel. These two losers have by far the slowest network around. Try to use the internet on their cell network here in the Bay Area- your lunch hour will be over before you can load a page.

  • avatar
    Geekcarlover

    I’m surprised someone didn’t do this already. I wonder if any car company went to a communications company and said “We need a system that does X,Y, and Z” before developing it themselves.

    • 0 avatar
      tedward

      Manufacturers have a far different perception of acceptable margins than software companies do. Software companies are also used to being the marque name on any given product, so I’m sure they’d expect to be THE major marketing point on a vehicle, which I think a car-maker would be idiotic to play too far along with. 5 years down the line, exclusivity contract over, they show up everywhere and all that ad buy ends up benefiting the competitors. Or, conversely, the software company screws up in any other aspect of their business (slave labor, blue screen of death, etc…) and the car maker is tarred by association.


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