By on December 4, 2015


Maxed out of selling you a new phone every 15 minutes, chipmakers such as Nvidia and Intel are looking to break into the automotive business as the next new lucrative frontier for technology, Reuters reported.

Established automotive suppliers such as Infineon, Renesas and NXP may be figurative feet in the doors for other tech makers to exploit a growing car boom and tech cycle.

“A decade ago, autos was not sexy. Now it is,” Reinhard Ploss, chief executive of Infineon said, according to Reuters.

According to the report, the automotive chip business will grow by 6 percent annually to an estimated $40 billion by 2019. In comparison, the overall chip market is expected to shrink by 0.8 percent this year, according to Reuters.

That may foretell how tech giants such as Apple and Google view future car interaction and what drivers expect from their cars. Perhaps we’re all looking for an Internet-connected car that can shuttle us back and forth to work without driver interaction, to which, Silicon Valley has deep enough pockets to buy their way in.

But then again, the Internet fridge was supposed to solve grocery shopping for us too, and that didn’t turn out so well.

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42 Comments on “Chipmakers Think In-car Tech Will Be The Next iPhone...”

  • avatar

    “A decade ago, autos was not sexy. Now it is[.]”

    They don’t think it be like it is…but it do.

  • avatar

    Many people in their 30’s can’t buy houses because their credit is shot – so they sink their money into “luxury cars” to pull up to Mom’s house in, before making their way to mom’s basement. YES, cars are the best logical choice for CPU/GPU makers to put their attention.

    But when you really think about it, CPU’s and GPU’s aren’t tasked with graphic processing as intensive as your typical desktop. The hardest part is making CPU/GPU that run for long periods of time under heat/shock/vibration/etc for today’s cars. But that’s not terribly difficult either.

  • avatar


    Nice to see up there in the pictorial, the family using the most new computer like they are. Even though, the child’s happeness is not too apparent from her face look, ha ha! I do remember the time still, from a couple of years ago when there were the screens like Americans’ say “Oh green screen of Matrices!” in only green + the blacks. Not a very fun look, only for when I was at the school, still going to do a little round or so of a -Oregon Trail’s-. Had a fun time to that, with my sister Kryendia going to be a scalp for Native Indiana, or dysentarys. I think they have there in your Country a car of Chrysler in -90s, the Dyesntary, ha! Maybe ask someone there why they name it like a potential for sickly.

    But why I come is to give fair warning. Mr. Reintard, needs to make sure to the Americans when he stands in front of firing-line of Reuter-Reporters to say “Oh, carful with my English, or some one from R-R will be in judgment!” as clearly he did not take such precautionary statement before opening his tramp, as you say.

    Overall and finialy, I think mostly a in-car-phone has been done. If you look back to a catalogue of fashion or history in America and other parts (oh, 1993), you can see a woman behind a thick shoulderpad, and she’s holding her grey rectangle Motorolas inside her Lincoln Cartier Luxury Model!

    As they say, nothing is new under a solar panel.


    Grango Relago

  • avatar

    Give me a DIN-mount Head-Unit (as in, something I can replace myself for less than a Bazillion dollars when it breaks) factory equipped with Apple/Android integration and call it a day.

  • avatar
    Waftable Torque

    So where is their vertical integration? Apple makes money when someone buys the hardware; when someone buys an app; when someone wants more icloud storage; and when someone buys a new weapon and level boost for their app games. Google makes money everytime you click on an ad. Where are the continuous revenue streams for chip makers? A subscription?

    Now if they offered a hand-off feature where the car will preheat/cool your interior and configure your settings as you approach it with your smartphone, and tell you the best route home through traffic, put on your favourite tunes, while telling your house to turn the heat/AC back on, that would be a value-add. Are there enough people willing to pay for that monthly?

    This is just another race to the bottom where chipmakers eventually start competing on price, and the weak ones will bail when there’s no money in it and they have to service the debt from their new fabrication plants.

    • 0 avatar

      Apple will probably have some impact on the future enhancement of the auto industry but Apple is too invasive into a person’s life, requiring all sorts of personal data (so they can track you) just to be able to visit the iTunes store.

      No, my money would be on Microsoft-driven in-car tech in the US and a smidgen of Samsung/Google/Android tech scattered throughout select other manufacturers.

      Young people expect all this tech in their cars and are willing to use it. To wit: the NAV system and backup camera my wife and I never used in our 2012 Grand Cherokee is used daily by our 25-yo grand daughter who now owns that car.

      Different generation, different expectations.

      • 0 avatar

        Better dial down those generational expectations.

        • 0 avatar

          Young people know what they want, and what they want is the latest and greatest tech.

          And that latest and greatest tech is what is selling cars to young people today.

          • 0 avatar

            Young people are not in possession of the buying power that car manufacturers need.

            Even if they were and your theory holds true, the Nissan Versa should be outselling the Toyota Camry. It has the highest cabin tech-to-price ratio.

          • 0 avatar

            Changing cars to upgrade the electronics is not even remotely on the table.

            They tried that in the early 2000s, and the GPS which looks like an 8-bit Nintendo in our 2004 Prius hasn’t convinced me (or anyone I’ve ever heard of) to drop $30k on a new car yet.

            The fact of the matter is that modern cars last 15-20 years, and personal electronics last 2-5 years.

            The only way to sell CPUs and GPUs in a volume that comes close to smartphone volume is going to be making it easy to upgrade the infotainment system in your car every couple of years.

            Again, NOBODY of any age is going to spend thousands of dollars just to get the equivalent of a smartphone upgrade. Heck, even phone companies have to hide the true cost of the phone in the monthly payment in order to keep that party going.

            Make it easy for me to swap the nav system in the car I already have though, and I’ll put a few hundred $$$ on my card every couple of years.

          • 0 avatar

            When young people go shopping to buy that new car, it is the electronics that sways them.

            This doesn’t mean that they swap cars just to get the new electronics. But if they Lease, they do at the expiration of the term.

            Young people generally do not have the financial availability to buy new every couple of years, but they do like to have as much of the latest and greatest tech when they do commit.

            For most young people, as they age, they also progress upwards to a higher income to match the needs for the purchase of a roof over their heads and new transportation. Aging happens to all of us. But maybe financially progressing upwards does not.

          • 0 avatar

            I’m in the six figure demographic (in the Midwest), and I can’t imagine spending thousands of dollars to solve a $300 problem.

            I don’t think any amount of income growth or age will make that a good idea.

            Also, since cars last 15+20 years, there no way the sales.voles could.match smartphone sales volumes in a model where cars are swapped. Yeah, the people wjp buy new cars may have the latst and greatest, but the used cars will still be running on their aging electronics, just like the obsoletely fabulous nav system in my Prius. The only way to achieve the sales volume, and to address the mismatch between the life of cars and the life of electronics is to make it easy to swap electronics into the cars people already own.

            Anything else would be betting on people forgetting how to do arithmetic. In my Prius, I solve the problem with a suction cup, an audio jack, and a smartphone. It takes 10 seconds with common household items. This is the BATNA. Its hard to imagine that age or doubling/trippling a six figure income could make spending $30k+ (could just be “thousands”, depending on the residuals) to beat that BATNA look like a good idea…

  • avatar

    Intel is doing very well. They’re in a duopoly with AMD, who isn’t currently fielding much of a threat. Their graphics division is being slaughtered by nVidia, and Intel is kicking them to the curb on CPUs. This means that Intel and nVidia have a good deal of money to “play with”.

    I think there will be successes for the chipset makers more than the software developers. I foresee upgradeable software (a la Mac computers), but a low enough load on the chips that this could be pretty lucrative.

    • 0 avatar

      I’d look for a consolidation or even a more intense collaboration between Intel, Microsoft and nVidia in the near future.

      I can’t see AMD being a player in anything. AMD had incompatibility problems as far back as the 80286 PCs and Laptops.

      No one who knows CPUs would choose AMD over Intel, no matter how low the price of an AMD processor.

      • 0 avatar

        AMDs only good if you’re making a videogame system, and dont mind 25fps and excessive screen tearing.

        • 0 avatar

          AMD is big in Europe. All my relatives there won’t have anything else. An Intel CPU costs so much more over there than it does here.

          But I have had AMD processors in the PCs we bought for the business and ourselves and we’ve had issues where I had to find patches to make certain (business) software run.

          So ever since I have chosen Intel when possible, and currently run a Dell XPS27 AIO PC with a Core i7 and 16GB RAM. Best Desktop I have ever owned!

          The Apple stuff we own have the A7, A6 and A5 processors in them. No choice there.

          • 0 avatar

            I’m writing this on my work computer, which I built with an FX-4300. I built a new home computer a couple of months ago, and went with an i3. It’s faster, quieter, and wasn’t any pricier. A few years ago, I was a pretty loyal AMD guy. My only complaint with Intel is their heatsinks- I hate them. Their CPU is much better.

            I do a little light gaming, and have an nVidia GPU in the AMD system and an AMD GPU in the i3 system (Ironic, isn’t it?) The nVidia is much better- the AMD drivers have been nothing but problems. I’d almost be better off going back to the Intel onboard graphics.

            I think I’ve just joined the Blue Team!

          • 0 avatar

            matador, if you have an issue with heat sinks, visit Newegg dot com and get a watercooled heat sink, used for overclocking.

            I have not had to because I never push my CPUs (video crunching is the most demanding) but my sons are avid gamers (iBuyPower Desktop PCs) and they use special watercooled heat sinks.

            Some time ago, I bought an iPad Air 2 and it had Apple’s new A8 processor. It was faster than the A7 and IMO an improvement over the A7 in my wife’s iPad Air.

            Regrettably, I cannot tell you more about the Air 2 since my 18-yo grand daughter in El Paso, TX, absconded with it to use it at UTEP.

            Many of the kids at UTEP use a version of the iPad, some older than others, but they all share the same enthusiasm for the portability and versatility for student applications and uses.

            Not for gaming, but hard to beat for real-world situations, and especially versatile with an iPhone 5 which can act as the hotspot for the Wi-Fi iPad and four others around her. Good stuff.

          • 0 avatar

            I need to do a watercooled build sometime. I went for the 212 EVO, and love it. I can work with them, but I just don’t like the stock pushpin coolers that Intel uses.

            Since I may want to upgrade the i3 in the future, the 212 EVO was well worth it!

          • 0 avatar

            Maybe an application of heatsink compound would help to better dissipate the heat, if not already used.

            In the past, the Kingston-Intel CPUs used the push-pin heat sinks and hobbyists would add a layer of heatsink compound in between. But this was at a time before watercooled heatsinks even existed.

            Remember, heat kills. So you can’t overcool a CPU or graphics card.

          • 0 avatar

            Mine idles around 86 degrees (F), so that’s pretty cool. My problem isn’t with the heat levels of the Intel stock heatsinks, it’s with reinstalling them. I absolutely hate their pushpin setups. The aftermarket ones are much easier to use in that regard (For me, at least)

          • 0 avatar

            matador, 86-degrees F is warm at CPU idle. At idle it should be no more than ambient temperature around the PC, and that is with (all) internal fans running.

            An old saying was, “if you’re comfortable, your PC is comfortable.”

            In XP there used to be a utility that let you visualize CPU usage. Maybe you got something running that would elevate the CPU temp.

            Remember, if you overclock or really push the CPU, the CPU temp can get quite high. Like in video-editing or gaming.

            I’ve never measured it, but some people have complained about burning their laps when their laptop CPU overheated.

            Hence, aftermarketers came out with various cooling tactics for laptops, and desktops came out with multiple fans.

            My old H-P Media Center Pentium D 3.6/3.6GHz came stock with a huge heatsink and three fans.

  • avatar

    Personal tech changes so rapidly, automakers can’t hope to keep installed in car tech current. They would be better off making phone mirroring tech standard in the cars and calling it a day.

  • avatar

    The last thing I need on a long highway drive is my car “rebooting” because the drivers are out of date.

    • 0 avatar

      Never seen a notice while we were driving but the circuits are ON all the time as long as the battery has juice. Even while parked for the night.

      What we saw is when starting the car, a notice appeared on the NAV screen that read, “System updating” or “System updated”, especially for the traffic conditions portion of the NAV system, and the Satellite radio.

      But if you disconnect the battery for any reason, it takes a little while for the NAV system and the Satellite radio to reboot when you reconnect the battery, and the engine may run rough at first because all the engine-data has been lost out of the Engine Control Module memory. I disconnected the Negative Terminal on the battery once and that reboot sequence happened.

      It’s pretty slick. But it is self-correcting.

    • 0 avatar

      You’re still young and spolied. Just wait until it reboots because the Driver is out of date…..

  • avatar

    There is a disconnect here. Cars are durable goods (at least they have been up to now). Chips are not. They can provide volume sales when embedded into products with a much shorter lifecycle than that of a car.

    The high-tech chip industry can see a one-time growth by getting into any product that didn’t need GPUs and wifi connectivity before (cars and appliances being perfect examples). Can they grow by selling upgrade chips/hardware/modules for a two year old car whose integration is now woefully out of date with the owner’s new smartphone, or other new standard? How would that work? Build some durable backbone that will work flawlessly with all future tech for the next 10 years? Anyone believe there is a standard can hold up to new tech for that long? Software, sure. But hardware, not really.

    Let’s assume that the new reality is based on the market buying everything based on integration features. Then, either those folks have a ton of money to upgrade their car every 2 years to get the latest pairing protocol for their new smartphone, or car makers will need to build disposable cars for that market, and make them incredibly cheap. The car makers have very tiny margins and are not in an industry so nimble to pivot that quickly.

    The only thing I can see providing continuous growth for the chipmakers here is some new i-car type of device that interfaces with the rest of the car in some standard way. That would make it yet one more device like a smartphone, tablet, iwatch etc that can be upgraded with a newer one every few years. Even then there will be problems with how that holds up long term.

  • avatar

    “Anyone believe there is a standard can hold up to new tech for that long?”
    Yeah! How about 12V DC. Just keep providing a cigarette lighter or whatever is the current politically correct name for the thing and let me plug in my own phone or GPS or video player, fridge, vibrator or whatever.

    • 0 avatar

      I don’t think integration or chip volume sales are currently constrained due to the absence of power supply in vehicles. It is a little more complicated than that, at least for the market that will supposedly drop the big-margin dough for it.

    • 0 avatar

      Most cars have a double DIN opening in the dash, and Crutchfield can fill that opening with some amazing stuff.

  • avatar

    We need that for our upcoming flying cars

  • avatar

    Hopefully trying to make shiny stuff work in such a tough environment well will drive some innovation in the tech industry.

    For pennies on the airplane or smart phone dollar, your infotainment needs to work from 9 to 16 volts, survive -25 to 100 volts (or more!), ignore the massive EMF from that nice hybrid inverter, not care if it’s -40C or +95C, withstand a fairly intense vibrational environment with fairly bad sealing against water / dust / hair / cleaning solution / etc, while being bulletproof reliable and fast for 15 years. And people need to like how it looks.

    RTCA Do-160 eat your heart out.

  • avatar

    Am i the only one astonished as to how bad your average in car software is? And i don’t mean unintuitive, i mean laggy, slow and terrible screen res.

    I find it incredibly poor given how much effort goes into the rest of the car and how annoying a laggy interface is.

    I just do not understand it.

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