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2016 Chevrolet Silverado HD

2016 Chevrolet Silverado HD

The Silverado is undergoing some big changes for 2016, though most of them are centered around the 1500 series’ new exterior looks. Nevertheless, the Silverado HD is getting a few upgrades that help make it more attractive in the highly competitive heavy duty pickup market.

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Carmakers Spend Billions on Technologies That Some Buyers Disregard

Carmakers Spend Billions on Technologies That Some Buyers Disregard

Carmakers love to brag about the technology that they can cram into cars, and any press release announcing a new or updated model will be accompanied by a long list of the advanced features it offers. This is especially true when it comes to infotainment technology, and this makes sense since this is the technology that the customer is likely to have the direct contact with. But a new survey from J.D. Power suggests that much of that may be a waste of time, as customers aren’t using the features very much.

The survey tracked the use of 33 different technological features being sold on new cars and found that at least 20 percent of customers weren’t using 16 of them at all. Among the least used features were in-vehicle concierge (43% never used); mobile routers (38%); automatic parking systems (35%); head-up displays (33%); and built-in apps (whatever that means) (32%). In essentially every case of a technology not being used, the reason given was that the owners did not find it useful, and only had it because it was bundled with other features. The survey was for those in the first 90 days of ownership, as after that, it’s generally found that features owners haven’t used yet won’t ever be used.
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Daimler AG Boss Would Welcome Partnership With Apple, Google

Daimler AG Boss Would Welcome Partnership With Apple, Google

Dieter Zetsche, CEO of Daimler AG, parent company of Mercedes-Benz, says he’s open to cooperating with tech companies like Google and Apple on the next generation of connected cars. Car companies have historically had a difficult time developing in-house operating systems that live up to the standards set by tablets, smart phones and other devices, and that consumers expect. Understandably, they’ve also been reluctant to cede control of their products to outside companies, but rhetoric like this from Zetsche and others within the industry mean this philosophy is changing.

"Google and Apple want to provide system software for cars and bring this entire ecosystem around Apple and Google into the vehicle," Zetsche told German publication Deutsche Unternehmerboerse. "That can be interesting for both sides."

But, ‘cooperation’ is the operational word here. Zetsche is willing to work with tech giants outside the car industry, but will not be outsourcing software development to Silicon Valley. "We don’t want to become contractors who have no direct content with customers any more and supply hardware to third parties," he continued.

Zetsche’s comments come shortly after Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn urged more cooperation between tech and car companies, and the recent acquisition of Nokia’s HERE digital mapping service by the BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi trifecta.

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Car Infographic: Top 10 Apps for Car Owners

Car Infographic: Top 10 Apps for Car Owners

Smartphone apps have made many aspects of our lives easier, and there is a very good chance that your life could be made better right now if you only knew which app to download in order to do it. And that might even extend to driving, but it’s sometimes difficult to figure out where to start when researching apps. There are an estimated 1.6 million apps available for Android, and Apple is only just behind with 1.5 million. So it would helpful to have someone else, someone with a lot of time on their hands, to take a look and find some really good driving apps, maybe even some of the ones you didn’t know you needed.

The folks at SMF, an online auto parts retailer in Ireland, has compiled a handy list of their top 10 app picks for car owners. Some of these are for navigation, always an important thing for drivers, and it never hurts to have a backup for when the app that came with your phone goes all Apple Maps on you. Another one sure to get a lot of use is TuneIn Radio, because good driving music is nearly as crucial as knowing where you’re going.
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2016 Volkswagen Models Will Offer Apple CarPlay & Android Auto

2016 Volkswagen Models Will Offer Apple CarPlay & Android Auto

Remember how cool it was the first time you made a phone call through your car’s audio system via Bluetooth? That was only the beginning, and that integration has been taken to a whole new level with Volkswagen’s second-generation Modular Infotainment platform. There are four different head units available for 2016 Volkswagen models — all of which include a touchscreen display and smartphone integration via Apply CarPlay, Android Auto or Mirrorlink.

Apple CarPlay works with the iPhone 5 or newer with at least iOS 7.1. Android Auto will work with any Android phone that runs Android 5.0 – codenamed Lollipop – or higher. Most newer Samsung and HTC phones have MirrorLink capability along with Sony’s Xperia Z3 and Fujitsu’s Arrows NX handset. Android Auto and MirrorLink also have support for some third-party apps like Spotify and Skype. MirrorLink has its own list of apps that can be integrated, including WeatherPro, Parkopedia and Glympse, among others.

All models include standard features like an auxiliary input, USB interface, SD card slots, Bluetooth and a reverse camera display. Entry-level models have a 5-inch screen, while most mid-level trims have a 6.3-inch screen. The 2016 VW Golf stands by itself with a 6.5-inch screen, and the 2016 Volkswagen e-Golf has an 8.0-inch screen with 3D Navigation, nearly 10 gigabytes of storage and a wireless hotspot. All other premium models include the Discover Pro, which has SSD Navigation and other features not found in the sub-premium systems.

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