There are about 45 million smartphones in use in the U.S. now -- that's about 11% of the adult population. Such use is growing fast, and as owners move to the new devices from companies like RIM and Apple, they are also rethinking what they want to see on the dashboard of their cars.
According to J.D. Power and Associates' "2010 U.S. Automotive Emerging Technologies Study," which measures consumer interest and purchase intent for new technology, smartphone owners over-index for in-car wireless. The firm says that among the 51% of vehicle owners who say they own a smartphone, interest levels for wireless connectivity systems are higher than the industry average, both before and after price is revealed.
Before price is revealed, 77% of smartphone owners say they are interested in in-vehicle WiFi (versus the industry average of 64%). Fifty-six percent of vehicle owners with smartphones are interested in mobile routers, compared with an industry average of 46%.
In the study, based on responses from nearly 18,000 vehicle owners last month, 30% of smartphone owners said they text and check e-mails while in the vehicle. Among them, 40% said they would like to have the ability to have e-mails read aloud through their vehicle's sound system, while a similar proportion would like the ability to have text messages displayed on an in-vehicle screen.
Also, about 40% of vehicle owners with smartphones use them in their vehicle to get driving directions and more than half say they would like to use them to get directions in the future.
Twenty percent of vehicle owners with smartphones use their device to listen to music through a connection to external or vehicle speakers, but over 40% would like to do so in the future, per the firm. Among current portable digital music player owners who listen to their device through the vehicle's speakers, smartphones are the next-most-mentioned device for in-vehicle connection, after portable digital music players.
Among the 22 technologies the study reviewed in the survey, vehicle owners were most interested -- before price is revealed -- in safety-related technologies, with 77% interested in blind spot detection and 75% interested in an active cornering headlight systems.