Geneva Motorshow: Best In-Car Entertainment Systems

MWC-Spotify

It’s the Geneva Motorshow this week and rather than bore you with power-to-weight ratios and torque figures of the new cars, we thought we’d round up some of the best in-car entertainment systems that are on show this week. We’ve got cloud streaming from Ford, iPad Minis in Ferraris, and the world’s most over engineered soundsystem in the all-new Rolls-Royce Wraith.

Ford SYNC AppLink

Ford’s SYNC AppLink is the American motor manufacturer’s new futuristic in-car entertainment system, and this week they announced it is making its way to Europe, with 3.5 million Fords expected to get the system by 2015.

Ford announced that their EcoSport compact SUV will be among the first Ford vehicles in Europe to offer their clever SYNC AppLink technology, which sees the car manufacturer partnering up music streaming service Spotify.

Basically Ford, and almost every other car manufacture, is betting that when 4G becomes widely adopted motorist’s will want to use their phone’s mobile broadband to stream music, radio, podcast, and maybe even one day: TV and film.

The Ford SYNC AppLink integration of Spotify is the first proper collaboration with an automotive manufacturer, and will see all future Fords streaming music via the Swedish music streaming service.

By leveraging a smartphone’s capacity to receive a high-speed internet, Ford drivers will be able to control Spotify via either voice-control or physical controls which are located on the steering wheel.

In addition, Ford announced partnerships with Kaliki, Glympse, and Aha who will offer various content services to Ford drivers in Europe.
Kaliki Audio Newsstand provides audible playback of newspaper and magazine articles with radio-talent voices. They’re expanding into European languages with content from news sources like Agence France-Presse and entertainment titles such as: Public and Première.

Glympse will allow Ford drivers to share their location and estimated time of arrival with friends and family, all in real-time on a dynamic map, directly from their vehicle using simple voice commands.

Finally, Aha will deliver more than 30,000 stations of audio entertainment and information to the car, allowing drivers to safely access web-based music, news, their Facebook and Twitter feeds, personalised restaurant recommendations, hotels, weather reports and much more.

LaFerrari

Ferrari

Ferrari wowed the world with their new LaFerrari (yes, the name is terrible, but just look at it). It’s the Italian’s new 6.3 litre V12, 950 horsepower supercar (sorry, but 950 is just too bigger a number not mention). As well as the car the Italian sports car maker announced that they’ve teamed up with the Ferrari of the tech world: Apple, to bring their products to a range of sports cars.

Ferrari Chairman Luca Cordero Di Montezemolo said the company is now “in talks with Apple about broadening a partnership on in-car entertainment.” Whilst that might not sound too concrete just yet, Ferrari also confirmed that its new four seater FF coupe will come with iPad minis for backseat passengers, so they can presumably play Angry Birds whilst traveling sideways in a plume of burning rubber.

Rollys-Royce-Wraith

Rolls-Royce

Rolls-Royce unveiled a brand-new car at the Geneva Motorshow. The Wraith is Rolls’ answer to the Bentley Continental GT. Priced at a sensible £200,000 the credit crunch Rolls is obviously very fast, but we quite like the sound of it’s incredibly over engineered sound system, and something Rolls is calling “the Spirit of Ecstasy Rotary Controller”.
Audio experts in stereo and multi-channel audio have specially optimised the bespoke audio system. So – naturally – this means you can enjoy the Dark Knight in 18.1, or you could listen to the Arches in a way you’ve never experienced before.

As well as the usual stuff, the Wraith houses a couple hundred gigs worth of storage for music. Passengers, or the driver, can make music searches via what Rolls is calling “the Spirit of Ecstasy Rotary Controller” (you just can’t make this stuff up) where you can search by artists, album, genre, or use the car’s in-built recommendation engine.

But it’s the sound quality itself that places the Rolls-Royce Wraith at the pinnacle of in-car audio. The fully active 18-channel amplifier delivers surround sound through 18 speakers, including two bass speakers in the boot, seven tweeters, seven mid-range and two “exciter” speakers.

Overall the Wraith is chucking out 1,300 watts. But that’s not all: Rolls has included a microphone that measures the ambient exterior noise, then with a digital processing unit uses the information to adjust volume and tone settings, ensuring the system is always perfectly set-up.

Then there’s a system called DIRAC that uses frequency and phase correction for individual speakers to eliminate dead spots caused by reflections from the windows.

New Logic3 headphones deliver Ferrari-inspired performance

Ferrari fans everywhere should be queuing up for the new audio collection from Logic3. Primarily featuring the famous Prancing Horse emblem on a crimson red colour scheme, the new range of earphones and headphones are sure to appeal to the petrol heads amongst you.

Ferrari-Headphones

Split into two different distinct collections, Ferrari and Cavallino, both ranges all deliver eye-catching design with outstanding audio quality. The iconic Ferrari badge is a guarantee of the high standard of workmanship that has gone into each item in the collection, and is everything an F1 fan could wish for. Unless, of course, you happen to that peculiar breed of Lewis Hamilton fans who hate Fernando Alonso.

The complete collection includes over-ear headphones, earphones, on-ear headphones, and price-wise range between £99 for the S100 earphones right up to £229 for the T250 headphones. The majority of products feature TFAT and noise isolating technology, and all deliver superior sound quality.

Logic3 have also announced a range of Ferrari-emblazoned speakers and Active Noise Cancelling headphones to add to the collection, which will be released in the coming weeks. Blimey. Where will it all end?

For further information, you can purchase the earphones and headphones at www.ferrari.com, Harrods Department Store or by visiting www.ferrari-by-logic3.com.

Acer’s Liquid E gets a Ferrari paint job

It’s 60 years since Formula One first began at Silverstone, when the British Grand Prix was the first event in a seven-race season.

Then, top of the game was Alfa Romeo. But now, as Lewis Hamilton tucks another win under his belt, the likes of MacLaren, Renault and of course Ferrari (which has just celebrated its 800th race), rule the racing roost.

So that gives the green flag to Acer to come up with its red, shiny special edition Ferrari Liquid E handset. “A Ferrari is not just about speed. It is an expression of beauty, power, excitement, pleasure and natural excellence” said Gianpiero Morbello, Acer vice president, marketing and brand. “From the original concept to the finished product the new smartphone was conceived down to the finest details with the idea of giving a stronger sense of belonging to all Ferrari fans.”

Ferrari-Smartphone

Acer likens the design of its phone to that of Italian style icon Ferrari – with attention to detail, cutting-edge performance and bold yet elegant design. The chassis is, of course, glossy red, with chrome trim and a microphone that is reminiscent of an air intake. Apparently. Personally, I think it’s a shame that the whole effect is cheapened by the white Acer logo emblazoned across the back.

When the original phone, with Google’s Android 2.1 mobile operating system came out, it got rave reviews for performance. With its 3.5in capacitive touchscreen, 5-megapixel camera, WiFi and 256MB Ram it went down a storm. So, apart from its Ferrari paint job, what else is this special edition offering?

Well, Acer is bundling an Elite Bluetooth headset that cancels echo, and has also personalised the user interface with a batch of Ferrari goodies lined up on the starting grid. In the lineup you’ll find Ferrari homepages, wallpaper, images and videos, plus a set of ringtones featuring the sweet music of a Ferrari engine.

But how much are these turbo-charged extras going to add to the cost? Well so far, there is no price announced for the phone, which is due out in July, but the Acer Liquid E already hits the £350 price mark, so think upwards of that.

Mind you if you’re a big fan of the prancing horse, but can’t quite find enough spare change to have a real Ferrari on your drive, you might well be glad to shell out a few quid extra for this special smartphone.