The forays of Global tech firms – Apple, Google, Samsung and Huawei – to take the lead the connected car platform market are gathering steam, according to market watchers.
A connected car is a car that is equipped with Internet access allowing the car to share internet access to other devices both inside and outside the vehicle. They are emerging as new cash cow for many global tech firms apart from automobile companies.
According to a market research firm IHS, the global connected car market is expected to grow to 150 million units by 2020, fup rom 23 million in 2014.
South Korea’s largest tech company Samsung Group recently invested $6.5 million in the U.S. smart car venture company, according to multiple media outlets last week. In partnership with several automobile parts companies, including Cox Automotive, Continental ITS and the Westly Group, Samsung Venture Investment invested in smart car parts startup Vinli.
Vinli has technologies to convert ordinary cars produced after 1996 into smart cars connected to the Internet. When users install Vinli’s device into general cars, they can enjoy services of connected cars.
Market watchers see the latest investment as Samsung’s opportunity to gain key technologies and knowledge of smart cars.
Prior to the late comer Samsung’s forays into the connected car market, Global tech giants Apple and Google have already been vying for the market leadership.
Both Apple and Google have unveiled CarPlay and Android Auto, which allow users to plug in their iPhone and Android phones and use the same operating systems in their cars.
Apple’s CarPlay provides a range of services including calls, music, messages, map and Siri. Google’s Android Auto also enables users to use map, music and google search.
Currently, Apple, which first made forays into the connected car platform market, is ahead of Google, but that may change soon, according to analysts. IHS recently predicted that Google would be the dominant player from next year and the trend would continue by 2020. After that, most car makers are expected to use both platforms.
Google is now fast eating into Apple’s market shares in the car’s OS market as Google’s services, including Google Now, an intelligent personal assistant, Google Map and Google Drive are gaining popularity among iOS users, threatening Apple Map and iCloud.
Apple has been so far tried to maintain its iOS eco-system by limiting the use of Google’s app on iOS devices. To prevent Google’s influence from further increasing, it replaced Google Map with Apple Map and removed Google search.
However, despite the efforts, more than half of iPhone users in the U.S. are still using Google Map, according to market research firm Comscore. To make users less rely on Google Map, Apple has bought map companies in a row to improve the accuracy and functions of Apple Map.
China’s smartphone giant Huawei is also making forays into the smart car in partnership with an automobile maker.
At the CES Asia recently held in Shanghai, Huawei said it partnered with a German Automobile manufacturer Audi for a joint research and development of future car technologies. Through the partnership, both companies are expected to provide services improving driving experiences based on the Internet. Audi is predicted to provide drivers with access to a 100Mbps internet service.
Huawei’s consumer business chief Richard Yu said, “The business opportunity of connected car market is limitless.”
“Huawei will continue to join hands with global auto makers like Audi to provide the best connection service and solution for next-generation cars,” he added.
Huawei predicted that 90 percent of cars would be connected to cars by 2020, becoming the major factor to commercialize Internet of Things.