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Bluetooth, iPods, HDDs to define in-car tech in 2009

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Bluetooth, iPod connections, embedded hard drives and real-time location-based traffic monitoring will all be increasingly popular features in cars next year, an analyst has predicted.

Market watcher iSuppli has forecast that, in the US, the number of car manufacturers “aggressively adopting” Bluetooth wireless connections will rise from around 55 per cent this year to a massive 82 per cent in 2009.

It said Bluetooth in your car is no longer just a feature only available in the poshest cars, but now a wireless data transfer technology that can be used with a whole host of devices, including stereos and handsets, and in a number of ways from hands-free calling to streaming audio transfer.

The popularity of iPod-branded head-units will also grow too, up from 39 per cent currently to 58 per cent next year. By comparison, only one third of US car manufacturers will offer USB interface options to integrate other players and portable devices on all available car models next year.

“The automotive industry is at the point where in-vehicle technologies – or lack of them – are influencing sales,” said Phil Magney, VP of Automotive Research at iSuppli.

Hard drives are also set to appear as optional extras in around 88 models of car next year, iSuppli said. This is because an increasing number of motorists now opt for in-car infotainment systems and require storage space for music and movies.

Although some of the capacity will undoubtedly be taken up by satnav maps, iSuppli’s also stated that the likes of Ford, Volkswagen and Mercedes have all expanded real-time traffic data into their 2009 models.

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