Cars to follow phones by embracing apps and software themes?
The Jaguar XJ is a gadget-mobile on wheels, complete with a 12.3-inch LCD screen that replaces your regular speedometer dials, and a touchscreen interface to manage multimedia and settings of the car. For some that's techy enough...
But, it could also be the forerunner to bringing apps and themes, like those normally found on your mobile phone, into the automotive industry.
While still only theory rather than reality, Jaguar's brand manager for the XJ has suggested to Pocket-lint that the cars of the near future could easily allow themes and apps to be installed, allowing you to customise your car even more than just a chequered flag on the roof, or matching cup holders.
Expressing his personal views rather than that of Jaguar, he explained to us that there is already a huge demand for customisation of cars outside and in, and that Mini, for example, allows owners to choose almost every aspect, except software. However, he believes that could change, and that other manufacturers will look for interesting ways to attract petrolheads with a penchant for modding: "There will come a time when the Mini drivers who've spent thousands on customising their cars will want the same for all cars they own in the future".
And that includes the operating system.
Jaguar has already made steps towards a more software focused motor with the XJ, its operating system offers a considerable number of software enhancements over your standard car.
One such improvement is its "torchlight effect" feature, designed to make driving easier. It highlights the speed bands you are currently within (say, between 30 - 50 mph) while at the same time dimming those that you don't need to concentrate on.
Switching the car into Dynamic Mode also changes the entire dashboard interface from blue to red, suggesting that you are in the more zippier, responsive driving mode.
However, think of the other possibilities that could become standard in the future; themed dashboards to make your car look like KIT from Knight Rider, or maybe just the company logo of the fleet car you are driving being faint in the background of the dash.
Apps could include letting you know the best price of petrol in the area, or even greater integration of GPS services from company's like TomTom. The possibilities are endless.
What apps or themes would you like to see in your car? Let us know in the comments below...