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Auto Show:  2011 Geneva Auto Show

Saab Announces IQon – An Android Operating System - Geneva Auto Show


March 2011 author photo

Autotrader



March 7, 2011

The Android Operating System is coming to the automotive world – and the first manufacturer to snap up the new technology will be Saab. Announced in conjunction with this week's Geneva Auto Show, Saab says that the new system, dubbed IQon, has already been installed on a fleet of test cars to iron out any bugs before debuting later this year.

According to Saab, the IQon system will deliver an entirely new infotainment experience, allowing users to upgrade and personalize the system throughout the car's lifecycle by downloading apps. Saab's IQon store will host the apps, which can be downloaded to the system just like a smartphone user can download apps to a mobile device.

"Today's customers want to be as well-connected inside the car as they are at other times," said Johan Formgren, Saab's head of after sales and the commercial project leader for IQon. "IQon will give them the convenient, seamless connectivity they enjoy with smart phones, while adding new car-specific programs and services."

The car-specific programs and services Formgren is describing will come in the form of apps based on specific vehicle data from each user's car. Saab says it will give third-party app developers access to more than 500 signals from different vehicle sensors measuring everything from vehicle speed and direction to barometric pressure and the sun's position. Other apps will likely include standard Android fare such as social media and Internet radio, with future apps becoming available as they're released.

"Our open innovation strategy, using the Android operating system, will keep the provision of in-car infotainment up to date," added Formgren. "IQon will allow infotainment services to constantly evolve during the lifetime of a car's product cycle, unlike current in-car systems which are fixed some years before a car goes on sale and then remain static."

While some reports assert that the system will make its debut on Saab's slightly-revised 2012 9-3 sport sedan, the Swedish automaker is cautious to pin down a firm on-sale date for IQon, focusing instead on other Geneva debuts such as the PhoeniX concept and 9-5 SportCombi station wagon.

JEFFREY ARCHER is fortunate to have turned a passion for cars into a career. His wide-ranging automotive experience includes work for automakers and dealers in addition to covering the news. When not writing, he spends his time searching for unique cars on AutoTrader.com.

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Saab Announces IQon – An Android Operating System - Geneva Auto Show - Autotrader