Sun Microsystems will work with General Motors’ subsidiary OnStar, a provider of wireless services for drivers, to push Java as the standard for automotive computing. Approximately 1 million people use OnStar now and projections say 4 million will subscribe by 2003 to receive navigation and automatic safety assistance as well as voice-activated email, news, stock quotes and weather. GM reportedly wants Java because it should enable the sale of OnStar services to other carmakers’ regardless of their hardware. OnStar launched in top-end Cadillacs but is now an option for 32 of GM’s 54 2001 models. Toyota and Honda are also offering the product in its higher-priced lines.
Microsoft is promoting Windows CE for Automotive v.3 and Car.Net platforms to run onboard navigation, communications and entertainment systems. IBM and Intel are working on a non-proprietary standard for wireless Internet car devices. According to Siemens Automotive, the average 1999 car model has seven times the electronics as the 1969 Apollo lunar module, and 13 percent of the cost of a car today is electronics.
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