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The Next App Store: Inside Cars

BMW is developing an application store specifically for in-car use.

Jon Lombardo
Jon Lombardo on October 23, 2009.

It is clear that the mobile web is a big deal. Which got us to thinking — what’s the next device for the internet to build and ecosystem around ? Well, BMW thinks it’s cars and they are in the process of developing a BMW Application Store (think iPhone Apps for your Car).

The store, which is still in the conceptual stages, offers apps that users can download on-the-move to the iDrive in their BMW or via Computer (apps are then transfered to the car system). Apps currently under development include: travel guides, geowikis, games, podcasts, Facebook, Xing, and Twitter. One of the unique features of mobile apps that will also apply to BMW apps is it draws on your location to deliver useful and timely information. For example, applications for social networks (Facebook or Twitter) can read your car’s navigation system to guide your car thru traffic or recommend a great restaurant en route to your destination. In addition, it is a vitual certainty that car related data — braking patterns or acceleration history — will be used to develop apps that help you stay safe or save gas.

Potential Application: Michelin Guide 2.0

Thinking about how brands can use technology to develop compelling experiences (not just products) to stay relevant, it occurs to us that Michelin Tires is the perfect company to develop an application for the BMW App Store. In a very early example of branded info-tainment, Michelin Guides were started to started to sell Michelin tires by providing “chauffeurs with practical information about where they could service/repair cars and find accommodations or meals.”

They later evolved to include the now famous star system:

  • One Star (“a very good restaurant in its category”)
  • Two Stars (“excellent cooking, worth a detour”),
  • Three Stars (“exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey”)

Michelin will hopefully build an app around the story of its authentic automotive roots which will alert drivers (a century later) to exceptional experiences as they are on-the-road or planning a trip. It would make tremendous sense for both BMW and Michelin as brands that specialize in luxury experiences.

[via @TomiAhonen via PavingWays]

Thinking...