New gadgets for your car
by Phil Hornshaw
We’re quickly nearing the kickoff of the 2013 North American International Auto Show, one of the biggest car trade shows in the world. Slick concept cars and more current, souped-up models are sure to be on display in Detroit for the event. The other stars of the show are gadgets that improve your driving experience.
You can find cool bits of technology for the driving experience, from mobile apps to add-on speakers, across the Internet. Cars themselves are starting to support a lot of the latest connected technologies, and some even support apps. Lots of devices will surely pop up during the NAIS when it starts on January 14, and in the meantime, you can catch a number of gadgets for low prices, if you know where to look.
The usual suspects for gadgets
Shopping for gadgets always starts with knowing where to look, and finding stuff for your car can be a little difficult. Fortunately, there are a few retailers that make it easier. Amazon, for example, has an entire “gadgets for your car” section on its website. That makes it a great place to start your search for things to augment your ride with devices like car chargers and device docks.
Other reliable places to find interesting in-car items are Sharper Image and Brookstone, which both have sections of their inventory devoted just to cars and travel. Both provide 8 percent cash back on purchases, too, plus free shipping if your order is big enough – over $50 for Sharper Image, over $100 for Brookstone (with $5 back).
Find the apps you need
Some of the real innovations taking place in the auto space have to do with cars’ connectivity to other devices – namely, smartphones and tablets. We’ve already seen how useful these devices can be for things like navigation, and carmakers are catching on, adding iPod docks and USB chargers to their cars, and signing deals to make apps a bigger part of your driving experience.
While you wait to see the fruits of Ford’s deal with location app maker Glympse to use your car to tell friends and family exactly where you are and check in when you get to your destinations, you can find solid apps for your car right now, both for iOS and Android. But you’ll need one of those devices first. Apple is a solid bet for an iPhone or iPad, where you can get free shipping on orders over $50 and 1 percent cash back.
For both iOS and Android devices, try your favorite places to get electronics, like Best Buy and Walmart – both of which will provide 3 percent cash back – and Target, where you can get 2 percent cash back. After that, it’s just a matter of investigating the various app stores for each platform to find some cool apps.
Even with these options, there’s sure to be even more cool, innovative stuff coming out of the NAIS and other auto shows this winter. The key is to keep your eyes peeled for great devices and good deals.