J.D. Power and Assoociates just released their 2010 U.S. Automotive Emerging Technologies Study which measures consumer interest and purchase intent for new technology and looked at smartphone owners needs for in-car wireless. I thought this study was particularly relevant for real estate agents – who spend a great deal of time on their smartphone and in their car!

There are around 45 million smartphones in use in the U.S. now. Interestingly enough, smartphone owners are rethinking what they want to see on the dashboard of their cars.

The study says this:

“Among the 51% of vehicle owners who say they own a smartphone interest levels for wireless connectivity systems are higher than the industry average, both before and after price is revealed. Before price is revealed, 77% of smartphone owners say they are interested in in-vehicle WiFi (versus the industry average of 64%). Fifty six percent of vehicle owners with smartphones are interested in mobile routers, compared with an industry average of 46%.”

Here are a few things that really stood out to me in this survey:

  • Texting and checking emails while driving? I see people doing this all the time although it’s illegal (at least in California!) Based on responses from nearly 18,000 vehicle owners last month, 30% of smartphone owners (who responded to J.D. Power’s survey) said they text and check e-mails while in the vehicle. I wonder if they also asked about Tweeting or Facebooking too?
  • Read emails aloud? 40% said they would like to have the ability to have e-mails read aloud through their vehicle’s sound system. I could see this being a cool feature as long as it didn’t require pushing 10 buttons to make it happen – thus defeating the purpose of not looking at your phone.
  • Text message displayed on the dashboard? 40% said would like the ability to have text messages displayed on an in-vehicle screen. I particularly like this idea – although this means you are still reading while driving!

What else are people using their smartphones for?

  • Directions. 40% of vehicle owners with smartphones use them in their vehicle to get driving directions and more than half say they would like to use them to get directions in the future. This is something I use all the time on my iPhone – it is by far one of the best features. I love with Google Maps on my iPhone the ability to see traffic, type in the name of a restaurant and city (without an address) and it finds it, get turn by turn direction and much more.
  • Music. 20% of vehicle owners with smartphones use their device to listen to music through connection to external or vehicle speakers.

So, if you are a real estate agent reading this, most likely you’ve invested in a smartphone and most likely you are in the car – a lot! What types of technologies are you currently using or would you like to see in the future to make driving and using a smartphone safer? Please leave me a comment below!

Written by: Katie Lance, Marketing Manager, Inman News

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