Kia UVO: In-Car Twitter, Facebook…And 180-MPH TV Viewing

January 8, 2010
Kia UVO - 2010 CES

Kia UVO - 2010 CES

Enlarge Photo

Kia UVO - 2010 CES

Kia UVO - 2010 CES

Enlarge Photo

If the first full week of 2010 is any indication, this is looking to be the year when the competition really heats up over in-car connectivity features.

With Ford's recent announcement regarding its new iPhone-like MyFord Touch system, including USB-based in-car Wi-fi and an accelerated open-development plan for developing all sorts of MyFord Touch apps, the heat is on.

Throw Kia into the mix as well as a serious contender. Earlier this week it announced details of its new UVO (Your Voice) system, which will debut this summer on the 2011 Kia Sorento.

We explained that UVO, co-developed with Microsoft, looks ready to rumble with the current version of Ford's Sync, with the ability to answer and place phone calls, send and receive SMS test messages, and access music via voice commands. It even allows different voice profiles, and supports natural-language prompts like, "What's Playing?"

Now Kia has revealed several features the automaker is currently developing for future vehicles.

Topping it all off is a new widget-based system, co-developed with Ubivelox, for the on-screen controls. Kia says that possibilities include RSS news, financial information, and weather reports, along with Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn updates.

Also under development is what Kia terms the "world's first haptic steering-wheel controls." Haptic controls, which are used in some sophisticated in-car interfaces such as BMW's iDrive, are touch-sensitive and able to vary feedback. The haptic control on Kia's system is positioned to line up with the driver's thumb and allows audio control plus other functions.

With "breakthrough TV technology"—no details announced—reception will be possible in future vehicles "at speeds up to 180 mph" for rear-seat occupants. [Ed note: Is this an indication that a 180-mph super-sedan is on the way?]

Kia UVO - 2011 Kia Sorento

Kia UVO - 2011 Kia Sorento

Enlarge Photo

Also being shown: special, more cosmetically friendly antenna designs to accommodate everything from analog radio to satellite radio, CDMA cellular reception, and GPS—all in one unit.

Kia has already confirmed that UVO will be coming to the 2011 Kia Sorento later this year, and the automaker is showing Sorento and Soul models with the system at CES.

[Kia Motors]

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