Category Archives: Cars

Cars: The next app frontier

This is the next territory to be conquered by your apps

This is the next territory to be conquered by your apps

It’s no secret that apps have changed the way we consume content and software, and expressions like “I have an app for that” are now part of our daily lexicon. Little by little, the appmania has been overflowing SmartPhones and Tablets. TVs where the next conquered territory, and now it seems that cars, and more specifically, on board infotainment systems are the next frontier.

Key players in the industry like Denso, QNX, Magneti Marelli and the traditional car manufacturers are already working in their respective strategies for bringing apps to your car. While most of the current trends are around driving performance and self-diagnostics, extending the features currently available on most infotainment systems, some brands are already introducing very popular general purpose apps. Read Lexus here, and the recently launched latest version of their on board system, Enform, which includes some interesting apps available on board the car. Things like buying movie tickets or booking a table at your destination are now possible, even through the cars voice commands. Even checking in your destination on Facebook is now something you can do behind the steering wheel.

This probably opens a new question behind the technology on which these on board infotainment systems are based. Will we see Android or iOS based in car navigation systems?. It would definitely be very exciting as this would mean instant availability of thousands, if not millions, of apps right to be installed in your car. Interesting potential advantage for Android as some of the current platforms are already based on Linux, which could mean easier integration of Android-based apps onboard.

From standard to unique

Some time ago I was walking at night and a car passed by. It was quite dark so I could not distinguish it properly, but its rear lights looked to me like a mixture between a new Jaguar XJ and a Rolls Royce Phantom. Weird. I did some research on the Internet with no results so I let it go. But the other day I was riding back home and saw this car again parked. So I stopped to take a look at the brand. Mitsuoka. Funny, I had never heard of them, so back to the internet to find more about it.

It happens to be a firm based in Toyama which has been since 1968 pursuing a particular philosophy. They get standard Japanese cars, like your tiny Nissan Micra and make it look unique resembling the old school of British cars. And although some of their models have a somehow odd appearance, others are quite appealing.

Jaguar Mark II

Jaguar Mark 2

Jaguar Mark 2 - The real thing

The Jaguar Mark II is probably one of the most elegant saloons ever built by the British industry. Produced between 1959 and 1967 its influence still can be seen in the latest Jaguar S Types, but nothing close to the elegance and grandeur of the original. Or maybe yes?.

Jaguar Mark 2? Believe it or not, it is a Nissan Micra

Jaguar Mark 2?

Take a look at the Mitsuoka ViewT. The front really resembles the original, classy, elegant, with that beautiful grill and a the voluptuous curves very much like the original back in the late fifties. Look at the headlamps and the stripes across the bonnet. What you will never guess is the platform used for this, the guys at Mitsuoka have delivered this beauty using the platform of a Nissan Micra, with the same engines and interior. This ensures you can enjoy the reliability and durability of a mass production, modern engineered car but with a very sophisticated and distinguished look. Cute?.

MX5 conversion

Now that you have seen what these guys can do with a Nissan Micra, maybe you are a bit more excited about the idea when it comes to the MX5. See the result. Looks pretty close to a Morgan Plus 8, but features exactly everything that you love about the MX5. Light, responsive, fun to drive, while maintaining, the two hood options, including the 12 seconds-fast hard top of the original.

The interior is exactly the one of the MX5 but with nice touches like some wood inserts and leather making it a bit more classy. They call it Himiko and is the perfect look of the 30’s on a 2011 Mazda MX5.

Other models

There are other models in the range, like the Rolls Royce looking Galue (the first Mitsuoka I saw that night in Singapore) and the beefy Orochi, but I must admit that when I saw the Himiko I really felt in love with it. Unique 1930’s look with everything you would expect from a 21st century roadster. Difficult to resist!.

Morgan Plus 8

Morgan Plus 8

Mitsuoka Himiko

MItsuoka Himiko, how far an MX5 can get?