IMPORTANT NEWS: National Electric Vehicle Sweden has agreed to buy the assets of Saab Automobile and the sale is expected to be finalized during the summer.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The business aspect of the Saab IQon system

I have to admit that of all the new technology presented in the PhoeniX concept, the IQon infotainment system is the part that has excited me the least so far. But now I'm starting to think that just maybe IQon's potential is much bigger than I first realized.

Here's what egmCarTech thinks:
Something that will help save Saab: Saab IQon Android-based system will be open to app developers
While Ford’s SYNC, GM’s OnStar, Toyota’s Entune and others are going head-to-head, Saab is working on something a little… well, a lot more interesting. The Saab IQon Android-based infotainment system’s application programming interface will be available to developer.

So maybe IQon is one of the biggest news in the PhoeniX concept. I can see that the possibilities with the IQon system seem unlimited. With signals from 500 different sensor in the car, only the imagination can limit the developers. But what I'm having trouble seeing is how the business case is good enough to attract serious and knowledgeable developers.

Why will developers use time and money on developing and getting apps approved for IQon? With 100.000 Saab cars sold each year, will there be a big enough market for the developers to get a return? If we compare to apps developed for mobile phones sold in millions each year, I would think that "only" 100.000 new potential customers each year is little. And when Toyota, GM, Ford etc make their infotainment systems with millions of users open, then why will the developers choose IQon?

I have very little knowledge about the development of apps and the apps market, so my worries can be uncalled-for. And so I'm really looking forward to learning more about the business aspect of Saab's IQon system.