Automobiles ape the iPhone

  @FortuneMagazine May 6, 2013: 8:30 AM ET
AUT20 auto tech

Take a ride in any late-model luxury car and one thing is clear: Wireless gadgets are quickly becoming the star of the show. Cars have become rolling Wi-Fi hotspots, with access to Facebook and Google -- if still in limited form. By next year the automotive category will be one of the fastest-growing connected-device markets. And research firm ABI estimates that by 2016, 210 million cars will have Internet access. All those cars will require a vast amount of hardware and software -- hundreds of sensors, processors, and apps each. Not surprisingly, electronics companies, telecoms, software makers, and other suppliers are rushing to stake their claim. "We see it as one of the largest opportunities worldwide," explains Glenn Lurie, head of emerging devices at AT&T.

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