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At the LA Auto Show, Mercedes showed off their Web-Connected myComand, which takes on BMW’s iDrive.

One big difference is that myCOMAND is connected to the web, grabbing information wirelessly and presenting it through their own on-screen apps, explains Gizmodo.

It features:

  • Off-board navigation: The GPS is constantly updated, from the maps to the points of interests. It also has a satellite overview and the search language is open: you can write directions without having to follow a format. It looks like the are plugging into Google Maps for this one, although I’m not sure how well the writing will work using their navigation knob.
  • Trip assist: This part is quite nice, grabbing information pertaining your planned trip from different web sources and presenting it in a useful manner. You can, for example, see the weather forecast for the trip, as well as giving you the possibility to make hotel and restaurants reservations from the system itself.
  • World radio: Instead of using a normal radio, this one plugs into the web to access all the stations available. The menu gives the possibility to access radio via genre. More interesting is the idea of storing your music in a web server and accessing it through the system directly, without the need to connect an digital music player or storing things locally.
  • Internet telephony: It support a voice over IP system built by Ribbit, who have an open API.
  • Web browser: They also include a web browser, in case you need to get more information than the one provided with the thin clients above.
  • YouTube: Perfect for those boring commutes.

Mercedes-Benz says myCOMAND is programmed so that it automatically collects from the internet all information necessary for a service – be it hotel descriptions, weather forecasts or the details of available parking spaces – and puts it together to provide the desired service. There is no complicated searching via browser. This greatly speeds up access to data.

The navigation knob looks similar to BMW’s iDrive 4.0, a $2,000 option in the 2009 BMW 3 Series and 1 Series, or standard in the 7 Series. NPR tested the Voice Command on the BMWi 7 Series (ram) in 2002 and couldn’t get it to work.

Of course you could put a $200 iPhone, Android G-1 or Nokia’s WiMAX-enabled webtablet on the dash.

Apple’s new iPhone software upgrade is getting good reviews. Version 2.2 includes Google Street View in Google Maps, which allows users to see a 360-degree view of locations. The podcasts section has also been enhanced, so besides being able to download podcasts from iTunes, after the new update you can download your favorite audio and video shows straight on your iPhone over Wi-Fi or a cellular connection.

uLocate works with Sprint for location-based services on its WiMAX network.

PC World says the day of the in-car satnav may be over, with GPS smartphones like the Apple iPhone 3G outsripping their sales. Global shipments of satnavs or PNDs (Portable Navigation Devices) were down 6 per cent in Q3 2008 in EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa – falling behind shipments of smartphones with built-in GPS, which soared from 4.7 million last quarter to 10.4 million in Q3 although North America and Asia Pacific still seeing good volume growth.

Nokia is already the third largest provider of mobile navigation solutions across all platforms in EMEA, behind TomTom and only narrowly behind Garmin.

Related DailyWireless stories on transit connectivity include; BMW iDrive Gets Makeover, Livable Streets Network, Google Streetview on Cell Phones, Rest Area Hotspots Closed, Chrysler Offers Internet Access, Portland Commuter Rail Readies Wi-Fi, Chrysler Rolls Out U-connect , Ford Sync, Mobile Livecasting, Google Transit Maps + WiFi, Chrysler: Wi-Fi Car This Year, The Connected Bus, Hotspot for Bedouins, Chrysler Getting WiMAXed, Verizon Traffic Mapping , Gadgets That Listen, Analog Cellular to Shut Down, Microsoft Vrs OnStar and 3-D Traffic/Weather Maps.

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