Cariad China’s partnership with Vivo comes at a time when Chinese consumers are increasingly valuing the seamless experience of connecting their smartphones to EVs, which has even driven some EV makers, including Nio, to enter the phone making space.
Cariad, the software subsidiary of the Volkswagen Group, and Vivo, a Chinese smartphone giant, will collaborate to explore the integration of the smartphone experience with vehicles, a trend that is becoming more pronounced in China.
Cariad China and Vivo have established the Mobile & Mobility Fusion Joint Innovative Lab (M² Lab), Cariad’s Chinese subsidiary announced in a statement today.
The lab will focus on innovations that interconnect smartphones and smart cars to create a seamless, continuous digital smart mobility experience for consumers, the statement said.
The lab’s R&D team consists of local talent from Cariad China and Vivo, focusing on the development of software and hardware for smart connected cars, telematics platforms and smart mobility services, according to the statement.
Cariad China and Vivo have already launched R&D collaborations in a number of areas, which have already brought about a number of achievements.
The two have already jointly created Gamebase, which relies on the computing power and ecosystem of smartphones, as well as the space, big screen and air conditioning in the car to provide users with an immersive gaming cockpit experience, Cariad China said.
They also collaborated to create Touch&Go, a feature that allows users to access and control vehicle information from their phones through customized mobile interface widgets.
As vehicle intelligence accelerates, users’ diverse and personalized needs drive the integration of smartphones and smart cars, said Sun Wei, Cariad China’s chief technology officer.
By joining hands with a leading local technology partner, Cariad China will further enhance its R&D capabilities in smart connectivity and integrate innovative products into the local digital ecosystem, Sun said.
Vivo is one of the largest smartphone makers in China, ranking second in the country with a 17.8 percent share in the third quarter, behind Honor’s 16.3 percent, according to market research firm Counterpoint Research.
Cariad China’s partnership with Vivo comes at a time when Chinese consumers are increasingly valuing the seamless experience of connecting their smartphones to smart EVs, which has even driven some car makers into phone manufacturing.
Nio (NYSE: NIO) launched its first Nio Phone on September 21, a high-end Android device with a starting price of 6,499 yuan ($890).
Nio emphasizes the interoperability between the Nio Phone and its vehicles, offering a range of features such as a smart car key that allows remote car control and more than 30 functions without the need for internet connectivity.
The CEO of Swedish EV maker Polestar also mentioned in September that the company plans to launch a high-end smartphone in China in December.
The production of smartphones by automakers will be a trend in China, and if successful, the model will expand to the global market, market researcher Canalys said in an October 11 research note.
By seamlessly integrating smartphones with smart cockpit systems, carmakers can create their own ecosystems and develop a differentiated user experience, Canalys said.