Mobile-phone makers and operators are falling over themselves trying to launch their own application storefronts following the success
of Apple's iPhone App Store. But they're not the only ones: Hughes Telematics, which makes in-car communications and computing systems, says the next generation of its technology, scheduled for release in 2010, will let people install apps in their cars
. Ideas being kicked around now include a carbon-footprint calculator and remote-starting and monitoring software. There are lots of interesting possibilities here, but there's one stumbling block: most cars don't come with any ability to connect to the internet, making distribution difficult and limiting the apps' utility. Solving that issue would be huge, and open up a enormous opportunity for all sorts of new apps and features: streaming audio, traffic information, in-car music downloads and so on. Just as other platforms like mobile phones and computers have benefited from the addition of mobile data connectivity, so too will cars.