Top 10 Car Gadgets & Accessories

The Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas each January is where gadget makers gather to show off their latest gizmos, and in the past few years CES has increasingly attracted automakers and suppliers who introduce their tech innovations at the show alongside aftermarket companies. And while CES is a showcase for products and features that we’ll see in cars and in stores within the next year, it also offers a glimpse at cutting-edge technologies that are a little farther down the road.

There’s no better place than CES to see what the short-term and long-term future of car electronics holds for drivers. Here are 10 car tech trends we identified at this year’s show.

No 10. Smartphone Apps

CES 2010 may be remembered as the year automakers and suppliers went app happy. Ford introduced innovative apps for its Sync system that allow access to Twitter feeds and other content in the car, while OnStar showed an app for the upcoming Chevy Volt that lets owners check charging status, schedule charge times, remotely start the car and more. And auto electronics suppliers such as Continental and Hughes Telematics showed future-concept apps that allow you to do everything from remotely checking tire pressure to analyzing emissions.

No 9. Pandora

CES 2010 was also the year that internet-radio service Pandora came to the car in a big way through Ford’s Sync system and head units from Alpine and Pioneer. Each uses Pandora’s smartphone app to access the service and then pipe it into the car so it can be safely controlled by the head unit or, in the case of Sync, via voice controls. Radio was the first entertainment technology available in cars, and while satellite radio offers more variety for a price and HD Radio provides more features for free, Pandora offers the best of both worlds.