We’ve heard more aggressive claims before, but Harman’s latest pronouncement drives home the point… Harman said Tuesday it believes even budget cars will come with car radios that offer smartphone connectivity within 5 years. Such budget radios might include a small screen and would be able to display some information from the smartphone, Harman CEO Dinesh Paliwal told analysts.
“I believe in 5 years, there will be no new car coming out of the factory without some kind of connectivity…” said Paliwal.
He noted that budget radios “won’t have 12 inch screens as in a BMW,” but will bear smaller screens, although he didn’t specify the size.
Harman also recently hired a former technology head away from Samsung, a leading smartphone maker. Samsung’s former Dr. I.P. Park is now Chief Technology Officer at Harman.
Harman also reported its recent sales results, announcing higher sales in all its divisions, including its Lifestyle division that includes car audio.
Sales in the Lifestyle division (which also includes home audio and name brand OEM systems), rose 20 percent during the fiscal Q2 ended December 31, 2011. Infotainment sales (of non-branded OEM systems) also rose 20 percent for the quarter compared to last year.
Harman is a key supplier of hardware and software for Toyota’s infotainment Entune system that connects to a smartphone. It delivers apps to the car radio from a smartphone. Apps include Bing, iHeartRadio, MovieTickets.com, OpenTable, and Pandora. And it serves up fuel prices, sports, stocks, traffic, and weather.
Total Harman net sales for the quarter rose 18 percent to $1,127 million compared to last year. Net income rose 12 percent to $59 million for the quarter.