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Cadillac, Kia offer free tablets to new car buyers

by Doug Drinkwater

May 9 2012

Kia's K9 sedan car will come with a free 10.1-inch Galaxy Tab
Kia's K9 sedan car will come with a free 10.1-inch Galaxy Tab

Once again demonstrating the tablet’s ascent into everyday lives, car manufacturers Cadillac and Kia have now taken to offering free tablets in a bid to sweeten the deal when selling their latest automobiles.

General Motors confirmed today that it’s giving away a free iPad with new Cadillac XTS sedan, with the tablet to be used to educate drivers on the Cadillac’s CUE infotainment system. Apple’s tablet will come pre-loaded with the Cadillac CUE app as well as the OnStar RemoteLink app and videos to walk the user through the system.

The CUE app essentially acts as a kind of simulator, letting customers view tutorials and play around with the system in the comfort of their own living room, rather than when stuck out on the road.

Starting at $44,995, it would seem unlikely that an Apple tablet could attract drivers to the XTS sedan on its own, but the car is available later this month for anyone that’s interested.

Not to be left behind, Korean car manufacturer Kia also announced earlier in the week that it would be including a tablet with its new K9 sedan. Kia has typically opted to stay local, and so K9 owners will find a free 10.1-inch Samsung Galaxy Tab heading their way when they purchase the car. Those customers who pre-order the car before June may also end up with a limited edition tablet.

Although there are relatively few case studies of tablets being used in cars, automobile deployment is clearly being looked at by several parties, either as an advanced satellite navigation device or as an infotainment system.

Almost 18 months ago, during CES 2011, Nvidia told me that the Tegra system-on-chip (SoC) design lends itself well to tablet-like devices being integrated into the latest luxury cars from Audi or BMW, while just six months ago Renault confirmed that it was working with TomTom to provide a customized Android tablet for satellite navigation, basic email and social networking on new Renault cars for 2013.

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