Friday, April 13, 2012

A better hug from Benz

The phrase 'there's an app for that' has become ubiquitous as almost every possible service finds its way onto smartphones around the world, writes Brian Byrne.

Well, there's also a new one one this year to upgrade the computer software on your Mercedes-Benz. At least in the US, we're not sure if they've done it in Europe yet.

Under the banner mbrace2, the app is part of a 'cloud'-based system designed to eliminate M-B owners or their service dealers having to manually upgrade software using a USB stick or laptop.

It is being rolled out first in the just-launched new SL-Class and will be in most of the brand's 2013 cars by next year.

The system also allows access to special Facebook and other pages on the internet. It can also be used to alert owners and dealers directly of any upcoming problems with their car or its systems.

A 'concierge' option will provide owners with a 24/7 system for booking hotels and airline tickets, or even booking restaurants or tickets for events.

An earlier version of mbrace offered some of the above, but the new version adds such possibilities as Driving Journal, Travel Zones and Valet Minder, or monitoring a car's systems by running a Vehicle Health Check on demand.