More Manufacturers To Center Business Around Apps

Mobile applications are the new remote controls. The trend is rippling across the technology industry, changing the way products are conceived, as manufacturers of everything from televisions to automobiles look for ways to integrate their wares with handheld devices, like smartphones. according to analysts at the Consumer Electronics Association. "Manufacturers started by letting you control their hardware," CEA analyst Shawn DuBravac said on Tuesday to a crowded room of reporters, bloggers and industry watchers at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Now, they're blurring the lines between products and apps even further. DuBravac said many industry heavyweights have cut research on devices like remote controls, choosing instead to create specialized mobile apps that can be used to change channels and lock cars. The apps run on smartphones, including Apple Inc.'s (AAPL) iPhone, Research In Motion Ltd.'s (RIMM) BlackBerry and handsets running Google Inc.'s (GOOG) Android operating system. For example, DEI Holdings Inc. (DEIXD) makes an app called Viper SmartStart that allows users to remotely lock and unlock their vehicles via an iPhone, BlackBerry or Android device.

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