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roadtune1.jpgThe RoadTune Universal is a hands-free charging kit that packs a ton of awesome features, whilst retaining a relatively cheap price tag at only £19.99 from MobileFun

In terms of design, the RoadTune is rather attractive, made from high-quality polycarbonate and ABS composite, which is strong enough if you were to drop it. It's also worth mentioning that the kit can be extended to a width of 85mm, perfect for use with larger handsets such as the Samsung Galaxy Note. 

One of the RoadTune's headline features is its ability to hold your smartphone safely and securely, charging it from your vehicle's 12v or 24v power outlet at the same time - something you won't get with all universal hands-free kits out there.

As well as this, the kit also offers up a built-in FM transmitter for connecting to your in-car radio, to allow the streaming of music and calls through your car's speakers. That's not all, because there's also a built-in microphone for making calls from your handset. 


If you travel regularly, and own a smartphone which you use a lot, then the RoadTune is worthy of your attention - after all, it does a lot, and is rather inexpensive.

Now this is rather cool. Not wanting to miss out on a tech bandwagon car makers are jumping in with their own smart watches. Nissan has this little beauty, the Nissan Nismo Concept Watch, which it is offering buyers of its high-end cars.

It links with a smartphone via Bluetooth to offer a mix of standard smartwatch stuff - messaging, heart rate monitoring, etc with information about the Nissan car, including fuel consumption, average speeds etc.

It is rather striking looking device that is available in a trio of designs. It charges via USB and it will run for seven days before it need a recharge.

"Wearable technology is fast becoming the next big thing and we want to take advantage of this innovative technology to make our Nismo Brand more accessible," said Gareth Dunsmore, marketing communications general manager at Nissan Europe.

"On track, Nissan uses the latest biometric training technologies to improve the performance of our Nissan Nismo Athletes and it is this technology we want to bring to our fans to enhance their driving experience and Nismo ownership."

There's no word yet on release date or pricing, but I think this could a be a very hot trend.

IFA 2013 - Ford's very cool AppLink - Video

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Ford's big focus at IFA was on AppLink, the dashboard's way of hooking up to your iPhone, Android or BlackBerry device to offer hands-free, voice activated, in-car versions of popular apps while on the go.

FA 2013 saw Ford announce a number of new partners for AppLink, including and TomTom navigation to follow its recent deal with Spotify.

Gerald from Tech Digest sat down for a quick demo with Ford's Scott Lyons, head of European Business development.

ford-sync-top.jpgFord has one upped the ante in the way cars are integrating consumer technology by revealing a host of new apps for its AppLink system at IFA.

AppLink (which essentially connects a smartphone to Ford's SYNC connected dashboard system) now works some really interesting content company and service providers including Spotify, Tom Tom and They are mainly activated by the users's voice.

Other new additions that debuted at IFA include apps from ADAC, Eventseeker, Audioteka, DIE WELT, Cityseeker by Wcities, Autoread and AskWiki. Users can now search for new apps via a catalogue that Ford will be introducing soon. There are apparently over a million cars across the globe that have been kitted out with with AppLink-enabled dashboards on the road around the globe.

The company has also made the significant move of opening the API to developers to create their own apps.

"The opportunity really is to embrace the creativity that exists out there", said Ford's Jim Buczkowski, director of electrical and electronics systems today.

"Smartphones have created a platform for individuals and small groups to become innovators and really focus on consumer needs. The strategy we have with AppLink is to create a platform and interfaces that allows those developers to develop their applications and experiences from a phone and allow them to work in a vehicle."

It will be interesting to see how other car manufacturers respond.

New Ford Fiesta put to the test in Rome traffic

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The Ford Fiesta is known for being affordable and reliable and has been a great car for all types of motorists, be it city dwellers or yummy mummies, for decades. To keep up with the times and a fast moving car market, the Ford Fiesta has been boosted and reimagined ahead of 2013 and now comes packed with gadgets and tools wrapped in a range of bright colours - including the new copper and yellow.

Which better way to put a new car to the test than to take it for a spin in one of the most demanding cities to drive in? That's exactly what we did: A couple of weeks ago we headed to the Eternal City with Ford to road-test the new and improved Fiesta.

Driving in Rome


The route started at the famous Cinecittà studios (set of the film Gangs of New York and HBO's Rome) and took us to the heart of the ancient Rome, past the Colosseum, before directing us back to cinema city. Very responsive on both steering wheel and breaks, the Fiesta was a smooth ride which let us flow along with the traffic and stop with ease. The latter was put to the test when a well-dressed elderly gentleman holding his hands up like a hard rocker appeared from nowhere and walked straight into the road in front of us. Alert as we are, we of course stopped and let him continue to wherever he was going undisturbed, but had we not spotted him the newly added Active City Stop would certainly have kicked in - it stops the car automatically if it senses an object in front of it (if you're not going over 15km/h that is).

MyKey, Emergency Assist and Sync Bluetooth

So apart from the Active City Stop, what's new and improved on the Ford Fiesta?

The new model is the first car in Europe to feature Ford's MyKey technology, which enables you to place restrictions on younger drivers (and journalists...) and not let them have too much fun when driving around in the car. Using the technology, you can set a top speed limit and a maximum volume on the audio system. And if anyone in the car has forgotten their seatbelt, you can make sure that annoying beeping sound doesn't go away until they buckle up.

Speaking of the audio system, this time around Ford has put the buttons that control the car's Sync Bluetooth audio system on the steering wheel and the voice control which means you don't have to look away from the road when changing your music or looking up a phone number on your iPhone.

Another new addition is the Emergency Assist, which will call the emergency services automatically should you be in an accident. Using your phone it enables hands-free communication with the response unit and will provide them with GPS coordinates to where you are so help can find you.

If you're interested in investing in a new car in 2013, the Ford Fiesta will start rolling out in January, starting at £9,795. For a full price list and in-depth look at all the shiny new technology head over to the Ford website.

car-2-go-image.jpgSuper simple car-sharing service car2go has launched in the capital this week, bringing a fleet of smart cars to Londoners who want to get around but don't want the hassle of looking after and paying a small fortune for their own wheels.

The car2go service from Daimler and Europcar works a bit like the popular Barclays "Boris bikes" we're all so used to seeing whizz around London. You register with car2go and you're sent a membership card, you then locate a car and activate it by swiping your card against the reader on the window, drive it around as much as you like and then return it to any "Home Area". As we're such geeks here at Shiny Shiny, we were really happy to hear that there's an app to makes the whole process even easier too, allowing users to locate the nearest available car2go car wherever they are.

The service is already popular in 16 cities across the globe and it's now here in London after being initially rolled out to the boroughs of Islington and Sutton to begin with.

Stefan Mueller, CEO of car2go Europe, said:

"A lot of Londoners don't need or want a car all the time but enjoy the freedom that driving brings. car2go gives the best of both worlds - the ability to go where you want, when you want - and in comfort - but without all the costs associated with owning, running and insuring a car full-time."

That's essentially what's made Boris bikes such a staple part of London transport. It'd be great to have a car, bike or even some crazy helicopter all the time, but we're busy, we don't have much space and wow can us Londoners drink, so we're just broke most of the time anyway.

As you'd expect car2go isn't dirt cheap, it'll cost you 35p per minute to drive around the city, which will be billed directly to your account. But for the odd important journey and taking your Christmas shopping home without losing the will to live on the bus, it's totally worth it.

However, it's not just all about saving you money and allowing you to be lazy now and again, the car2go cars are based on the smart mhd, an efficient, compact two-seater which emits just 98g/km of CO2. So you're kinda doing your bit for the environment too by not blowing what little money you have on your own car. Or at least that's what we're going to tell ourselves next time we hop in one...

There are a number of similar car-sharing services available, especially here in London, but car2go is arguably the most user-friendly, allowing you to just swipe in and out of cars when you need to with ease.

Of course we don't imagine every Londoner will be battling for the car2go vehicles from the word go as much as they did (and still do) for the Boris bikes, but for one-off journeys they're a perfect solution and much cheaper than owning an actual car.

Until the end of this year customers can register for car2go and get 30 minutes of driving loaded onto their accounts, so if you're interested sign up soon.

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