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mercedes-benz-keynoteMercedes-Benz announced a new cloud-connected dashboard computer called “mbrace2” that provides access to 3G Internet, apps such as Facebook and over-the-air software updates. The company announced the new product at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

We mentioned in our CES 2012 preview that in-car connected technology would be a major trend this year, and now it appears Mercedes-Benz will be at the forefront of this revolution. Ford also is being proactive in this space with updates and new apps for its connected Sync system.

The mbrace2 connected dashboard is a successor to the mbrace telematics system, which was Mercedes-Benz’s first connected solution. But this takes the idea further with “Mercedes-Benz Apps,” which includes open web browsing and apps for Facebook, Google, Yelp, stocks and news headlines.

The connected system will also include “remote access capabilities” such as “Travel Zones/geo-fences, remote vehicle health diagnostics, Curfew Minder, Driving Journal, Speed Alerts, Valet Protect, and Remote Horns & Lights.”

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Daimler AG Chairman and Mercedes-Benz head Dieter Zetsche (seen above) stressed that the mbrace2 system would help car electronics take the important leap it hadn’t previously because of over-the-air software updates. He noted you wouldn’t take your car in for software updates just like you wouldn’t bring your phone back to the store for updates.

“You might know someone who drives a 20-year-old car, but do you know anyone who uses a 20-year-old mobile phone?” Zetsche said.

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