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Renault has announced that it will integrate tablet devices into its ZOE and Clio 4 models in 2012.

COO Carlos Tavares revealed the new device, known as R-Link, at LeWeb today.

It will include 50 apps when released, but Tavares admitted that Renault does not have the expertise to get the best out of the device - so has challenged developers to create new apps.

Both models will come with a tablet as standard, but owners must pay an additional fee to subscribe to certain features.

They will be downloadable directly to the tablet inside the car or via a ‘My Renault’ account from the R-Link Store.

So drivers can keep their eyes on the road, the tablets will feature steering wheel mounted controls and speech recognition.

Tavares said the ability to integrate social media into its car was key to Renault’s long-term business plan.

Social is paramount to Renault. We have a one century history, it is a humanistic company linked to French society, so we feel connected to everything around social.”

Tavares said R-Link opens up the possibility for social location apps such as Foursquare to be integrated into the car, so drivers could get recommendations for restaurants or other services while on the move.

However as most drivers will probably already have those apps on their smartphones, the bigger potential is probably for navigation or traffic-related apps as well as music players.

As part of its commitment to developing new technology by engaging with third parties, Renault is also launching an incubator project with the Paris Region Innovation Laboratory, which will launch in March 2012. Applications are due in January, and forms can be found on the City of Paris website.

David Moth

Published 9 December, 2011 by David Moth @ Econsultancy

David Moth is Editor and Head of Social at Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via Google+ and LinkedIn

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