SAN FRANCISCO (CBS 5) – Apps in cars used to be exotic and often the realm of high-priced German cars, but that’s changing fast. The latest evidence is Chrysler’s announcement that the 2012 Ram truck and Viper sports car will have a selection of apps powered by Sprint.

Expect these apps will allow connected dashboard access to text messaging, streaming radio, search for navigation and likely Facebook and Yelp. Sound scary? Frankly, it is. We’re in the middle of an awkward decade or so between the arrival of new distractions and the arrival of semi self-driving cars. I recently did a piece on the nature of distraction behind the wheel.

If you want a taste of what Chrysler will do (and possibly surpass by the time they do it), check out my recent video of the connected services in the 2013 BMW 640i Gran Coupe.

Philosophically, I think carmakers have to go down

this path for two reasons: 1.) They’ve already let the cat out of the bag and 2.) if they don’t give people safe, voice-operated, easy to digest connected services in the dash we’ll just juggle our phones while driving and that’s far worse.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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