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WASHINGTON, DC (WUSA) -- Smartphones give us directions and sometimes even roadside assistance.

In most cases, that phone works separately from the dashboard, but new trends will change that.

"The focus of this car really showcases how consumer electronics are influencing the drive. So, we're seeing for the first time, things integrated that we've never seen in a car before," says QNX Software Systems Derek Kuhn.

QNX created a connected cockpit and showcased it inside a Bentley.

The curved touchscreen can display tweets, emails and navigation instructions right behind the wheel.

A Web app lets drivers lock doors or check the gas tank from their smartphone.

The company says it could be adapted to any price point.

Expanding dashboard technology is the goal of a program launched by Ford.

The automaker invited outside developers to take a crack at adding in-car apps to their Sync AppLink platform.

Ford AppLink Global Production Manager Julius Marchwicki says, "We know that consumers are reaching for their smartphones when their in-vehicle technology doesn't meet their needs. So, we want to give them the opportunity to control their applications hands-free, and in a voice-activated way."

A key challenge for any connected car is access to a new range of options without creating too many additional distractions.

Ford isn't the only automaker gearing up to put an apps system into its vehicles.

General Motors is developing a system that would be built in the car's infotainment system without the use of a smartphone.

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