Clarion is launching a Cloud-based infotainment service to add to its offering of traditional in-car products.

The US-based division of Japanese electronics group Hitachi said its "Smart Access" cloud-based telematics service, which will be launched in June in North America and Japan, features smartphone connectivity and the ability to access a wide range of smartphone apps. These include car maintenance, safety management and emergency calling services.

The service will be rolled out globally in stages and Clarion plans to add additional content later.

The introduction of Smart Access will transform the company "from an in-vehicle information equipment manufacturer to an in-vehicle information solution provider," Clarion said.

It added that, with people wanting to be connected everywhere at all times, it was essential for Clarion to offer a broader portfolio than its traditional range of in-car infotainment products.

"As it becomes increasingly more common for people to connect to the internet and use its applications globally, the ability to continuously deliver new features, functionality and benefits through an internet connection in the vehicle will become a universal necessity," Clarion said.

Starting in June new Clarion products will be equipped with a Smart Access connection interface that will be open-sourced. That means carmakers can have connectivity with their own in-vehicle equipment and with products built by others.