One trend you should be aware of as an investor is that of the "connected car". Your vehicle can connect with the outside world through a dedicated modem, or -- increasingly these days -- through your smartphone.

At the recent Connected Car Conference in New York City, Roger Lanctot of Strategy Analytics spoke about the role of smartphones and modems in the vehicle: Besides entertainment, they can help sell cars, route motorists, and facilitate commerce through various payment options for tolls, parking, etc. If done properly, a connected car even can save lives and make driving safer.

Ford (NYSE:F), General Motors (NYSE:GM), and most other automakers are heavily embracing the shift toward smartphones as the conduit to the outside world. But Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) has a different approach to this technology. As Lanctot explains to Motley Fool analyst Rex Moore in the video below, this is one area, at least, where Tesla is not at the forefront of a new user experience.

Rex Moore owns shares of Tesla Motors. The Motley Fool recommends Ford, General Motors, and Tesla Motors. The Motley Fool owns shares of Ford and Tesla Motors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.