One step up, two steps back. That’s the likely path and pace of telematics, once loudly touted as the key to future mega-profitability for the U.S. auto industry. Telematics is the umbrella term for the PC-like hardware and software auto makers and electronics systems providers want to put inside your car, enabling you to surf the Internet, check e-mail or get directions to a motel when traveling. Devices also promise to warn when an engine problem is imminent or it’s time to change ...

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