Mobile phones can be placed in a cradle in a car or connected to an in-car display using either wired or wireless solutions.
However, just mirroring a handset screen in an in-car display might not be the safest solution, either, said Shapiro. Under the "eyes-on-the-road, hands-on-the-wheel" principle, drivers probably need a user interface that offers necessary information quickly, handlessly, and sightlessly, Shapiro explained.
While "the user interface of your cellphones is designed to get 100 percent of your attention," this is a dangerous scenario in a car, he noted. "Drivers want to just glance down on the screen to make a quick decision."
Apple is known for its ambition to define a user interface in cars with its iOS in the Car. There have also been reports that "Apple wants to own your car's console with Maps and Siri integration."
Some car OEMs are cooperating with Apple, while others are developing their own approaches. Audi, for example, facilitates access to data on phone, while also allowing access to the cloud with real-time traffic and parking information, said Shapiro.
On one hand, automakers in search of next-generation cars are depending on hardware to deliver Advanced Driver Assistance Systems. On the other, they're increasingly aware that software is dictating the future of in-vehicle infotainment systems, observed Freescale's Loop. Whether the product is speech or gesture recognition, better communication with maps on the navigating system, or better integration between a car and a smartphone, automotive OEMs need software to tie it all together.
Even if car OEMs aren't exactly experts on apps development, they can be smart about developing "apps and ecosystems that can really add value to their brand experience," said Drue Freeman, senior vice president for global automotive sales and marketing at NXP Semiconductors.
— Junko Yoshida, Chief International Correspondent, EE Times