Even if they have a good sense of what' s needed in terms of software for infotainment systems, it'll be interesting to see how long OEMs can stave off the likes of Apple and Google. This is a fascinating market and one with a great deal of opportunity to be had. I would be surprised if more hardware companies aren't preparing offerings for CES 2015 and beyond.
This is quite interesting. I suspect android has a big advantage here since the car manufacturers can make their own version, just like many cell phone providers have done. Apple, being a closed system will have a much harder entry. They would basically need to create a new product that is intended to be the car computer. I can't even really imagine them doing that.
There might not be as much a battle between Android and iOS in automobile sector as its currently seen in smartphones. Are there enough applications that are needed in car that can be supported by these OSs.
@Sheetal, that would have been my original question. But we are beginning to see a host of new apps that drivers would find convenient in using while in their cars. Parking space finder is one of the prime apps.
There are other apps, such as allowing a driver to let their friends known "automatically" where he is driving. (You know, your friends are waiting for you at a restaurant, and keep texting you, "where are you?")
These apps are currently developed for either iOS or Android phones, assuming that drivers will bring their own smartphones into their cars. But letting drivers directly interact with their smartphones through their handsets' tiny screen can't be safe.
Hence, wouldn't it be nice if an in-vehicle system can somehow run that app, display it intelligently that fit on the in-vehicle screen?
The argument goes both ways. Being able to customize Android means that it might have very different looks and versions between automakers, which would complicate things for app developers.
I don't think cars should integrate closely enough with either that it particularly matters which you use. Cars last a lot longer than phones. If the car you bought in 2003 integrated with a Palm and the one in 2007 with Blackberry both would be pretty useless today.
All you really need is integration of your maps/directions and music. Having it capable of going hands free and enable voice texting is OK for now, but both will probably be banned in most states before long since drivers in a hands free call are very nearly as distracted as those holding the phone - it isn't the driving with one hand that causes problems (many of us do that even when not holding anything) but the conversation itself.
The automakers ought to get together and create an open standard that they support and let Android and Apple write to that API. One wonders what a Fandroid or an Apple fanboy would do if their brand of choice made a deal with the "other guys". Would they buy a different car, switch their phone, or do without the integration?
There is already a standards body for smartphone to car connectivity and that is the Car Connectivity Consortium which is creating a specification called MirrorLink. Its members include both smartphone and automakers and much work has been done to address the driver distraction issues.
@junko. Quick answers to a quick question ;) Samsung? Maybe but I can't speak for them. iPhone? I think you already know the answer to that (it's 'no', probably "hell no")
MiraCast just replicates the screen display. MirrorLink does something similar but it also includes in the protocol how to send car controls to the phone, includes bi-derections audio transfer as well as authentication of smartphones. I can introduce you to the architect as there is enough there for a whole new article and he'll explain it better than I can.
First of all, cars really seem like small potatos here. If every one of the 15 million cars sold in the USA had some Android or Apple presence, that's what, a couple of extra days. Android outsold all versions of Windows in 2013 by close o a 3:1 ratio, and it's pretty much a lock to be the first applications platform to sell over a billion in a year, next year.
From the automakers' prespective, they want the hot tech, particularly whrn they can package $50 in parts and sell thay as a $350 option. But an option it must remain, simply because they don't want to give me a reason to not buy their car based on that tech. As an Android user, I'm not about to pay real money for an iPhone interface of any kind.
From what you wrote here, it certainly sounds like Google may have a sound approach using Miracast... that is a standard, not just a Google thing. And it's a losing game to build the whole computer into a car... I've upgraded my Android tablet twice in the last four years, and I know Apple users who buy one pad and one phone new every year. Locking the whole platform in would be as silly as locking a $4000 TV into the "smart" functionality of a $50 Roku box. But build in standards to extend my device's UI to the car, and the car's sensory network to the device, and you'll have something.
I've read that Chevy has something calle BringGo which allows you to use your iPhone, Android, or Blackberry device to control the console's LCD screen and knobs.
What's interesting is that they put this in their smallest/cheapest cars (Spark, Sonic). I guess it makes sense. If you bring your own electronics, they don't have to provide any themselves.
I like this idea, though. These days, smartphone technology is moving so fast that a built-in GPS or 'smart radio' in a car is obsolete by the time the car is being sold. Makes more sense to link to an external device that can be upgraded as needed.
I'm designing infotainment and digital dashboards for high-end cars. I switched recently (last year) to Linux for that, so switching to Android wouldn't be an issue for me. Smartphone integration is becoming crucial for 2014, but I don't see it as an open platform for anybody to develop apps for our embedded systems, it's just too dangerous.
I see more like something similar to a MirrorLink where the smartphone sends the graphics + sound to the car and the car sends the touch screen coordinates + driver voice to the smartphone. This way we don't have the responsibility of a SW bug/crash from the phone that could disturb the driver while he is drivng, it's all in the hands of the smartphone app developer.
With a mirro link, there's would be also the possibility to send send the phone graphics directly to the digital dashboard (instead of the infotainment display) in lieu and place of the rear-view camera, this is the only way for a smartphone to get to the driver dashboard without impacting too much all the safety issues related to this critical display. The rear-view camera is displayed as an independant graphic layer without impacting the dashboard CPU load. In that particular case, there's no direct user feedback (of course, there's no touchscreen behind the steering wheel).
In 10 years, all today smartphones will be completely obsolete, not the cars. the mirror link feature could still work with future smartphones, only the car display resolution will be somehow bulky.
iOS in our embedded systems is a no-go as of today, it's closed and we have absolutely no experience in iOS real-time SW development. But a mirror link could be compatible with iOS aswell as Android.
Other than Android and Apple, there are several diverse systems viz QNX, Windows CE, Linux etc. present in available cars which manifests several years of experiences.
In General, Apple and Google are not car Tier-1's so them venturing into this area would be unimaginable as well as little less financially rewarding.
It would be interesting to hear how successful Google/Apple are with their offerings on CES 2014 towards Automotive infotainment. Apps integration into front unit would be a big draw if someone can bring it seemlesly into front.
MirrorLink/Miracast, Speech Integration, hands-free/eyes-free, Drivers assist, Audio/Video and Camera needs are so diverse that it may need different software trees altogether for Automotive Integration but these features would be key for any integrated solution.
We are psychlogically skewed to think smartphone integration into cars but that is little mixing up with overall car experience. We may additionally need to think of realtime part, safety and lifetime of the product.
They're not really after apps in embedded processors, are they? Like phones, if anything, I'd expect phone apps to run on separate application processors, They could interact with the car to an extent, but mostly via APIs that block the apos as necessary but never the car computers, even if the app procrssor or bridge go down.
Well Sync was a Ford thing, not a Microsoft thing and Ford dontated they Sync specs it to GENIVI (see genivi.org). Ironically Sync does not work with Windows Phones -well at least not the app part, the basic stuff over BT does work.