Developments in the smartphone world are revolutionizing consumers’ in-car expectations. Besides Internet connectivity itself, the ability to select apps whenever they choose is probably one of the IVI features that consumers value the most. “Car OEMs face the difficult challenges of not only how best to integrate smartphones into their vehicles, but also how to ensure that the integration strategy remains viable throughout the life of the vehicle and multiple generations of smartphones,” comments Gareth Owen, principal analyst at ABI Research.
There are numerous technologies available for integrating a smartphone into a car’s head unit and enabling it to be controlled via the car’s IVI system (via voice, head unit touchscreen, or steering wheel controls). These range from industry standards such as MirrorLink to proprietary technologies such as RealVNC, Abalto Technologies’ WebLink, and Apple’s recently announced “iOS in the Car”.
Then there are UI screen replication technologies such as Miracast and MHL which are ideally suited for high bandwidth applications such as video streaming to rear-seat entertainment displays, and which could in the future also be used by MirrorLink, RealVNC, etc.
“It is inevitable that consumers will demand to be able to use their smartphones in cars, even in luxury cars equipped with the latest top-of-the-range fully embedded infotainment systems. However, OEMs producing lower-end mass-market cars will probably invest significantly less on developing their own systems and rely more on smartphones-centric infotainment solutions,” continues Owen.