Connected Car Adds More Apps

11/19/2013

Producers of technology for the vehicle face a variety of issues when designing for automobiles. One concern that often comes up is the lifespan of vehicles versus the lifespan of mobile devices. Most people will have traded in their smartphone multiple times in during the period in which they own their car.

Connected-car solutions deal with this fact in various ways. Abalta Technologies, www.abaltatech.com, recently announced updates to a solution that allows car manufacturers to sync in-vehicle-infotainment systems with smartphones. The company’s WEBLINK software now supports four major smartphone platforms, namely Apple iOS, Android, BlackBerry, and Windows. Abalta will showcase the technology during the LA Auto Show Connected Car Expo, taking place this week in Los Angeles.

An automaker can integrate the WEBLINK client software into a vehicle in order to offer drivers access to in-vehicle apps and services. WEBLINK uses the driver’s phone as a primary computing device, and the vehicle head unit acts as a terminal to the phone. The driver has access to the technological advancements of newer phones without needing to upgrade the vehicle.


WEBLINK uses the Web browser in the mobile phone, so there is no need to maintain a browser in the vehicle head-unit, says Abalta. Additionally, drivers have the flexibility to use a variety of phone types with their vehicles.

Apps for the vehicle are becoming more common and sought-after by drivers. Automakers and third-party suppliers continue to roll out new connected-car solutions. For instance, Ford, www.ford.com, has promoted its OpenXC platform, which is designed to bring apps into the car. Developed through a partnership between Ford Research and Innovation and Bug Labs, www.buglabs.com, OpenXC is an open-source hardware and software platform for application development for the vehicle.

The connected car has staying power, and Multimedia Research Group, www.mrgco.com, says total connected car shipments will amount to approximately $98.4 billion by 2018. With this increase in technologically enhanced vehicles, systems to add apps to the car will likely grow in importance.

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