Microsoft shows off new 'Windows in the car' concept to take on Apple's CarPlay

Posted:
in General Discussion edited April 2014
Software giant Microsoft is planning to revamp its in-car offerings after suffering setbacks with the existing Sync platform, unveiling a new "Windows in the car" initiative at the company's annual Build conference in San Francisco.




Microsoft's new automotive platform sports a similar architecture to Apple's CarPlay, using a mobile device running Windows Phone to power the in-car display. The system, which the company says is still a concept, was demonstrated last week by Microsoft product executive Steve Teixeira and first noticed by The Verge.

Visually, the system looks like a cross between Windows 8 and Windows Phone. Microsoft's famous Live Tiles have been included, and the touch-targeted interface is paginated to allow for expandability. Users can also enjoy what Teixeira calls "a really nifty swishy sound" when moving between pages.

According to Teixeira, Windows in the car will be open to both third-party developers and automobile manufacturers. During one demonstation, the system was shown with the ability to control vehicle functions -- such as turning on and off a defrosting system and tuning the radio -- and displaying hyper-localized navigation information like whether or not the vehicle was currently in a school zone.



"There's this opportunity for application developers to also participate in this ecosystem in a couple of different ways," Teixeira said. "You can imagine that, maybe if my car's in park, I can run any kind of arbitrary app, you know, project that up to this screen. But if my car's in drive mode, one of the things that we will aim to do is enable application builders to write apps that conform with good, safe drive mode behavior and safe drive mode user interface standards."

Microsoft has been testing the concept in both simulators and real-world vehicles, with one slide in the presentation showing badges from marques Ford, Kia, BMW, Nissan, and Fiat. Windows in the car is based on the industry standard MirrorLink protocol, which likely opens the door to aftermarket adoption as well due to the variety of automotive electronics manufacturers -- including Sony and Alpine -- that have committed to ship products compatible with the standard.

Though there is no word on when Windows in the car will be available, its debut comes less than two months after Microsoft's existing in-car platform, Sync, was dealt a body blow. Automotive behemoth Ford, Microsoft's largest partner for Sync, announced in February that it would stop producing Sync-equipped vehicles and instead turn to a new BlackBerry-built system.

Apple's own infotainment system, CarPlay, was officially announced by the company in March at the Geneva Motor Show. A rebranding of the "iOS in the Car" functionality unveiled by the company last year, CarPlay will debut in select vehicles this year from partners Volvo, Honda, Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar, Hyundai, and Ferrari. Future partners include Ford, Chevrolet, BMW, Kia, Toyota, Nissan, Mitsubishi and more.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 98
    "powerpoint" does not an operating system make....
  • Reply 2 of 98
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 33,408member
    One thing I'd like to see from in-car information systems would be the inclusion of the currently posted legal speed limit for the location being traveled.
  • Reply 3 of 98
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,426member
    Microsoft really are keen to find away to get into 'mobile' aren't they?
  • Reply 4 of 98
    timmymantimmyman Posts: 31member

    Will you be able to plug in a mouse and keyboard to get "real work" done?

  • Reply 5 of 98
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member

    The only original thought the company has ever had and they completely ruin it by deciding to still copy everything done by everyone else immediately after.

  • Reply 6 of 98
    hydrogenhydrogen Posts: 269member
    Ok, one clear criteria to find out the cars I will NOT buy, under any circumstances
  • Reply 7 of 98
    theothergeofftheothergeoff Posts: 2,081member

    This is the Old PC model, that Microsoft was so successful at.

    Take expensive hardware, add software that makes it easier to use, charge the OEM, not the consumer.

     

    If this was old microsoft, Ballmer would be  telling everyone that 'once Microsoft ships, everyone will see how crappy the current software is,' and ship basically the same stuff but specific to support only MS products (See NT, Win95, LongHorn).

     

    Shipping concept at this point the the game will be the death knell to MS however,   Google (with perpetual beta), and Apple (don't announce until you're ready to ship), make for real products, in a competitive auto marketplace.

     

    I still shake my head at Ford choosing BBY's system... Other than QNX being rock solid, I think this speaks volumes of the relationship between Ford and MS, and less about BBY being the right interface (other than Ford can always buy BBY if they fail, and take it in house).

  • Reply 8 of 98
    asciiascii Posts: 5,941member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post



    Microsoft really are keen to find away to get into 'mobile' aren't they?

    "Windows in the Car" - another double meaning? 

    CarPlay is a bit of an unfortunate name, driving is a responible activity, and you shouldn't really call products that go in the car "play."

  • Reply 9 of 98
    I will not buy a car that has MS or Android in it!
  • Reply 10 of 98
    theothergeofftheothergeoff Posts: 2,081member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

     

    The only original thought the company has ever had and they completely ruin it by deciding to still copy everything done by everyone else immediately after.


    But it's the microsoft way...  ours does EVERYTHING... why choose theirs?

     

    Eventually everything is nothing.  Supporting a physical keyboard, stylus, and mouse  and touch commands, doesn't solve problems.. it creates them.   This is what happened to NT.  A great OS to begin with, is suffered 10 years because it had to support 'everything back to DOS 6.0, and Win 95, as well as be a better Unix than Linus, and  do Object Orientation (real object orientation, not object drawing programming), and support.

     

    I use Excel 2010 as a condition of my employment.   I often do all my setup and D/E work in Excel 2003 or even Numbers, and then port it over, because it's easier than working in the current environment.   Crazy.   It's backwards. 

  • Reply 11 of 98
    marzellmarzell Posts: 2member
    Microsoft couldn't exist if it weren't for Apple.
  • Reply 12 of 98
    quadra 610quadra 610 Posts: 6,756member

    My car already has all the windows it needs. 

     

    And they aren't poorly-designed or maddeningly frustrating. 

  • Reply 13 of 98
    hill60hill60 Posts: 6,992member

    Why would you want live tiles in a car?

     

    So you can crash when distracted by Facebook updates?

  • Reply 14 of 98
    hill60hill60 Posts: 6,992member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Quadra 610 View Post

     

    My car already has all the windows it needs. 

     

    And they aren't poorly-designed or maddeningly frustrating. 


     

    The windows of my car contain live weather updates, traffic updates, directions and speed limit notifications they even contain advertising provided by billboards.

     

    They also work as a primitive form of air conditioning when wound up and down.

  • Reply 15 of 98
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member
    Originally Posted by Quadra 610 View Post

    My car already has all the windows it needs. And they aren't poorly-designed or maddeningly frustrating. 

     

    And they tend not to break as often.

  • Reply 16 of 98
    gumbigumbi Posts: 148member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by TheOtherGeoff View Post

     

    This is the Old PC model, that Microsoft was so successful at.

    Take expensive hardware, add software that makes it easier to use, charge the OEM, not the consumer.

     

    If this was old microsoft, Ballmer would be  telling everyone that 'once Microsoft ships, everyone will see how crappy the current software is,' and ship basically the same stuff but specific to support only MS products (See NT, Win95, LongHorn).

     

    Shipping concept at this point the the game will be the death knell to MS however,   Google (with perpetual beta), and Apple (don't announce until you're ready to ship), make for real products, in a competitive auto marketplace.

     

    I still shake my head at Ford choosing BBY's system... Other than QNX being rock solid, I think this speaks volumes of the relationship between Ford and MS, and less about BBY being the right interface (other than Ford can always buy BBY if they fail, and take it in house).




    That was misreported.  If you look a few days later after the rash of Ford is dropping Microsoft stories, you will find the muffled updates...  Basically, what is happening is that Ford is spec'ing out the next version - and so, they will be taking bids on suppliers for the next version - as happens with every new version.  So, basically, this is a normal RFQ process.  They may end up still using MS - or not.  Just depends on the bids.

  • Reply 17 of 98
    chipsychipsy Posts: 287member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ascii View Post

     

    "Windows in the Car" - another double meaning? 

    CarPlay is a bit of an unfortunate name, driving is a responible activity, and you shouldn't really call products that go in the car "play."


    I see your point but then again Apple probably wanted the name to reflect that it worked more or less the same as AirPlay.

    P.S. I find it strange that Microsoft would go with Windows in the Car as brand name. Why not just use the old Sync name and thus launch it as a new and improved Sync. The Windows in the Car name has too much of a 'me to' feeling, while Microsoft actually already made an attempt at this.

  • Reply 18 of 98
    gumbigumbi Posts: 148member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Marzell View Post



    Microsoft couldn't exist if it weren't for Apple.



    Yeah, MS just put together that concept, started testing in simulators, started working with partners, all since carplay was announced.

     

    The reality is that this must have been in the works for some time. 

  • Reply 19 of 98
    gumbigumbi Posts: 148member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post



    One thing I'd like to see from in-car information systems would be the inclusion of the currently posted legal speed limit for the location being traveled.



    Based on one of the screen shots in the demo - I think this does.

  • Reply 20 of 98
    asciiascii Posts: 5,941member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Chipsy View Post

     

    I see your point but then again Apple probably wanted the name to reflect that it worked more or less the same as AirPlay.


    Yep, that must have been what they were thinking.

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