Users of Ford’s Fordsync system have actually been using technology backed by Microsoft. The same holds true for vehicle infotainment systems found in recent cars by Kia, BMW Nissan and Fiat. Until now though, those vehicle infotainment systems have used customized versions of Windows by each car manufacturer, creating a different experience for each.
The Verge reports that Microsoft is reinventing their in-car strategy in a new concept that puts the familiar Windows tiled screen on the dashboard. For those who currently use a Windows 8 computer, Windows Phone device or an Xbox One, the UI of Microsoft’s new concept will look very familiar.
The in-car system is using a technology called MirrorLink which is currently found on Nokia’s Symbian phones and Sony’s Xperia Z handset. This technology mirrors a phones screen in a touch active environment on the cars dash board, much akin to Apple’s new CarPlay technology.
The idea is to create an environment that is both familiar and easy to use. Drivers will have big buttons, or tiles, that they can swipe through to get to the most important parts of the infotainment system. Microsoft’s in car system will also heavily rely on voice commands and will incorporate their new virtual assistant, Cortana, to make it easier for the driver to keep their eyes on the road.
The system, which was debuted at Microsoft’s Build conference, already has some early development partners including car manufacturers; Volkswagen, Honda, and Toyota. Aftermarket radio manufacturers Pioneer and Alpine are also backing the technology.
Microsoft has also said that development for their in car system will be easy for developers hoping that they will quickly create more apps for the car.