Last month, Apple introduced CarPlay, a feature that had previously been demonstrated and dubbed “iOS in the Car.” The basic function of CarPlay is to allow drivers the ability to connect their iPhone to their car for a hands-free, easy to access heads-up display on the dashboard. Last week, Microsoft unveiled its own version of CarPlay using a Windows-based operating system that the company hopes will compete directly with iOS.
At Microsoft’s Build Developer Conference last week, the company demonstrated a prototype version of its answer to CarPlay. The concept software allows users to mirror what is shown on a Windows-based device’s screen onto the dashboard display. The system uses Mirrorlink, which already exists on Nokia and Sony smartphones, but is expected to gain popularity to become the standard for in-car connectivity. According to The Verge, Volkswagen, Honda, Toyota, and Citroen are all working on cars with Mirrorlink support.
Microsoft partner and Director of Program Management Steve Teixeira was on-hand to demonstrate the so-called “Windows in the Car.” He explained to attendees that developers will be able to create apps specifically for the car. The demo revealed an app marketplace as part of the user interface. It is described as looking like “a miniature version of Windows 8.”
Windows in the Car is far from ready for launch. Teixeira did not mention an estimated launch date. However, it took Apple nearly a year to go from demonstrating iOS in the Car at last year’s Worldwide Developer Conference to officially launching CarPlay this past March. Windows has a lengthy road to travel.