Microsoft shows off 'Windows for cars' concept

Microsoft shows off 'Windows for cars' concept

Summary: With its own personal assistant Cortana coming, Microsoft has lifted the lid on its ambition to bring the Windows Phone experience to the dashboard regardless of whether it's powered by Windows, Linux or Android.

TOPICS: Windows, Microsoft

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  • Windows IVI

    As ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley reported earlier, Microsoft is staffing up its Internet of Things team ahead of a bigger push into consumer products, rather than its previous focus on enterprise and industry.

    Steve Teixeira, who joined Microsoft's Internet of Things team to take up that challenge, outlined a few ways Redmond will tackle Android's rise in embedded systems at last week's Build conference, as well showing off Microsoft's answer to Apple's own Siri-supported CarPlay.

    Microsoft recently added Cortana to Windows Phone 8.1 and, according to Teixeira, the voice-controlled personal assistant will have a key role to play in in-vehicle infotainment systems where voice is an ideal input mode.

    Teixeira's demo of a concept Windows in-vehicle dashboard at Build suggests Microsoft hasn't yet integrated Cortana with its IVI system yet, but the feature will help Microsoft overcome minimise the time a driver needs to look away from the road. 

    Ford, Kia, BMW, Nissan, and Fiat already use either Windows Embedded or Windows Automtotive in their vehicles, however, Teixeira noted that Microsoft had traditionally left the design of the user-experience to the automotive maker.

    "The way folks have been doing this today is using Embedded as the core OS kernel upon which they would build their own user experience [and] value add. We didn't really have a point of view of what should we paint on the dashboard of the car," he noted.

    Microsoft now wants Windows Phone to power IVI displays but wants to do more than "blasting the phone UI to the dashboard", Teixeira said. By contast, Apple's CarPlay connects an iPhone to the car through a Lightning cable, using a connection based on a streaming H.264 video feed that returns user input from the touchscreen.

    "We're going to create a world where I can bring my Windows device into my vehicle," said Teixeira, adding that the "predominant" standard it will use to do so (though there are more than one) is Mirrorlink, which Nokia was an early supporter of.

  • Tiles, pins and the Start page

    The IVI dashboard concept demoed at Build uses Windows' 'Tiles', and would allows the user to pin common tasks to the UI.

    The Start page also includes basic safety information, such as speed limits.

    The user can switch between different views, for example, between navigation or "now playing" for music.

Topics: Windows, Microsoft

Liam Tung

About Liam Tung

Liam Tung is an Australian business technology journalist living a few too many Swedish miles north of Stockholm for his liking. He gained a bachelors degree in economics and arts (cultural studies) at Sydney's Macquarie University, but hacked (without Norse or malicious code for that matter) his way into a career as an enterprise tech, security and telecommunications journalist with ZDNet Australia. These days Liam is a full time freelance technology journalist who writes for several publications.

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  • BSOD

    gives a new meaning to the blue screen of death.
    • gives a new meaning to the blue screen of death.

      Are you born that stupid or Did it gain with age
      • You Ask For It

        When you respond to a troll with an even more trollish response look at all the flags and votes you get. You may be right considering this one even stutters but it does not excuse your direct insults. While I agree with you I still gave you a flag for that.
    • Android makes for great attack drones

      just ask that triathlete in Australia...
  • BSOD

    gives a new meaning to the blue screen of death.
  • I can't say I am looking forward to the crashes that are sure to follow!

    Aside from the fact that it is windows, I am not sure additional distractions are what we need (even when it is working) in our cars. I pass someone on the road nearly every day who's driving is adversely affected by talking on or using a phone while driving.
  • clutter

    Screens seem to cluttered for something that's meant to be located down and to the right of the driver's sight line. To see the screen, you have to actually focus and read; a radio/player isn't completely catastrophic by itself with just a few nobs and little or no text; but that thing you've got in the slideshow has way to much text to be located in that spot for use by the driver.

    The convenience of the physical location for the manufacturer shouldn't be an excuse to do something *THAT* attention demanding.

    And no, I'm not a health&safety nazi trying to ban use of phones in cars. I like my phone, and I use it just fine in car and on my bicycle, hand free, but I locate it such that it sits in my peripheral vision. I don't need to look at it to know about and answer a call. If its displaying a moving map, I don't lose the road view to keep track of where I am. This center console thing though... eek.
    • Balancing Act

      While the screen may look cluttered at first look over time with experience is may not be. In any UI there are two conflicting needs. One for the first time users and one for the experienced users. To often formal studies are often based on first time users. This makes things really slow and cumbersome for the experienced ones.

      This problem with new versus experienced uses goes beyond just computer UI. When taste testing foods the sweeter one will always win. Long term studies show that the less sweet one has higher consumption rates. Over time people grow tired of the sweetness and start to look for the flavor underneath.
    • Lot of testing for usability vs distraction
      About 24:30 onwards
  • Microsoft shows off 'Windows for cars' concept

    A well designed concept. Give it to me, I'll gladly put this in my car to make it easier and more enjoyable to listen to music.
  • Microsoft is losing car market

    They need to do something good fast.
  • Windows 8: New Form of Road Rage

    Great. Now instead of getting so angry I want to throw my POS Windows 8 PC out the window because repeatedly swiping corners and sides only randomly works sometimes to make hidden magic menus appear, now I'll be so pissed off I'll just want to smash my whole car into the nearest telephone pole.

    For god's sake car makers, DON'T PUT WINDOWS 8 on ANYTHING in a car! If you do, you'll have invented a whole new category of road rage!
    Metro Critic