“Microsoft wants your next car or SUV to run Windows. It’s no joke. The world’s largest software company is revving up to position itself as the largest supplier of software to car manufacturers, with a custom version of Windows CE controlling everything from in-vehicle entertainment to satellite navigation,’ Declan McCullagh reports for CNET News.
“‘We’re providing the end-to-end telematic system,’ says Peter Wengert, an electrical engineer who is now a marketing manager for Microsoft’s Automotive Business Unit. Telematics is the auto industry’s term for networked cars. Microsoft is racing to take advantage of what appears to be an inexorable trend toward smarter cars,” McCullagh reports.
“‘When I say, ‘Get my driving directions,’ I can say ‘Get my cheapest gas,” Wengert said. ‘It finds the nearest gas station and the cheapest gas station because it knows the location of the car.’ Wengert also demonstrated how the in-car speakers could be used to make phone calls, but with less luck: it took him four tries before the computer got the phone number right,” McCullagh reports.
“‘What happens when I want to bring digital music into the car? It’s a little tough to stream that over cellular networks,’ Wengert says. ‘Our philosophy is to put your music on a storage device. That’s going to be a lot cheaper. People don’t want to have to buy an iPod to play their music.’ Apple Computer’s wildly popular iPod does offer a USB connection, but in an effort to curb piracy, hides the music files when it’s connected to a PC. Wengert says whether it will work on a Windows Automotive system is a ‘question for Apple.'”
Full article here.
MacDailyNews Take: We can imagine Microsoft “asking” Apple to adopt WMA support if they want to interface with vehicles. Of course, the consumer has to opportunity to speak quite loudly and with over 92 percent market share, the iPod is in many car buyers’ pockets already. We’ll have to see how this shakes out, but Apple needs to work harder to get iPods integrated better in cars. FM transmitters don’t cut it in areas with even moderate populations. We just want an in-dash unit with a simple slot that accepts the iPod like an 8-Track tape (and wouldn’t it be cool if you could rip straight from the CD slot to the iPod right in the car?). The in-dash unit’s display and controls would mirror and control the iPod’s functions. That would seem to be the simplest, easiest idea; one that would sell and be explained to the average car buyer easily. Come on, Apple, partner up with some large head unit makers that supply major auto makers and get this thing designed, built, and installed!