MirrorLink Will Open Up to Developers to Help Create More Car-Friendly Apps
The Car Connectivity Consortium wants to get more developers making apps that interface with car dashboard displays. So, as announced at the CCC Summit recently in Tokyo, they’re opening up their MirrorLink standard to all developers in the near future, making it easy for developers to create applications deisgned to be used in cars.
MirrorLink uses a variety of standardized protocols to bring phone features to a dashboard display simply by connecting a cable or through wireless connectivity. VNC is used for transmitting the phone display and commands. Bluetooth can be used to transmit audio, along with the RTP protocol. These are designed so that many devices will be compatible with the standard, not just certain phones.
MirrorLink was originally introduced as a limited-access protocol for certified developers, but in 2013, the opening of the protocol will allow for any app that wishes to interface with a car to work without explicit approval. This means that hypotheetically, an app like *Spotify* could allow users to skip tracks and play/pause simply from the steering wheel controls.
According to Mika Rytkonen, chairman and president of the CCC, “Availability of apps is also a critical validating component for the standard as more product manufacturers deploy MirrorLink in cars, phones and aftermarket head units. Equally important, the milestone signals to mobile carriers and OS vendors that MirrorLink’s footprint will only continue its exponential growth and is on track to become the dominant global connected-car platform.”
The benefits extend beyond just creating new markets for developers. Consumers will benefit as well: many in-car dashboard systems are proprietary, and interoperability is hindering much innovation and usability in this space. If MirrorLink increases in value, then it may become a wider standard, and such functionality could be in greater demand from car buyers. Users who don’t have cars with pre-installed dashboard systems will be glad to know that Pioneer has an after-market dashboard system that is compatible with MirrorLink coming in 2013.
The CCC will release version 1.0.1 of MirrorLink to all developers starting in early 2013. iOS doesn’t appear to be supported yet, though many of the core technologies in use could eventually be part of iOS apps, especially as developers get their hands on it.