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Sorting through operating systems in Detroit

John Day

John Day

Posted May 25, 2011

A panel at Telematics Update Detroit next week will discuss if not argue about automotive-grade operating systems such as Android, QNX, GENIVI, and Terminal Mode.

Teaser copy for the session suggests that with so many operating systems competing, software development and implementation is a minefield. Attendees will hear which operating systems are gaining traction with automakers, and how to improve the interaction between head units and smartphones.

Attendees are also invited to become expert in open and closed operating systems and related application programming interfaces (APIs) to understand how platforms will be licensed and evaluate the emerging options for third party developers. Panel members will analyze the likelihood of standardized operating systems and APIs to reduce development costs and entice third party developers to move toward the auto environment.

The panel session is timely. Frost & Sullivan is predicting that the North American in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) market will experience a rapid proliferation of smartphones in infotainment systems, with more products and services shifting to the mobile phone-based medium. One of the biggest challenges currently facing the market, however, is the lack of standardization of infotainment platforms.

Frost sees luxury vehicle makers continuing to provide proprietary infotainment solutions with a smartphone interface as an added feature, but the research firm says that overall, automakers are shifting focus from providing in-vehicle infotainment systems to enabling smartphone apps. They are reluctant to introduce systems fully dependent on smartphones that would replace their built-up infotainment systems, but will develop infotainment systems capable of communicating with the outside world either through smartphones or through a dedicated connection.

According to Frost’s research, 43 percent of consumers prefer an advanced human-machine interface (HMI) as standard equipment in the car. Nine percent of respondents use smartphone apps inside their car on a weekly basis. Navigation is their most popular app.

“Developing a standard protocol for easy integration of portable devices with vehicles is difficult because of varied OEM products and consumer electronics life cycles,” says Frost & Sullivan research analyst Krishna Jayaraman, who adds that a standard interfacing solution could help reduce the lifecycle gap between consumer and automotive electronics.

QNX, Krishna Javaraman, smartphones in infotainment systems, application programming interfaces, automotive grade operating systems, Android, Telematics Update Detroit, human-machine interface, in-vehicle infotainment (IVI), Terminal Mode, Frost & Sullivan, GENIVI

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John DayJohn Day recently launched John Day’s Automotive Electronics News ( to provide news and feature coverage of the automotive electronics industry. Earlier he wrote for Auto Electronics magazine, Auto E-lectronics, EE Times, and other business and engineering publications. Visit John Day

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