While automakers are doing their best to shorten their development cycles, they remain behind the curve in comparison with consumer electronics developers in general and the smartphone industry in particular. For quite some time now, automakers have been forced to guess which apps and interfaces will have the most appeal for prospective customers somewhere down the road.
Though it is still in development, HTML5 has potential to make that job easier, according to real-time operating system and in-vehicle infotainment platform provider QNX Software Systems.
“HTML5 code is applicable to different environments, including both phones and cars. It’s not limited to one or the other,” notes QNX product marketing manager Andy Gryc. “Developers can create pieces of code that have life on multiple different platforms. They can string those elements together to create an experience. It becomes less about where the code has to live than about how you construct an experience from the various pieces you have available.”
Gryc says HTML5 will give car makers the ability to create systems that have more flexibility after they are deployed, because developers can import fragments of HTML5 code from other different environments. “This will help them create human-machine interfaces that will live far beyond their original deployment. That’s one of the key things that the car makers we’re talking to are trying to solve – so what they are shipping today doesn’t become immediately stale.”
An interface can be designed to be extensible by importing HTML5 code from other mobile or cloud environments. “Data exchanges are based on XML, so there is a unified way to exchange data, and cascading style sheets give a visual representation to the structural elements of the HTML5 portion of the code. Developers can change the ‘look and feel’ by changing the style sheets. They can expand the world of the car into a lot of the stuff that the mobile is delivering.”
Not surprisingly, QNX believes it can help automakers deploy HTML5 effectively. “We have a great vision for where this can go, and an ability to help customers get there.”