MirrorLink should get a boost as a major car company will provide the feature next year, prompting phone suppliers to jump on the bandwagon and support the fledgling technology meant to simplify the use of smartphones with car radios.
Volkswagen will begin offering MirrorLink in all its mid and high-end radios during 2014, said Car Connectivity Consortium (CCC), which developed the MirrorLink standard. The commitment by Volkswagen will help break the standoff between smartphone makers and auto makers that has held up the technology. Until now, smartphone makers have been waiting for the automakers to adopt MirrorLink, before including it in their phones, said Alan Ewing of the CCC.
MirrorLink mirrors what’s on your smartphone onto the car radio screen (and controls it from the radio).
“With that in place, the handset guys have recognized there is a real market here, so we should see lots of handsets starting in the first half of 2014 with apps available following along,” he said adding, “Someone’s got to go first in a chicken and egg situation.”
Also, MirrorLink has begun certifying smartphones and car radios for its new V1.1 upgrade.
With the upgrade, the phone doesn’t have to be physically connected to the radio by USB; it can work over WiFi Direct, which is used in some leading phones like the Samsung S4.
Second, MirrorLink has finalized an app approval process for phone and auto makers to determine which apps are safe to run in the car while driving. So now when a phone or car maker wants an app to work with MirrorLink, it doesn’t have to create a proprietary app, it can publish a general app in the popular app stores.
By April 1 any third party developer will also be able to publish MirrorLink ready apps, said the CCC.
Between the VW adoption, and the new apps for MirrorLink, Ewing believes we’ll see a lot more smartphones with MirrorLink capability next year.
Additionally, he said RealVNC has developed a software stack that phone makers may use to create MirrorLink v1.1 ready phones, he said.
To date no aftermarket car radio has been approved for v1.1, but Ewing expects to see them approved by mid next year.