A few years ago, car manufacturers figured out that customers were getting tired of infotainment and navigation systems rendered archaic by the latest smartphones and tablets, and turned to technology companies for a more user-friendly alternative.
Now, everyone from Apple to Google supplies some form of in-car information and entertainment system to large automakers, some with better results than others. Microsoft has also dabbled in automotive infotainment, but its latest system (via Tech Radar) plays on its own Windows Phone concept. Called 'Windows in the Car', it isn't dissimilar to Apple's equivalent, CarPlay. Like CarPLay, it's an app-based system, neatly integrated with the car's touchscreen display system.
Anyone already used to Windows Mobile, or indeed Windows 8 and its various spin-offs, could probably get used to it pretty quickly. As Microsoft's demo video shows above, users can swish between various menus within the system, and touch app icons to access various functions. Apps like Maps, Xbox Radio, Amazon MP3, Spotify and more will all be available when the system arrives, though there's no set date for that just yet. As the video also shows, when the system freezes, bugs are still being ironed out--though Microsoft is testing it in vehicles out in the real world.
To tackle the thorny issue of driver distraction, Microsoft also hopes app developers will figure out ways of implementing driver-friendly interfaces to use when the car is in motion, as well as more in-depth functions that can be used when the car is parked. As well as application functions, all the latest infotainment attributes--making calls, reading emails--will be available. Running on Mirrorlink technology already supported by VW, Toyota, Honda and more, Windows in the Car could find its way into all manner of vehicles when it finally arrives.