Integrating smartphones with in-car vehicle technology is nothing new. Bluetooth connection for making calls, and playing music and plugging in via USB has been around for years.

Full integration of smartphones into a car's systems hasn't really been seen yet beyond the concept stage. One of the main issues is the much slower model cycle of a car. A flashy integrated phone at a vehicle's launch quickly becomes out of date as the phones themselves are replaced year-on-year.

Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), BlackBerry, Denso and RealVNC have been working on a new integrated infotainment system. The new system projects the display of the smartphone onto the vehicle's own central touch screen.

This means that you can make use of the phone's own features as well as approved applications via the vehicle's infotainment center. This gives drivers a larger screen to access, safer than attempting to use the smaller screen of a smartphone. Drivers can use the phone's music and navigation systems and access some relevant applications.

The first car to demonstrate BlackBerry's system, known as 'Connect and View', will be the Jaguar XJ luxury sedan.

Both JLR and BlackBerry can see the benefits. Bob Joyce, Group Engineering Director at JLR, says "We’re proud to be a part of such innovation that has efficiency, convenience and clever integration at its core. Such systems will make a significant difference to the way our customers use the entertainment systems on our vehicles as well as their Smartphones".

Tom Blackie from RealVNC adds, "[JLR's] confidence to move towards production with our solution gives us great belief of the applicability of VNC to the automotive industry."

As the in-car system is able to display the smartphone's screen, it reduces the previous issues of integrating a specific phone with in-car media and should allow subsequent devices to be used with no problems.

As for Connect and View, expect to see it in Jaguar and Land Rover products from late 2012.

[Cambridge Wireless]