In automobiles, radios and dumb dashboards are making way for smartphones, including Blackberrys. At the CTIA conference in New Orleans, I sat in a Porsche with Andy Gryc, a product marketing manager with QNX Software Systems, to find out more about the concept of the "connected" car.
QNX Software makes the QNX CAR 2 application platform, which lets developers create infotainment apps for automobile displays, including Blackberry Playbook tablets. CAR 2's close integration with Blackberry isn't surprising, considering QNX was acquired by Research in Motion in 2010.
As you'll see in the video, there's a BlackBerry Playbook tablet in the back seat. However, hooking the sports car up to the cloud is not just about connecting you with the latest movie playing on Hulu. It's about accessing a whole new ecosystem of apps made specifically for vehicles, beyond smartphone integration. QNX's tighter integration with Blackberrys than other phones and tablets, for instance, enables high-def hands-free voice calls, said Gryc. Rear-seat-mounted Blackberry tablets let users play games, video chat, watch movies, and monitor their location on a map.
The connected Porsche first made its debut at this year's CES. The QNX CAR 2 application platform is expected to launch in mid-2012.
"It's this embedded software that brings smartphone/tablet integration, 3D navigation, hands-free calling, and apps into the car. Unlike the software in your laptop or desktop, this software must run on inexpensive processors while supporting rich application features, high performance, advanced connectivity, and, of course, crash-proof operation. Embedded software does more with less," Gryc said.
It's a good thing the Porsche was stationary because it sure would have been nice to take it for a spin around New Orleans. Even smart systems can seem stylish.