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Solving the Smartphone-Dashboard Disconnect With Developers

•, By Doug Newcomb
 And for better or worse, every automaker is intent on using its own proprietary interface. But instead of paying extra for an automaker’s limited and sometimes kludgy app interface, most drivers find it easier — and dangerously tempting — to just to pick up their mobile device to access their apps.

That’s the issue the Car Connectivity Consortium (CCC) is trying to solve with a fledgling industry standard called MirrorLink, and it’s hoping make the path to the dash for apps much smoother by inviting third-party developers into the organization. “Opening the standard to developers has always been a central feature of the MirrorLink roadmap,” Nokia’s Mika Rytkonen, chairman and president of CCC, told Wired. “From the beginning, our members have agreed that choice is paramount.” CCC announced this week at its second-annual Summit in Tokyo that it will invite app developers to join the organization beginning in early 2013. And unlike automakers and suppliers, developers won’t have to join CCC to submit apps for certification.

As the name suggests, MirrorLink transfers the UI of a mobile device to a car’s infotainment screen, with steering-wheel and dashboard buttons controlling the features. This way, drivers don’t have to learn a new interface — or at least a MirrorLink-approved application that isn’t distracting. MirrorLink is also designed to make device integration seamless among the vehicles that adopt the standard. And this latest move is aimed at speeding up app adoption in the dash so developers don’t have to go through the typical automotive wringer.

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