Microsoft has previewed its “Windows in the Car” software to combat the Apple CarPlay system. Let’s hope it goes over better than the Zune.
In case you missed it, Apple announced its new CarPlay system, which basically takes the iPhone experience and puts into your car’s dashboard. You plug your iPhone into select vehicles (or certain current Pioneer and Apline systems) and your iPhone display appears on your cars built-in display. You’ll be able to make calls, view maps, and listen to music through the car’s audio system. Kinda neat, right? Apple is also pushing CarPlay as a safer way to use your phone in your car, and the system will appear in an upcoming update for Apples iOS 7.
Microsoft has dominated in-car computer systems for awhile now, but the pressure is on following the debut of Apple CarPlay and news that Ford may dump its Microsoft-powered SYNC system for a more modern Blackberry OS. So it’s no wonder Microsoft recently demonstrated its new “Windows in the Car” concept, and though less-elegantly named than the Apple CarPlay system, it’s a familiar look for anyone who’s ever used a Windows Phone.
It’s the same idea as Apple CarPlay, transferring the Windows Phone experience from your smartphone to your car’s in-dash screen. You can make phone calls, listen to music, and access apps through this new experience. The only drawback? You need a Windows Phone, which only about 3.2% of the U.S. population has. In Europe it’s only slightly better at 5.2%.
Meanwhile, Apple and Android together make up more than 90% of the mobile market. For Microsoft, this system seems like a longshot when so few consumers would actually benefit from the experience, and once again the 90s computer juggernaut finds itself playing catch-up with the rest of the tech industry well into the 21st century.