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Choosing the right OS strategy for in-car Apps

  • Published:
  • 43 Pages
  • SBD

‘An app for every occasion' is a commonly-used term to describe the multitude of apps that have emerged since the launch of the first app stores for CE devices.

A more suitable term for the automotive industry is probably ‘An app platform for every occasion', as vehicle manufacturers face a multitude of options for how to introduce apps into the car.

The right answer requires OEMs to carefully balance the sometimes conflicting needs of two groups:

App developers

The much coveted ‘app community' is what mobile handset vendors have used within the CE industry to help make their platforms more appealing to users. Whilst it is widely accepted that an automotive app community will be much smaller, the needs of in-car app developers must still be considered when choosing an OS platform. At a high-level, these needs can be summarized in three words: Volumes, Simplicity and Functionality. App developers are inherently attracted to platforms that attract larger audiences, platforms that require minimum re-development of their apps and platforms that enable apps to leverage the full functionality of embedded hardware.

OEMs

Traditionally, the software needs of the automotive industry could be summarized in another three words: Security, Reliability and Affordability. Whilst these are still amongst the most commonlyused words within the automotive industry, other priorities are also starting to emerge as part of the transition towards app-based platforms. Speed of innovation is required in order to keep up with the rapidly-moving CE world. Flexible sourcing is also becoming a priority for some OEMs, as they aim to break-up the traditional role of Tier-one suppliers by separating software from hardware, and even consider bringing in more software development inhouse.

So how should automotive players choose between downloadable and web-based apps, let alone whether to go with Android, Genivi, Microsoft, QNX or any other OS? In reality no single OS solution is capable of meeting all of the needs mentioned above, so a good starting point is to prioritise which of these needs are most important to your business. A second step is to move away from the traditional ‘all-ornothing' strategies, and to embrace a more diverse platform that potentially supports different OSs for different types of apps (leveraging virtual machines). Finally, it is important to remember that drivers don't care about Genivi, Android or even HTML5, they care about the end-user experience. So regardless of the needs of app developers or OEMs, make sure that the end-user experience remains your first priority and that your OS strategy compliments rather than damages this.

This report analyses the key factors, OEM trends and provides a future outlook based on the options faced by OEMs in developing app platforms.

With OEMs facing widespread fragmentation and uncertainty, SBD's guide to choosing the right OS strategy for in-car apps aims to clearly and simply explain the options, clarify the strengths and weaknesses of each solution and shed some light on the likely direction of the industry.

With OEMs facing widespread fragmentation and uncertainty, SBD's guide to choosing the right OS strategy for in-car apps aims to clearly and simply explain the options, clarify the strengths and weaknesses of each solution and shed some light on the likely direction of the industry.

With OEMs facing widespread fragmentation and uncertainty, SBD's guide to choosing the right OS strategy for in-car apps aims to clearly and simply explain the options, clarify the strengths and weaknesses of each solution and shed some light on the likely direction of the industry.

With OEMs facing widespread fragmentation and uncertainty, SBD's guide to choosing the right OS strategy for in-car apps aims to clearly and simply explain the options, clarify the strengths and weaknesses of each solution and shed some light on the likely direction of the industry.

This report analyses the key factors, OEM trends and provides a future outlook based on the options faced by OEMs in developing app platforms.

About the Author

Andrew Hart, Head of Strategy and Innovation.

Andrew heads up SBD's Advanced Research Division and is responsible for the wide range of market and technical research that we provide to our clients. He is a leading authority in navigation and traffic information, helping vehicle manufacturers and suppliers understand the technical, business and consumer trends in Europe, China and the USA. Andrew sits on a number of international forums, including TISA, and is a notable speaker at leading ITS events around the world.

David McClure, Director - Research & Consulting.

David graduated from Imperial College in 1993 with a degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering. He has been involved in the development of in-car audio, communication, navigation and telematics systems since the mid 1990s and he is now responsible for SBD's full range of Connected, Safe and Secure Car services. Prior to joining SBD in 1997 David held a number of product development and manufacturing roles at Ford and Nissan, providing him with the industry knowledge and experience that now runs throughout SBD's products.

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