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.
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