Microsoft and Siemens rev up in-car technology

Microsoft and Siemens are partnering to develop in-car communication, information, and navigation products.

Microsoft and Siemens rev up in-car technology

The pair aim to make it easier for consumers to connect devices such as mobile phones and music players to car equipment.

The companies say their first significant task will be to create a multimedia platform that will make it possible to integrate their two technologies. The first Siemens products based on Microsoft software should go into production in 2009.

The rise of portable media players and downloadable content is forcing carmakers and their suppliers to rethink their offerings, which have until recently centered on standalone audio systems.

To that end Microsoft says it intends to focus on further developing its in-car software platform to ensure it supports current and future mobile devices and internet services.

“This helps close the gap between the short development cycles in communications and information technology and the comparatively long product cycles in automotive engineering,” the companies say.

“Siemens will be able to actively help shape Microsoft Auto and license platform-compliant applications, such as navigation functions, for third-party suppliers. Consequently, new solutions in consumer electronics will be adapted for in-vehicle use more quickly and easily, since it will only be necessary to add individual software components,” they conclude.

The market for automotive infotainment products is set to grow to about $54 billion by 2012 from $38 billion currently, according to research group iSuppli.

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