There’s an App for That (Car)

QNX CAR 2 8091037459_624fecddac_zRemember that Apple “Maps” debacle that angered millions of users and led to a few high-profile executive expulsions? It turns out that wasn’t an anomaly. The masters of the app universe (a.k.a., developers) aren’t always as plugged into the industries they hope to (literally) steer toward the mobile world.

Apple might have been the highest profile example of that disconnect, but QNX Software Systems (qnx.com) says a similar phenomena carries over to the automotive industry in part because app developers and automotive hardware makers are not on the same platform. The company says its HTML5 SDK for the QNX CAR 2 application platform could be a bridge between those worlds. The platform is based on open source BlackBerry “WebWorks” framework, an open source environment that has been optimized for automotive.

Using the system, developers can write, test, and package automotive apps based on HTML5, CSS3, JavaScript, and other open standards. The platform also will be a conduit to create application programming interfaces that are tailored to in-vehicle functions such as HVAC, GPS, and multimedia systems. To accelerate development, the HTML5 SDK provides an “emulator” that lets developers quickly see how their apps would look and function in a car. The idea is to enable mobile app developers to test their programs virtually and without access to a physical car or infotainment system. From their Web browser, developers will be able to use the emulator to perform JavaScript debugging, HTML DOM inspection, automated testing, and screen-resolution tests. They also will able to tweak apps and view the results just by editing the source code and refreshing the browser.

“Now, mobile developers and automakers can begin engaging with one another in a meaningful way, through a common platform and through the same open standards that have done so much to accelerate the rapid development and rich user experiences of mobile platforms,” said Andy Gryc, automotive product marketing manager at QNX.

To boost the cross pollination, the company will create a “virtual marketplace” where developers and automakers can collaborate. That marketplace will go live after HTML5 SDK is released. QNX says it plans to release the platform in December 2012, and unspecified automakers and tier one suppliers are evaluating it for future infotainment systems, according to the company. Developers will have access to the HTML5 SDK and virtual marketplace in the first quarter of 2013.

Automotive Design & Production

Copyright Gardner Publications, Inc. Nov/Dec 2012

(c) 2012 Automotive Design & Production. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All rights Reserved.

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