Rating: It’s on your phone so it is in the car
Hoping to open up a whole new sector for mobile app developers – and therefore advertisers, too, is Brit firm RealVNC. It has come up with a software solution – effectively a small server running on the handset, that can hook straight into existing automotive display systems. Effectively, the vehicle’s display screen (head) becomes the smartphone’s touchscreen – except it is on the dashboard. This means that any app that runs on the smartphone can be run from the dashboard. The value of RealVNC technology has already been recognised by the UK DTI and by Panasonic which announced a deal at the current MWC 2013 show [February 2013].
Naturally, RealVNC has versions of its app to run under iOS and Android but it even supports Symbian as well as BlackBerry.
Apple’s obsession with keeping close control over its smart devices means that the iPhone version is less flexible and centres around a virtual iPod player.
However, Nick Cain – pre-sales apps with RealVNC, told GoMobile News that his company has already found a sneaky way around this problem.
What RealVNC does is to provide a SDK for its iOS developers which is ‘aware’ of the RealVNC server and can therefore access information being supplied by the vehicle’s intelligent display.
So, in effect, iPhone users can run apps in their car which are RealVNC ready and therefore take full advantage of the navigation system and even data concerning fuel.
Cain also revealed that RealVNC is currently developing an H.264 compliant version of its product which supports far superior streaming from the device to the vehicle’s in-car entertainment system.
In a nutshell, it will be possible to to stream a video from the smartphone to headrest mounted displays in the rear of the vehicle (for the children) whilst the driver’s dashboard screen is running a navigation app.
RealVNC supports an industry standard called Mirrorlink which is being promoted by the Car Consortium Group.
According to Cain, the 100 or so members of this group are all nearing fruition with their offerings so expect an explosion of in-car related app during 2013.
If in-car apps establish themselves as a serious niche in the mobile apps world, there will be new opportunities for advertisers targeting drivers – especially with location aware ads.