Nokia Car Mode drives fusion of cars with smartphone services

Today Nokia announced Nokia Car Mode, a standalone application optimised for the in-car use of Nokia smartphones.

Nokia Car Mode features an optimised user interface simplifying the access and use of Nokia Drive (voice-guided car navigation with Nokia Maps), traffic updates, music and voice calls while driving. Nokia Car Mode, built with Qt, will be available for download from Nokia’s Ovi Store in Q4 2011 for Nokia smartphones based on Symbian Belle – such as the recently launched Nokia 600, Nokia 700 and Nokia 701 – as well as the Nokia N9.

Nokia Car Mode is the first commercially available solution supporting MirrorLink, formerly known as Terminal Mode. MirrorLink is a standard smartphone-to-car connectivity platform driven by over 20 major global brands from across different industries within the Car Connectivity Consortium (CCC). With MirrorLink, smartphones can be connected to in-car displays, car controls systems, and car audio systems. Thus consumers can control their smartphones via the car dashboard, as if the device and its apps were integrated into the car itself.

MirrorLink is increasingly gaining industry momentum. Among the first commercially available products presented at IAA besides Nokia Car Mode is Alpine’s new ICS-X8, a dashboard-mounted unit that lets drivers of supported cars retrofit MirrorLink capabilities and Bluetooth hands-free phone.

After connecting their Nokia smartphone with the Alpine ICS-X8, consumers are able to intuitively and safely use smartphone applications from the ICS-X8’s large 7-inch high-resolution display.

As a founding member of the Car Connectivity Consortium, Nokia is striving to introduce mobile innovation to the automotive industry. The integration of smartphones and their capabilities into cars is playing an important part in Nokia’s Location & Commerce business strategy, extending the existing ecosystem and thus providing benefits and opportunities for consumers, automotive companies, application developers and advertisers alike.

“MirrorLink and Nokia Car Mode are a big leap forward in allowing car drivers to access their favourite smartphone services,” said Floris van de Klashorst, Director Automotive Services of Nokia’s Location & Commerce business. “Via MirrorLink users have comfortable and safe access to maps, music and telephony on their phones when they’re in their cars even while driving. In the future, MirrorLink will enable plenty of other popular features since we’re only at the beginning of what we can do by linking smart devices with vehicles. We expect developers to come up with innovative new applications optimised for use in cars.”

“As a member of the Car Connectivity Consortium (CCC), we are very excited to introduce the world’s first in-car infotainment solution based on MirrorLink – the all new ICS-X8 App Link Station,” said Ingmar Heck, Manager of Sales and Marketing, Alpine Electronics Europe. “The ICS-X8 featuring MirrorLink allows users to create a digital ecosystem of mobile applications and the vehicle’s infotainment system. Users that own a compatible Nokia smartphone can connect it to the ICS-X8 and navigate using Nokia Drive, as well as enjoy all their music stored on the phone while driving using Nokia Music. Nokia Drive even connects to the car’s GPS receiver, allowing accurate navigation in areas of weak signal strength.”

“Safe and seamless access to web-apps via an integrated smartphone is critical in accelerating the evolution of the connected vehicle,” said Thilo Koslowski, VP and Automotive Practice Leader at Gartner. “A standardized smartphone-to-vehicle integration solution allows automotive companies to simplify their connected vehicle offerings and focus resources on extending consumers’ connected lifestyles to the vehicle.”

The Alpine ICS-X8 will be available in November at Alpine authorised dealers.