Phone and Media Cores for Windows Embedded Automotive: Honk If You Want to Know More

REDMOND, Wash. — April 14, 2011 — If you are a systems architect or developer working with the Windows Embedded Automotive platform, you might be wondering about the benefits of developing around Phone Core and Media Core, two of the components that form the foundation of Windows Embedded Automotive 7. Several automobile and device manufacturers have developed and deployed Windows Embedded Automotive applications. Ford SYNC, Kia UVO and Fiat Blue&Me are a few examples that take advantage of Phone Core and Media Core. These applications provide in-car services such as hands-free capabilities for Bluetooth-enabled phones, emergency 911 assistance, and voice-activated media playback.

In Windows Embedded Automotive 7, these components provide standardized tools and APIs to make developing applications that interact with phones and media devices easier than ever. How?

Windows Embedded Senior Program Manager Ted Dinklocker

To find out, we spoke with Windows Embedded Senior Program Manager Ted Dinklocker, a contributor to the Microsoft white paper “Windows Embedded Automotive 7 Deep Dive: Phone and Media Cores.”

“To me, the cool factor of Phone and Media Cores in Windows Embedded Automotive 7 is that they hide all the complexity around communicating with whatever phone or media device a user connects to the system,” Dinklocker said. “Developers don’t have to understand the eccentricities of specific devices if they want their application to play content whenever a user clicks a ‘play’ button, for example. It just works.”

Windows Embedded Automotive 7 also introduces new user interface design possibilities using Silverlight for Windows Embedded. People who connect their phones and media devices to their in-car infotainment systems expect a compelling user experience, but creating these experiences can consume a lot of time and resources. Typically the work has to be done twice, by a developer and a designer. With Silverlight for Windows Embedded, a new and significantly easier 1-2-3 design/develop paradigm is possible:

  1. Design the user experience in Microsoft Expression Blend. Test the logic with an instant prototype running in Internet Explorer.

  2. Develop the business logic in Microsoft Visual Studio with Silverlight for Windows Embedded.

  3. Run the Human-Machine Interface on the embedded device.

One of the major benefits of using the Phone and Media Cores for Windows Embedded Automotive 7 is access to the phone and media players tested by Microsoft’s device lab. The Device Lab facilitates compatibility between Windows Embedded Automotive 7 and a growing number of media devices, including ones under development by automakers. The Device Lab tests approximately 200 phone and media players each year to ensure that consumers can update their latest consumer electronics devices remotely for seamless connection with their existing or brand new vehicle.

“Many of our customers have told us that the Device Lab testing is of real value to them,” Dinklocker says. “You can have the greatest middleware on the market that supports phone and media, but if it only supports six devices, it doesn’t matter. The Device Lab gives our developers confidence that as new consumer electronic devices go to market, Microsoft will continue to stand behind this platform by providing Windows Embedded Automotive 7 compatibility updates.”

Dinklocker encourages anyone who works with Phone and Media Cores to download and read the white paper. “MSDN is a great resource for educational developer content, and this white paper takes it a step further,” he said. “This white paper gives us an opportunity to tell a developer or a systems architect the complete story of how we designed this platform to be used, and walk them through how the individual components fit together.”

And here at the Windows Embedded News Center, we’ll keep the fuel flowing for automotive developers: Keep checking back for more automotive and developer articles, and follow us on Twitter.

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