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MirrorLink, Apple To Dominate In OEM Infotainment Systems

London — MirrorLink and Apple’s iOS In The Car will be the dominant smartphone-connectivity technologies used in OEM in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) systems shipped in 2018, but other smartphone-connectivity technologies will also be used, ABI Research forecasts.

 In 2018, global shipments to automakers of connected IVI systems equipped with one or more smartphone-integration technologies will hit 35.1 million units, ABI said. Of these, 43.6 percent will incorporate MirrorLink, 49.8 percent will incorporate Apple’s iOS In The Car, and 28.2 percent will feature other connectivity technologies.

 Besides Internet connectivity, “the ability to select apps whenever they choose is probably one of the IVI features that consumers value the most,” ABI said. Even owners of luxury vehicles with embedded infotainment systems will want the option to connect a smartphone to their IVI system, ABI added.

  “It is inevitable that consumers will demand to be able to use their smartphones in cars, even in luxury cars equipped with the latest top-of-the-range fully embedded infotainment systems,” said principal analyst Gareth Owen. “However, OEMs producing lower end mass-market cars will probably invest significantly less on developing their own systems and rely more on smartphones-centric infotainment solutions,” he said.

 Multiple technologies are available for integrating a smartphone into a car’s head unit and enabling control from the car’s IVI system via voice, touchscreen or steering-wheel controls, ABI said. The technologies include industry standards such as MirrorLink to proprietary technologies such as RealVNC, Abalto Technologies’ WebLink and Apple’s iOS In The Car. On top of that, UI-screen replication technologies are available, including Miracast and MHL. Those two are “ideally suited for high-bandwidth applications such as video streaming to rear-seat entertainment displays,” ABI said.

Though automakers have plenty of technologies to choose, they face “the difficult challenges of not only how best to integrate smartphones into their vehicles but also how to ensure that the integration strategy remains viable throughout the life of the vehicle and multiple generations of smartphones,” Owen said.