Nokia Releases Spec for Syncing Smartphones with Car Systems

Nokia and CE4A, a group made up of five major automotive companies, released a Terminal Mode specification that they are pitching as an industry standard. RIM and Samsung are also interested in syncing in-car environments with mobile devices.

Nokia and the Consumer Electronics for Automotive working group, made up of Audi, BMW, Daimler, Porsche and Volkswagen, released the Terminal Mode specification May 19. The companies proposed that the technology be used as the industry standard for integrating mobile applications inside a vehicle.
"The average person spends between 1 and 2 hours per day in their car," Nokia said in a March 4 statement introducing Terminal Mode. "Given that their smartphone not only holds their favorite music but now, if it is a Nokia smartphone, comes with free worldwide navigation services (Ovi Maps), the next logical step is to provide an easy way to connect their smartphone to their car. This way services and content from the mobile can be fully integrated with the in-car speakers, displays and control systems."
A consumer, for example, would be able to access all the music and applications in a handset through the vehicle's "infotainment" and audio systems.
The connection, Nokia added, should be two-way, enabling the driver to use a smartphone to access performance information about the vehicle.
Nokia and CE4A emphasized that the Terminal Mode specification is open to all automotive and mobile device manufacturers. Timo Ali-Vehmas, Nokia's head of compatibility and industry collaboration, said the specification showed Nokia's commitment to creating partnerships in the car industry and with other manufacturers.
"Nokia is an active member of many open standardization initiatives and forums globally, and is keen to enable open collaboration and broader use of innovation for the faster adoption of new services and products for the benefit of consumers," Ali-Vehmas said in a release.
Nokia is hardly alone in seeing the mobile potential in the automotive industry. BlackBerry maker Research In Motion on April 9 announced that it had agreed to buy Harman International's QNX, an in-vehicle infotainment and telematics system.
And Samsung announced May 12, alongside Sprint and Citrix Systems, that Samsung's Android-running Moment smartphone was Cixtrix Ready-certified. The Citrix Ready program identifies third-party solutions that can be paired with the virtual desktop capabilities in a Citrix Receiver, which extends virtualization, networking and cloud computing solutions to mobile platforms.
Ford's Ford Work Solution program, which is deployed in many of its pickup trucks and vans, is among the mobile environments under consideration for a Citrix Receiver. In a deployed solution, a driver could access business tools from a smartphone, using the tools on the dashboard.
"By combining the strengths of Sprint and Samsung with Citrix, businesses can gain the ability to utilize mobile computing not only from a handheld device or PC/laptop/netbook perspective, but to extend the capability to the true road warrior environment," the companies said in a statement.
Nokia's Terminal Mode was developed in cooperation with its Research Center in Palo Alto, Calif., and CE4A. The specification is now available as a free download.