Microsoft held its annual Build developer conference this week, and one of the concepts it showed off was a new ‘Windows in the car’ concept that could eventually take on the likes of iOS and Android in the battle for the automobile dashboard. Various custom versions of Windows have long been used in systems from Ford, BMW, Nissan and others, but Microsoft’s latest software vision has more than a hint of Windows 8 about it.
The tiled interface previously known as Metro duplicates the display on your Windows phone or tablet, tweaking it to be more car-friendly and simple to operate. The existing Mirrorlink technology is used to beam data from car to device and back, and this is a standard backed by the likes of Volkswagen, Honda, Toyota and Citroen, as well as after-market manufacturers such as Alpine and Pioneer.
Microsoft’s Steve Teixeria showed off the concept at Build, though the presentation made it clear that this is still very much a work in progress. One mock-up did include a marketplace option, so when the final version arrives it looks like you’ll be able to install third-party applications from the comfort of the driver’s (or passenger’s) seat.
Other screens showed the usual collection of music, radio stations and mapping tools, and as you would expect there’s the option to read through text messages and make phone calls. Teixeria didn’t give a shipping date for the software, or even confirm that it would ever see the light of day at all, but it’s evidence that Microsoft is determined to take on iOS and Google on as many platforms as it can. Head over to the Verge for more screenshots.