Hitting the Emerging Market Sweet Spot

Apparently, Microsoft (Nokia, really) WILL be releasing an Android phone.

Microsoft and Android

If there’s one thing that I know well, its mobile devices. I’ve said many times, I cut my journalistic teeth on mobile devices and mobile computing. It’s probably the one thing that keeps me in the game.  There are so many different kinds of mobile gadgets and mobile convenience gadgets out there. It really doesn’t get old.

However, the US tends to be a high-end device market. Most people – even some of the poorer citizens of the US – would be considered filthy rich in many of the developing countries in the world.  As such, low-end smartphones and other low-end mobile electronics, don’t sell here very well.  In the rest of the world, however, that’s where the money is to be made.  Chasing after those emerging markets is where many of the larger smartphone manufacturers would like to put most of their attention.

Apple would like to seriously get involved in the developing/emerging smartphone market.  It’s been difficult for them, however, as their products are mostly high end, and manufacturing costs for older iPhones haven’t really decreased.  The iPhone 5c was rumored to be a lower costing iPhone for developing markets, though that didn’t turn out to be the case. The 5c was meant as a lower costing iPhone for the US. Sales of that device haven’t lived up to its initial expectations. Apple is still looking for a solution for their ecosystem in this lucrative market.

Microsoft also seems to be looking long and hard at the developing/ emerging smartphone market.  They have also hit a small snag.  Apparently, Windows Phone designs don’t lend themselves well to lower end handsets. As such, the current scuttlebutt has Microsoft’s Project Normandy moving forward.

For those that may not know, Project Normandy is an effort at Nokia for an Android based smartphone.  The device is said to be a low-end replacement for the S40 smartphone.  The device will run a version of Android with most of the branded, Google functionality removed. The device is also rumored to be heavily skinned and won’t have the standard and now easily recognizable Android navigation buttons.  The presumption is that the device would run both Microsoft and Nokia branded services like, Bing, the recently rebranded Office Online, and perhaps Nokia Here Maps.

It’s obvious from the description above, that the version of Android is likely forked. It’s also going to be heavily modified. However, this won’t be the first forked, heavily modified version of Android that the world has seen.  Amazon has done exactly that with its Kindle devices for a number of years.  According to ABI, 25% of all Android devices are shipped with a forked version of the popular mobile OS.  Perhaps Microsoft can do its best to make a Windows Phone like, tiled interface for Android and then phase it out. That way, they get a foot hold into the market, get everyone used to the interface and then give themselves the design, engineering and manufacturing time to get it all together.

It’s not known how well the Normandy device will fare, internally, at least. As Microsoft isn’t too interested in putting money in Google’s pocket’s.  As such, Project Normandy may not make it as far as Microsoft Kin phones did a few years ago.  However, Project Normandy represents a sizable investment on Nokia’s part and may help bridge the gap until Microsoft can engineer low-end devices that provide acceptable performance and features on the low-end handsets that are popular in emerging markets.  They need to do something…or else they’re going to miss the entire party…again.

However – and this is the sad part really – Nokia’s, and Microsoft’s past behavior and current company policy don’t have me thinking the device will have much time on the shelf. Nokia spent a lot of time and money developing Meego before it killed the OS shortly after releasing it on the N9.  Microsoft spent millions of dollars developing its Kin phones, which by many accounts were supposed to set its mobile efforts aright.  That effort totally tanked shortly after release. The devices themselves were really no more than toys, or so most of the mobile community thought when reviewing them.

So here we are… full circle again.  The developing/ emerging market sector is difficult to successfully get into.  Android was able to do it well because the OS can run on just about any mobile processor you can throw at it, and as such, manufacturing costs are LOW.  The OS supports skinning and can function well with and without Google services built in.  Heck… Amazon ripped out Google Play and its ENTIRE ecosystem and substituted its own.  And that essentially proves it – you CAN engineer Google out of Android and replace it with your own set of mobile services if you wish.

Given all of this, the ONLY chance that Normandy has of staying on a shelf long enough for Microsoft and Nokia to get a well-functioning, low end Windows Phone out there is none other than Microsoft’s new CEO, Satya Nadella.  If he is truly going to initiate a changing of the guard at Microsoft and have the company really concentrate on devices, service and the software that powers them, he has to push old company politics, motivations, desires, etc. to the side and insure that the device isn’t killed before it had a chance to make a serious difference.  Nadella is going to have to make certain that this stop gap is allowed to fulfill its lifecycle purposes and initiatives and gives both Microsoft and Nokia the opportunity to get its own device out there to take its place, without anyone trying to tank it from the inside.

What do you make of all of this?  Is this a good or a bad idea?  Would you like to see Project Normandy get off the ground?  Should Microsoft try to kill it?  I’d love to hear your thoughts in the discussion area, below.  Tell me what you think!

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Microsoft Wants You…

To help it kill Windows XP as part of the XP Army

winaccess denied2014-02-07 marks 60 days until support for Windows XP will officially die. After that, its malware defs only until that finally craps out sometime next year. After  2014-04-08, everyone running XP will be a target for hackers everywhere.

Oh, goody.

So, what’s a techie to do?   Easy… help Microsoft prevent the PC apocalypse by getting friends and family everywhere to upgrade to a different version of Windows – preferably Windows 8.x – ASAP.

Effectively, as suggested by Microsoft’s Brandon LeBlanc, you need to find a PC buddy, and if they’re running XP, get them to upgrade or help them purchase a new PC.

Wait… What?!

Don’t get me wrong. I am all about helping friends and loved ones. I really am…but when most people are so poor, they can’t afford to pay attention, let alone help someone pay for a new PC.   What’s more upsetting, is that neither Microsoft nor LeBlanc are offering any kind of price breaks on either Windows 7 or Windows 8.x or on new hardware.   While no one at Microsoft actually came out and said, “give your friends and family money so they can upgrade their rig,” the point was clearly taken.   They want everyone moving to Windows 8.x ASAP.

While Windows 8 was dirt cheap for a   while after its initial release on October 2012, it jacked the price back up to $120 bucks for the consumer version and $200 bucks for the enterprise version.   Microsoft also killed Windows 7 during this time, so you have no choice but to move to Windows 8.x at this point, whether you want to or not, whether you like it or not.

Everyone – from OEM’s, to security experts to tech enthusiasts, experts and journalists as well as the consumer community – has been pushing Microsoft to offer a (permanently) affordable SKU of Windows 8.x.   If they want the world off of XP, they need to make it super easy and silly not up upgrade immediately.

If this whole thing isn’t a stick in the eye from Microsoft, I really don’t know what is. While I don’t have any PC’s that run XP, either in physical or VM form, at home or at work, I know many people still do.   Its likely the 3rd  party development community will continue to support XP for a while until all of their customers upgrade, which may or may not happen any time soon.

I think the biggest scenario I’m afraid of, is someone who paid, like, $2500 for their XP computer, who refuses to upgrade, because their determined to get their money’s worth, and they get a huge virus that empties their bank accounts and files a civil suite against the Redmond software company; or worse yet, replace the consumer with a bank (many ATM’s run on Windows XP), and have the same thing happen. That could get ugly.

What do you think? Are you still using Windows XP?   Does anyone in your family? Will you buy an upgrade to the OS, or will you buy a new computer, if you upgrade at all?   I’d love to hear what you think of this situation, as well as what might happen  61 days from now in the comments section below.

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Gates Can’t Install Windows 8.1

It’s pretty telling when the creator of Windows can’t get the latest version to install on a Windows compatible PC…

RRT

I’ve seen a couple of posts on this so far today; and I’m sorry to say, I fell for it… The New Yorker is the first article I saw, and not only was it was my WFT of the day, but I fell, hook line and sinker. It took me a bit to figure this out; but it did provide me with a chuckle or two in the interim.

The story goes that Satya Nadella’s first day as CEO looks like it went well.  Bill Gates’ first day, and Nadella’s second, however wasn’t as positive.  According to the article, the Microsoft founder spent the entire day trying to install Windows 8.1 on his Windows compatible PC.  When he couldn’t get passed a specific point, due to a recurring error, he contacted Nadella. The two of them spent the rest of the afternoon banging their heads against a brick wall.

The article described the situation as tense. Both Nadella and Gates tried to weather the moment where a hardware error message prevented Gates’ PC from continuing with the install and would need to restart. Apparently, some of the language coming out of the executive suite hadn’t been heard for a while. So what did Bill do..?

He did what nearly every frustrated consumer has done – he dumped Windows 8.1 and installed Windows 7 instead.

This is where I got hooked, because, how many technically savvy people do YOU know that bumped into something as frustrating as this with Windows. I know I can raise my hand. Its actually the story of my life. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been there.

All I can say is, “welcome to our hell.”

That may come off a little harsher than I really intend it to, but anybody who’s built or rebuilt a Windows box after a malware infection or after some kind of hardware/software snafu knows what I’m talking about. Going back to factory fresh isn’t always the easiest thing in the world with Windows.

In this situation, and in all seriousness, I think the humor here can be put to good use. Putting the public’s dislike for MetroUI/ModernUI aside for a moment, I think one of the first things that Gates should likely advise Nadella on is getting a handle on the hot mess that Windows has turned into.  If the company’s co-founder and former chief software architect really did have problems installing the latest version of the OS on his Windows compatible computer, then there’s certainly something wrong. When this happens to other technically savvy people, its just as frustrating as if it really did happen to Gates.

As a technology writer and product reviewer, I install software on computers all the time, every day, out loud. I regularly have to blow a box and reinstall everything on it. With both Mac OS and Linux, I haven’t had many problems with this.  Both of those are pretty easy to rebuild (and the reinstallation of end user apps is really very easy thanks to system utilities like Apple’s Time Machine on OS X). However, both of those are built on a Unix backbone; and that may have something to do with it.  With Windows, this has historically been much more difficult.

Troubleshooting Windows PC problems has been more difficult as well. Usually, when you bump into driver conflicts, a BSoD or some kind of Registry error or corruption, its better just to pack it in, nuke the drive and reinstall Windows from scratch.  While it doesn’t address the root cause of the problem – which drivers conflicted, where and how you got a malware infection, or what corrupted your Registry – it does get you back to operational mode faster. It’s also a lot less frustrating.

Having a restore DVD or some kind of drive image that has your entire, or most of, your needed setup and configuration and software, is a big help.  This is one of the things I like about Apple’s OS X and Microsoft’s Windows 8.x.  You can take a Windows 8.x box back to factory fresh from within the defective PC…but with Windows, that version of the OS has to already be on the computer; and the recovery partition already been created.  Windows 8 is the first version of Windows to create a recovery partition during installation.

Windows 9 (or whatever the successor to Windows 8 is officially called), currently code named Threshold is due for release in the Spring of 2015. While the recovery partition is an important part of Windows, there’s a lot more that Microsoft could do from an engineering perspective to make the OS easier for both consumer and enterprise users to manage. Getting rid of the Registry would be a start…

What does Microsoft need to do to improve Windows? What do you think Bill Gates can do to advise Satya Nadella? I’d really like to hear what you have to say in the discussion, below.

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The Search is Over

Microsoft has a New CEO – Satya Nadella

I first saw this on Wired, but didn’t put any credence in it until I saw Mary Jo Foley’s article on ZDNet. Based on what we’ve been seeing, despite my earlier column on how association with Ballmer may be a tough hurdle to clear, Microsoft gave Nadella the nod anyway and on Tuesday 2014-02-04 made him the company’s third CEO.

Satya-NadellaThere are three other announcements that go along with this:
1.    Ballmer is out, effective immediately. However, he remains a member of the Board of Directors.
2.    Gates is stepping down as Chairman to take a role on the Board as Founder and Technology Advisor.  You can think of him as Nadella’s consigliere or major domo.  He will “devote more time to the company, supporting Nadella in shaping technology and product direction.”
3.    John Thompson, who was the one-man force behind the CEO search, is taking on the role of Chairman of the Board, effective immediately.

Nadella’s first issue is likely to be some level of “discussion” involving the support of the “One Microsoft” initiative that Ballmer laid out in the July 2013 reorg.  ValueAct’s Mason Morfit is taking a seat on the Board in about a month or so of this writing (March 2014).  The One Microsoft initiative has Microsoft supporting both consumer and enterprise sectors of technology; and Morfit doesn’t support that business strategy. He wants Microsoft to drop consumer hardware efforts like Surface, Windows Phone and Xbox One. He’s also not a Bing fan, either.

Microsoft recently agreed to make Morfit a member of the Board in order to avoid a proxy fight initiated by ValueAct if Microsoft didn’t agree to drop or scale back the consumer side of the business. Taking that on as one of his first issues as CEO would be a challenge for anyone. It certainly looks like Nadella will have his hands full, if that does, in fact, happen.

Nadella has a lot to offer Microsoft as CEO. Most notably, he has 22 years at Microsoft and knows the culture and people. Individuals coming from the outside, taking visible, upper management roles have historically not done well at Microsoft due to the high technical nature of the culture and business.  Nadella won’t have issues there.  His background as an engineer will help him a great deal, as will his tenure at the company.  He doesn’t have anything to prove, and the ‘Softies have already afforded him credibility.

This is Nadella’s first go as CEO, so we’ll have to play a wait and see game before we know how independent he truly is.  Gates’ new role as Founder and Technology Advisor may be created specifically to give Nadella someone he can go to for advice, guidance and assistance. It may also be nothing more than a PR gimmick to help “erase” the Ballmerfication that I mentioned the other day.  We’ll have to wait and see.  However, given Nadella’s experience as an engineer and as the enterprise and cloud services guy, he’s got a good background to take the company into the future…provided he’s really given the opportunity and support to do so. It depends on how much of a voice Ballmer and Morfit each have on the Board.

What do you think? Did Ballmer really suck THAT bad? Is Gates’ new role as Founder and Technology Advisor for real or for show? Will Mason Morfit give Nadella problems, or will he wait and see how things go before pressing his agenda at the Board level?  Does Nadella look as though he will be successful, or will his entrance start the spinning of a revolving door outside the CEO’s office?  You tell me.  Why don’t you join me in the discussion area, below and give me your thoughts…?

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What will Bill do now, with the House that Gates Built?

Speculation is rife with what Gates will do after Microsoft’s new CEO is named

bill-gates-jpg

I’ve always liked Mary Jo Foley.She’s got a great analytical mind, and her connections are awesome. When she puts out a new piece, it always makes me think…

Case in point – MJF recently opined about some interesting, behind the spot light issues related to Microsoft’s CEO search:

  1. No new info, despite her sources; so we still have to wait for a formal announcement
  2. The board and the company want to distance itself from Ballmer somewhat (or at least remove him from the spotlight)
  3. Gates is said to be stepping away from the role of Chairman

The world is waiting, and we want to know who is going to be the next Microsoft CEO.  While all signs currently point to Satya Nadella, no one knows for certain, and unfortunately (for him…), he and Ballmer have been pretty tight.  Being mentored by Stevie B. isn’t a bad thing.  However, I’m certain Wall Street wants a CEO bereft of and Ballmerfication, and unfortunately, in this case, being mentored by Ballmer certainly isn’t helping Nadella win the role.

However, there’s a lot of hub-bub going on behind the scenes regarding Bill Gates, former MS CEO and current Chairman of the Board of Directors.  The latest shizzle is all about Bill taking on a more prominent role at the company after the CEO transition is announced. That news is causing quite the stir.

Bill has been all about curing/preventing malaria and building a better toilet as part of the humanitarian work of the Bill and Malinda Gates Foundation.  While there may be active reports of him taking a more proactive role at MS after Ballmer’s retirement, I don’t see it happening. Gates has said repeatedly that his life’s work is his foundation, not the software company that built the fortune that enables it.  While Microsoft may power the Foundation, it’s not his driving focus. Helping humanity overcome its challenges is.

That being the case, any reports that are out there about Gates taking any kind of an active role in the fate of the software company are most likely false and nothing more than rumors. Microsoft spent a lot of time spinning Gates away from the organization as they spun Ballmer into control. Reversing that and adding a new CEO into the mix is only going to confuse everyone, including shareholders and Wall Street; and that’s exactly what Microsoft doesn’t want to do. They want to strengthen Microsoft’s stock position, not call it into question. Besides, it’s been more than six years since Bill’s been involved in Microsoft’s daily grind. I really don’t think he wants to get back into it.

What do you think? Will Bill Gates come back to Microsoft in a formal role after Steve Ballmer retires?  I’d love to hear what you think about this latest batch of rumors.  Why not join me in the discussion area, below and tell me what you think?

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Is Microsoft Preparing to Name Satya Nadella CEO?

It seems the candidate pool is getting smaller…

Satya Nadella 2012I’ve been trying to cover Microsoft’s CEO search since Steve Ballmer announced his retirement last year.   There have been a number of interesting candidates and one or two that I think would have made a decent leader for the tech giant. Recently when Alan Mulally pulled himself out of the running, Nadella appears to have emerged as the top candidate.

It also seems that this may have been the direction all along.   While no one at any major news outlet is citing any named sources, and with other internal and external candidates either having been eliminated or dropped out, Nadella is the one name that has remained near the top of the list.   Microsoft wants to name a new CEO in the early part of 2014.

ZDNet’s Larry Dignan says that the Microsoft CEO spot is “the job that no one is jumping for.” I agree. It truly seems as though succeeding Ballmer will be a big challenge, especially with him continuing to be part of the Board of Directors after his retirement.

However, it seems as though Nadella won’t have to contend with Bill Gates as Chairman of the Board. There have been a number of stories circulating with Nadella’s candidacy looking more and more like a done deal, that Bill Gates will exit the organization as Chairman of the Board at Microsoft.   Gates wants to focus the rest of his life’s work on the Gates Foundation that he founded with his wife.   Board member John Thompson, who is heading up the CEO search, is said to be a front runner for the Chairman spot if the rumors about Gates stepping down are true.

The whole setup with Gates and Ballmer still on the Board is likely one of the biggest issues for anyone interviewing for the Microsoft CEO spot. Who would want the company’s top leadership role when you have both the original and 2nd CEO scrutinizing your every move?   Not many, it would seem.

Mary Jo Foley also said that when she sat down with Ballmer AND Nadella in separate interviews in November of 2013, she didn’t get any kind of indication as to who would eventually win the CEO spot; and she still isn’t certain.   The world is waiting for an answer; and it looks like it will have to wait until some thing formal comes out of Redmond. Until then, it may look good for Satya Nadella and his decades of experience at Microsoft; but we’re definitely in wait and see mode.

What about you? Do you feel that Satya Nadella is the best choice for Microsoft CEO; or is there a better candidate out there? I’d love to hear what you think in the discussion, below.

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Lenovo buys into the US Smartphone Market

Lenovo purchases Motorola Mobility from Google for $2.9B

levonovo moto 5

On 29.01.2014 the Internet was abuzz over Google’s announcement that it had sold Motorola Mobility to Chinese-based Lenovo for $2.9B.  The news is significant because Google has only held Motorola Mobility for 19 months; and it’s selling the manufacturing business to Lenovo at a $9.5B loss.  That’s enough to give any stockholder the willies.

I’ve seen a number of reports that differ on how long Google held the property.  Some say August of 2011. Some say May of 2012. The key point is that Google didn’t have Motorola for long; and honestly, Google didn’t buy them for the manufacturing business.  They never used Motorola to produce a Nexus branded smartphone.  All they were really interested in was their patents.

This is further supported by the fact that Google is retaining most of those patents. While the sale includes a license to most/all of those patents to Lenovo, they will also receive a number of patents, the Motorola Mobility brand and their trademark portfolio.  It also provides Google with some relief – Motorola Mobility’s hardware division has been struggling for quite some time.  And besides… Lenovo has been frantically searching for a way to enter the lucrative North and South American smartphone markets.  Now, it appears, they have a way to do that.

Hopefully, Lenovo will be able to do something more with Motorola Mobility than Google did.  Google really let them sit there and collect dust. They never really went all in; and since being acquired by Google, Motorola – who recently produced both the Moto G and Moto X Android smartphones – was never profitable, operating at a $192M loss last year and a $248M loss in the third quarter of 2013 alone.

Lenovo on the other hand has a decent track record for turning businesses around. In 2005, it bought IBM’s PC business for $1.25B. It’s made steady strides in that arena; and last year over took HP as the world’s largest PC manufacturer. It’s also done a great deal of work to build and expand the ThinkPad line’s perception of value and quality.

Acquiring Motorola Mobility will make Lenovo the third largest smartphone manufacturer in the world, behind Samsung and Apple, respectively.  With only two possible mobile OS’ to choose from – Android and Windows Phone, as Apple doesn’t license any of its operating systems to 3rd parties – Lenovo can capitalize on Android’s vast popularity and Blackberry’s waning market share.

That last bit is important.

Many feel that with the rapid decline and documented demise of Blackberry, Windows Phone, with Exchange ActiveSync’s solid, well positioned Push system, is becoming the enterprise-messaging platform of choice.  If that ends up being accurate and true, then a deeper partnership with Microsoft may really help Lenovo cement itself as an enterprise equipment supplier in the coming months and years.

Unified communications is something that Microsoft has been trying to get together for a number of years. Their MOC (Microsoft Office Communicator) application handles enterprise-level instant messaging via Exchange. If they can pair that with a secure, enterprise mobile messaging offering via Windows Phone, not only would it help them get back to relevance, but also it would make Lenovo’s goal of getting a foothold in the North American smartphone market possible.

What do you think about Google’s sale of Motorola Mobility to Lenovo?  Is this a good move? Did Google really just act as a protracted patent troll? Is Motorola Mobility worth saving? Why not give us your thoughts in the discussion area below and let us know what you think?

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A Vision for iOS in the Car

The key to getting this right is understanding Apple’s iOS vision and how people want to use the iPhone while driving.

I am a huge smartphone advocate. I’ve been using [modern] mobile devices since 1996. I’ve been using my smartphone in my car (I’ve had more than a few, with and without proprietary hands free kits (HFK’s)) since 2004.  I have exposure to the automotive industry that goes back 46 years, thanks to my father. He worked for Ford, American Motors, Chrysler and finally Toyota before retiring in 2009 and spending well over 44 years in the automotive industry.

To put it bluntly, I’ve been around cars and electronics all my life, and I have a clear, solid vision for how iOS in the Car should be implemented.  There’s a bit that’s fleshed out and some stuff that I’m still trying to wrap my hands around.  However, I wanted to get all of it down before it evaporated or before someone else got it “out there.”

A lot of what you’re going to see is going to come in outline form, as opposed to narrative, as its easier to capture in outline form.  That format still allows me to provide background information and additional narrative as necessary, without muddying up what I’m trying to get across.

2013-ford-flex-EcoBoost-steering-wheel

iOS in the Car is about a couple different things – automotive supported hardware, Apple iDevice integration and iOS and other Apple services integration (think iCloud). The concept should be accessible in all vehicles, not just built into new vehicles at point of manufacture (PoM).  The kits required to put this into older vehicles can be as elegant as a new console (if needed or desired) or as simple as a universal device holder. It just depends on how you want to do it, and how much you have or want to spend on it.

Most importantly, it should work with any iPhone that runs iOS 7.  While I have a vision of a dual screen (dash as well as secondary/navigation driver’s display) configuration, the whole thing should work regardless of the number of driver screens in the vehicle. Some manufacturers aren’t going to build in, and some users may not want, an electronic dash.  Most of the data provided by that screen can either be captured via accelerometer, ODB2 or other means.

  • Hardware Interface
    iPhone is the key. It contains all of the communications capabilities that you’d want or need for this baby to work.  While cellular iPads have mobile connectivity, until all mobile carriers provide VoIP services, you’re going to need a smartphone instead of a tablet.  iPods also don’t do cellular. An iPod with cellular connectivity is called an iPhone. Docking and powering your iDevice for iOS in Car is also going to work a lot better with the smaller iPhone as opposed to an iPad. Even the iPad mini is too big for this purpose, I think.
  • Docking your iPhone. Not iDevice. iPhone. Period.
    • Should support both 30-pin and Lightning connections
      • iPad/iPad mini is too big to dock
      • iPod Touch doesn’t provide complete communications
      • iPad doesn’t provide complete communications (cellular iPads can’t make calls…)
      • iPhone screen should go dark upon docking
        • activating the iPhone screen displays iOS in Car logo and directs user to the iOS in Car display(s)
      • Primary screen provides standard vehicle info
        • Shows speedometer, odometer, tachometer, etc.
      • Secondary screen built into dash
        • Limited touch interface
        • Main iOS interface is replaced with iOS in Car. This is not meant to be a hard wired iPad in your vehicle
      • Audio Interface
        • Communications should be completed via in car speakers
        • All audio should be completed via 30-pin or Lightning connector, if possible
  • Built In at PoM
    • Siri integration with external microphone
    • Built in docking mechanism
      • Completely secures and encases iPhone
      • Hides iPhone, with appropriate ventilation
      • Powers iPhone
      • IPhone must be docked to activate any iOS in Car functionality, and must be done while car remains in Park.
    • Automatically starts iOS in Car
    • Main vehicle display
      • Shows speedometer, odometer, tachometer, etc.
    • Secondary display
      • Activates only when needed, unless actively navigating
      • Automatic App functionality built in (via acquisition)
  • Displays OBD status
      • At startup
      • As faults detected
  • Displays Automatic trip information when vehicle is shut off and has changed GPS location
  • Provides State accepted emissions records for sanctioned emissions testing
  • After-Market Add-In
    • Siri integration with external microphone
    • Docking mechanism
      • Hides iPhone, with appropriate ventilation if hidden
      • Powers iPhone
    • Automatically starts iOS in Car
    • Supports all software functionality outlined below
    • Secondary screen functionality only
      • 3rd party display
      • End user provided permanently mounted, iPad mini
  • iOS in Car functionality limits iPad mini functionality when car’s transmission is in Drive
    • Rear seat Entertainment Center functionality is disabled unless vehicle owner provides AirPlay compatible devices for the back seat(s)
      • IPad mini providing secondary screen functionality (as noted above) will not play video
    • OBD2 Compliant
      • Must be connected into car’s ODB2 port (hard wire, or BLE)
      • Automatic App functionality built in (via acquisition)
  • Displays OBD status
    • At startup
    • As faults detected
      • Provides State accepted emissions records for sanctioned emissions testing
    • Does nearly everything that PoM solution does (except as noted), but the docking solution may not be as elegant.

The aftermarket solution should be Apple designed at least, I think. It may or may not work best with a dash or console replacement.  It could also work as a “car radio” type device that requires you to insert your iPhone like an audio cassette to save space, prevent a console or dash replacement, and to save space.  I know the console or dash replacement is a bit extreme and likely not an option for many, but it would be a really cool solution; and it would give your older vehicle a nice interior upgrade.

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