“WEBLINK will be the key to unlocking the market potential for in-vehicle applications,” said Michael O’Shea, CEO of Abalta Technologies. “People want to use their smartphone apps while they’re in the car. This is a huge opportunity for the OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers to provide apps in a safe and meaningful way while offering developers low cost access to the car ecosystem. WEBLINK allows them to do just this.”
How does it work?
Abalta WEBLINK allows headunits connected to smartphones to run third party apps developed with HTML5.
WEBLINK incorporate a server component that runs on the smartphone which host the mobile browser installed with the smartphones operating system. It renders the automotive apps in the browser using the screen resolution of the connected head unit. the image is transferred to a WEBLINK client running on the headunit and displayed to the user.
The input from the headunit touchscreen and others (steering wheels controls, knobs, etc.) are passed back to the smartphone and to the current HTML app.
The first apps available with WEBLINK include WebNav (a turn-by-turn GPS navigation app from TeleCommunication Systems), the Slacker music service, an international city event guide app from WCities and Parkopedia, a parking app for drivers.
What is the interest for car makers?
Michael O’Shea, CEO of Abalta Technologies explained to GPS Business News how the ecosystem works for car makers: “Car makers will be responsible for creating and distributing the appropriate WEBLINK application that will run on the smartphone. This application will be branded by the car maker to the particular model of the car and will contain or hold a set of links to applications preapproved by the car maker. The driver or user will have the ability to add/remove applications and there will be flexibility to change the layout/look and feel of the WEBLINK user interface, based on say demographic preferences.“
The technology developed by Abalta has several advantages. The first one is for the driver: in using HTML5 as a core technology it is completely cross platform and OS agnostic, it will run on pretty much all smartphones. In comparison, many competing technologies do not support the full range of smartphone operating systems.
HTML5 is also becoming to be widely used for web and mobile development, so app developers will have only a minimum work to do to render their services on the platform.
The technology is also mostly server-based, so apps can be updated independently of the car and the smartphone.
From the car maker standpoint there are other advantages. The first one is that they do not need to add and maintain a web browser on the infotainment system. The second one is that the vehicle is future proof as the smartphone runs everything, especially CPU and connectivity.
See below a demonstration of WEBLINK: