Built-in – or is it beamed-in?

I posted a while back about the different categories of partners we are working with for QNX CAR. I thought I’d follow up with some concrete examples for each category starting with built-in. It’s funny because when I started writing this I thought that built-in would be the most clearly defined of the classes and I have since come to the conclusion that it is the least so.

Built-in or native apps live on the head unit. These are the most familiar type of apps and we’ve seen self-contained navigation systems complete with map data, rendering engines and text-to-speech for a number of years now. Flash apps like games running in the QNX CAR environment are another example. As I started to think more about the nature of the integrations we are working on I realized that almost none of them fit into this fully self-contained group.

Many of the integrations we are seeing involve apps that are built-in to the head unit but rely on an external connection to retrieve cloud based content. This is content that is “beamed-in” but rendered and managed by software on the head unit. Examples include Pandora Internet radio where the music is coming from Pandora servers (which I still can’t get in Canada) or TCS where the map data and points of interest are downloaded into the head unit and rendered by the onboard app.

The line becomes more blurred with the partners who currently offer Flash apps that run on mobile phones (the domain of the brought-in) that are porting their apps to QNX CAR. These flash apps will run on the head unit but again will beam-in content. Companies we are working with on this include Stitcher and BlogRadio.

I suppose I could have used the Ford Sync notion of pretty much nothing is built-in and as soon as content is downloaded it is beamed-in but that doesn’t leave anywhere to put the really cool beamed-in stuff.

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