Who"s davidlian?

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davidlian is an ultra-geeky chinese dude that works for a technology PR agency. He loves fiddling with techno-toys, plays Warhammer 40K, and shoots pictures wherever he goes. Here, he rants about PR, Technology and anything else. Don't expect balance and un-biased, he ain't no journalist. Anything said on this blog are solely davidlian's personal views. Don't confuse them with company mantra, client's views or views of any organisation he may be part of.


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Can I has car apps?

Last week, BMW announced that it was seeking partners to develop an open-source software platform for cars. And if you think about it, it's actually quite a fascinating idea.

BMW Computer - Share on Ovi
Press picture taken from press.bmwgroup.com. Hosted on my ShareOnOvi account.

You see, the thinking is that more and more "screens" are coming into our life. Once upon a time, 
the only "screen" you had was the Cinema. Then the TV. Then Computers. Then the mobile device. And each subsequent screen added more interactivity and communication until today, we carry our mobile devices wherever we go and easily access the internet that way.

But I digress. At least for computers and mobile devices, its quite clear that you can now install applications and customise the "screen" to do what you want. Want weather? Fine. Want games? Fine. And most of the time, depending on the "screen" your app selection will suit the use of the product.

I play plenty of games on my PC and watch movies. But on my mobile, I prefer to quickly check my email or Twitter while on the move.

This is where I get really excited about this little announcement by BMW. If all cars in the future come built in with "screens" and we're able to install custom applications onto our cars, I could see a whole new level of computing coming and the "5th screen" being the one in your car.

Of course, naturally, there's a whole load of thinking still to go. For example, would the software allow installed software to control the mechanical aspects of the car? Imagine an app called "Turbo Parking Beta 0.8" which is supposed to use sensors around your car to "auto-park" for you at 60 km/h. Imagine the first version being released and the next day's news headline is "60,000 unexplained parking accidents in the city." Whoops, the bugs got to the software.

Obviously, this is all wishful thinking, but I'm going to wish BMW all the best in its efforts here.


KY said...

We'll just have to wait and see, remember iDrive from the same car maker?

davidlian said...

Yeah, but iDrive was just proprietary embedded software that controlled various functions of the car.

When you talk about Software Platform, and Open Source at that, it sounds like a great opportunity for a standardised computing platform for cars to come along. And thereafter, apps.

KY said...

what I like to know is when we can put it in my old klunker! :P