Operating Systems Are Battling For Your Dashboard

Sections: Fuel Economy, Infotainment, Navigation, Powertrain, Telematics

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Operating systems have long battled for market share of our computers. Apple versus Microsoft versus the open sourced OS Linux and many others. That battle has even moved to smart phones and tablets with open sourced Android in the mix on those devices as well.

Ford's SYNC Infotainment System Uses Windows Embedded OS

Ford’s SYNC Infotainment System Uses Windows Embedded OS.

Now that battle for OS supremacy is taking place in your dashboard, according to car technology writer, Doug Newcomb. “As in the smartphone biz, the battle line is between proprietary and open source software. The outcome will determine what these systems look like, how they work and how distinctive they are as automakers embrace walled gardens or open ecosystems,” said Newcomb in a recent article for

Consumers may not really care what software is running their vehicle infotainment system—as long as it works smoothly. But for auto manufacturers whose design cycles are several years long, OS software is a tricky situation because the consumer electronics industry, especially with software, can change drastically in a matter of months.

One must also consider how systems will be updated once sold. Better quality vehicles being built means consumers are keeping vehicles for longer periods of time. So auto buyers will expect their infotainment system to be updated and working properly 5, 10 or even 15 years after purchase. This is far different from computers and mobile phones, where a 3-year old device may be considered antiquated.

Read Doug’s full article about the OS war going on for your vehicle dashboard here.

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