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Microsoft Bets Big On Computing For the Car

timothy posted more than 6 years ago | from the it-looks-like-you're-applying-makeup dept.

Communications 378

dstates writes "The automobile industry may be hurting, but Microsoft is doubling down and making a massive new investment in its automotive business unit. Microsoft already works closely with a number of car companies and will enhance that effort with more people and more resources. Sync developed as a collaboration with Ford Motor Co. allows motorists to control their cell phones, music players and navigation systems with voice commands while they drive. Microsoft is also making 'Live Search' technology available to automakers to develop in-car search and navigation. Detroit native Tom Philips, the new unit leader said 'There are a lot of technologies that are two to three years out that are going to provide even more connectivity and innovation. There's such a disconnect between what people experience in their cars and what they experience in the rest of their lives.'"

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Slightly off-topic (4, Funny)

grahamsz (150076) | more than 6 years ago | (#24385263)

Whats the state of navigation for linux in car systems? It'd be fun to homebrew one, but without decent navigation it's not a whole lot of use.

I'm sure i should have some BSOD joke in here too, but i haven't had my coffee yet

TomTom (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24385303)

The major navigation units like TomTom run embedded linux.

Re:TomTom (5, Informative)

wireloose (759042) | more than 6 years ago | (#24385747)

I have a TomTom and it's a darned nice unit. The cheapest model is around $100 (refurbished) from places like TigerDirect.com. I bought two of them, and they're more than enough for the wife and me. I can't foresee MS making anything that cheap that goes into a car.

Re:Slightly off-topic (2, Interesting)

Nursie (632944) | more than 6 years ago | (#24385437)

I'm hoping we'll get there before too long - I've just ordered an Openmoko [openmoko.org] Neo Freerunner. it has a GPS unit, I'm not sure what you can do with it yet.

If we can get some sort of GPL'd Tom-Tom or Garmin style software, that would be cool.

Re:Slightly off-topic (1)

dredwerker (757816) | more than 6 years ago | (#24386063)

I love the openmoko idea but I have just found its too dear for me. £272 in the UK. Trouble is I quite fancy the freerunner, the iphone(coz its shiney ok) and the N810. I need none of them :)

Re:Slightly off-topic (1)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 6 years ago | (#24386243)

It's the maps and more specifically the navigation data you would have trouble with, they won't give that away for free...
You can read the GPS data quite easily, and plot it over map images downloaded from google. I guess if you have an active mobile data connection you could feed the src and destination into google maps and plot a route, but making it recognise turns and tell you when to make them would be quite hard.

Re:Slightly off-topic (4, Funny)

Sun.Jedi (1280674) | more than 6 years ago | (#24385439)

Poll:
How long before someone 'bricks' their 'stang?

Re:Slightly off-topic (5, Funny)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 6 years ago | (#24385575)

What's that, the geek equivalent of wrapping it around a tree?

Just doesn't have the same ring to it..."So I jailbroke my Mustang, and then the new firmware bricked it, and now it's just sitting in my driveway saying, 'Please to fasten seat belt' over and over again...So...You wanna go sit in it?"

It's just not going to draw the girls.

Re:Slightly off-topic (3, Informative)

jacoby (3149) | more than 6 years ago | (#24386121)

There's two points of computation in a car. There's the part that interfaces with the locomotion, like the engine chips that are commonly modded for performance by people who are like that, and then there's the part that doesn't, like GPS and your MP3 stash and your wardriving kit.

This is where I'm employed now, more or less. I don't expect to see any car company making it easy to be more than an observer of your engine and transmission any time soon. And you can brick your GPS, MP3, etc, and as long as you can trip the starter, you can drive your car.

Re:Slightly off-topic (1)

Applekid (993327) | more than 6 years ago | (#24386135)

What's that, the geek equivalent of wrapping it around a tree?

I think the return of the HCF [wikipedia.org] instruction would be pretty cool... if not practical to start a carbeque whenever you need one.

Re:Slightly off-topic (4, Interesting)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 6 years ago | (#24385735)

the state of car computing sucks. Microsoft Did this in the 90's (AutoPC anyone?) and it sucked hard because the platform and Dev kit sucked ass.

Hell you had to get the apps signed which severely reduced the community programming for it. plus the OS it's self and the hardware was buggy as hell. I reproduced for the guys at CES a fatal bug they refused to believe existed.

If you turned on the ignition on and off and on again. you could lcok the hardware up HARD. this manifested it's self in manual transmission cars if you stalled the engine.

Re:Slightly off-topic (4, Interesting)

somersault (912633) | more than 6 years ago | (#24386059)

Oh FFS.. how can MS be so bad at everything they do?

I'm just glad this is about stuff like GPS and MP3 system inputs, and not actual car control. I don't want to have to wait til SP2 until it's safe for friends and family to use the MS Autodrivatron. I'd rather have a more ethically responsible corporation in charge of software and hardware that can endanger human life. The car manufacturers themselves are probably the best bet for designing self-driving cars. In fact I know that VW at least has a self-driving Golf that can race fast round a track made of cones, think it was on Top Gear I saw it. Big step from there to a car that can recognise and react to pedestrians properly, but at least there is some proper research being done towards the self-driving car.

Re:Slightly off-topic (4, Interesting)

MillionthMonkey (240664) | more than 6 years ago | (#24386111)

My boss had a Windows CE car. It would occasionally turn on at 3 AM to do a bunch of diagnostics. So he would get in the car the next day to drive to work and surprise surprise the battery is almost dead from showing a blue screen all night.

Re:Slightly off-topic (1)

charlesnw (843045) | more than 6 years ago | (#24385983)

Check out gpsdrive at http://www.gpsdrive.de/ [gpsdrive.de]

Re:Slightly off-topic (0, Flamebait)

Goaway (82658) | more than 6 years ago | (#24386345)

Whats the state of navigation for linux in car systems?

Well, as soon as Microsoft gets their project finished far enough that it can be copied, I'm sure we'll get several incompatible Linux implementations that all implement different subsets of the functionality.

Coffee Maker (1)

Zosden (1303873) | more than 6 years ago | (#24385267)

I'm still waiting for Mr. Coffee to add a coffee maker for the car.

Re:Coffee Maker (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24385327)

In the USA it would have to be served cold, though.

Re:Coffee Maker (2, Informative)

Freeside1 (1140901) | more than 6 years ago | (#24385383)

fuck Mr Coffee, i want Mr Fusion!!!

Re:Coffee Maker (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 6 years ago | (#24385801)

What about Mr Radar?

BSOD (2)

dredwerker (757816) | more than 6 years ago | (#24385269)

o goodie bsod as I am braking.

Blue Windshield of Death! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24385271)

"Well, I don't know, officer, I was driving an' then this animorphic paperclip appeared on the road and I swerved to hit him but instead he was just super 'mposed on the windshield so all I did was hit this here telerphone pole!"

About time (1)

Wiarumas (919682) | more than 6 years ago | (#24385293)

I'm suprised that it took this long to be honest.

Re:About time (2, Funny)

dredwerker (757816) | more than 6 years ago | (#24385421)

I am sorry - I just felt strangely compelled. It was kinda like the clutch in a car - i was pressed into doing it. or depressed. o i dunno

a prediction (1, Insightful)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 6 years ago | (#24385305)

PREDICTION: Microsoft misses the mark yet again!

Re:a prediction (5, Insightful)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 6 years ago | (#24385765)

PREDICTION: Microsoft is rehashing old failed attempts again...

They did this in the 90's with the autoPC platform. it was an utter failure.

Just like how tablet pc's have been a failure to the masses over and over and over again..

Re:a prediction (1)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 6 years ago | (#24385867)

Sad that they truly don't seem to learn from their mistakes....

Zune? (1)

Toe, The (545098) | more than 6 years ago | (#24385309)

So, since they appear to be emulating Apple... will the entire strategy be centered around the Zune?

Re:Zune? (2)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 6 years ago | (#24385685)

Are you saying that all new Fords will be turd colored? :P

Skimming the article, it seems that MS is trying to integrate their "Live Search" into their entertainment and information features of current systems. Sounds like they are trying to beat out Google in this area. While cars these days do have navigation and search features, the information they carry is only as new as the optical discs that they carry. Yearly updates and about $300 is about the norm for new updates.

Personally, I think something like iPhone integration would be more interesting. That way you can integrate mobile phone services too.

Re:Zune? (4, Insightful)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 6 years ago | (#24385785)

Navigational updates are a good thing...That stuff is only as useful as it is current, but it has big brother possibilities which I don't particularly care for, and I'm pretty mellow (for a geek) about potential violations of my privacy.

Microsoft especially has proven repeatedly that they are more than willing to sell out their customers...In my mind that's the real issue, above and beyond issues of utility or stability. Do you want them to have that kind of access to your life?

Re:Zune? (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 6 years ago | (#24386223)

In my mind that's the real issue, above and beyond issues of utility or stability

So you'd rather a system that could for example fry all the electronics in your car while you're on the move, possibly causing a complete lack of response on any of the controls (some modern cars are getting close to fly-by-wire..) and imminent death, rather than a system where those in control of te servers can see what regions you've requested map updates for? :P Personally I don't care. I'm quite happy to tell people I'm off to France for a holiday this week, I'm not afraid they're going to send an assassin after me or anything.. if you are concerned about that type of thing then just use a map instead of GPS!

Other alternatives update more often, too! (1)

wireloose (759042) | more than 6 years ago | (#24385803)

Actually, I can hook up my TomTom via USB into my pc, and download all sorts of stuff into it any time.

Re:Zune? (1)

PriceIke (751512) | more than 6 years ago | (#24385927)

Dollars to donuts that a Microsoft Sync-equipped vehicle will refuse to work with an iPod. (Even if you buy an Alpine head unit or other iPod-friendly device.)

Anybody tried this?

Re:Zune? (1)

Zerth (26112) | more than 6 years ago | (#24386263)

I've got one and my wife's Ipod works just fine in it. I just use a 2.5" USB external hard drive. It doesn't handle OGG, but I've yet to connect a device to it that didn't work. And if I did find one, I could just use the line input, which works with everything with a headphone jack.

On the other hand, I've had it go completely silent on me twice(not locked up, interface still responsive, just 0 sound output despite being turned all the way up) that could only be fixed by pulling a fuse.

Re:Zune? (1)

SScorpio (595836) | more than 6 years ago | (#24386387)

I don't have an iPod but the Sync user forums have people using them. They are also on the list of supported devices http://www.syncmyride.com/OWN/SUPPORTCONTENT/PDF/IOP_MEDIA_V100_US_EN.pdf [syncmyride.com]

The iPod does need to be connected via a special mode that allows Sync to control it and stream the media through the USB interface. This allows it to play the protected tracks. It supports most normal MP3 players that function as a flash drive and I am current using it with a USB thumbdrive with MP3s on it.

Sync also allows audio via a 1/8" jack so anything that will output to headphones will work, it also supports A2DP via Bluetooth for wireless streaming of music off your phone.

Re:Zune? (2, Interesting)

Jim_Maryland (718224) | more than 6 years ago | (#24386029)

Actually it seems to be closer to OnStar by GM's [onstar.com] Information/Convenience Services or Virtual Adviser options than Apple. I'm guessing the Zune tie in will be closer to what Apple has done with HD radio devices to allow for "tagging" content for later purchase.

Of course! (5, Interesting)

Corporate Troll (537873) | more than 6 years ago | (#24385311)

It's going to be as big as tablet computing, I tell you!

As someone who drives a 8.5 year old car (and is still happy with it) without a board-computer like the ones Microsoft sells, I still don't see the need for one. I do have a "board-computer" but it only calculates l/100km, driven time, and stuff like that. I don't think it uses an operating system.

In-car entertainment is something I cannot comprehend. If you've got kids they most certainly have a Gameboy or something like that, or they can read a book. That's what I did when I was a kid doing long trips (Okay, it was a Game Gear, but that's not a big difference). On short trips enterainment systems shouldn't even be turned on.

The only value I could see is a GPS system, but that really doesn't have to be based on Windows. Even then, in the 14 years I drive, I have rarely felt the need for a GPS. The few times I was in a foreign city without a map (and if you got there, you make sure you actually have a map *grin*).

Anyway, I know this is just my opinion and my needs are surely not reflected in what "Joe Driver" needs. Now get off my lawn!

Re:Of course! (4, Interesting)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#24385667)

My thoughts on this is that GPS is almost always completely worthless to me. I almost never go anywhere that I don't know where it is. I don't travel much any more, except locally, and when I do travel a two dollar map (or a free one from Google) tells me where to go.

My kids are grown, so I have no use for in-car movies and games, even if I did do a lot of travelling.

My car is an '02, and it has primitive computers that tell me things like my gas mileage, etc.

But some of the things Microsoft is advertising for cars, like changing the radio station or choosing an MP3 by voice, would interest me if anybody but Microsoft was building them. The other drivers are annoying enough, I don't need Microsoft's bass-ackwards inyerfaces pissing me off even more.

Okay, it was a Game Gear, but that's not a big difference. Now get off my lawn!

Damn, dude, thanks for making me feel so old. My youngest daughter was two when the Game Gear came out! I used a slide rule in high school. Pocket calculators cost millions of dollars and took whole buildings to house when I was a kid.

Re:Of course! (2, Interesting)

Corporate Troll (537873) | more than 6 years ago | (#24386015)

Damn, dude, thanks for making me feel so old. My youngest daughter was two when the Game Gear came out

If it helps, I got my Game Gear when I was 16 or so. ;-) I also owned an Atari Portfolio. No, and I didn't get them "just like" that like kids get Gameboys these days. (Are there even any kids left that don't have a Gameboy DS?!?)

But some of the things Microsoft is advertising for cars, like changing the radio station or choosing an MP3 by voice, would interest me

So the kids are annoyed in the back (yes, yes, I know yours are grown now) and find out that they can mess with the radio using the voice activation. Hours of fun! I'd rather have a radio with buttons and a standardized interface to connect MP3 players to auto radios.

It's Clippy For The Microsoft Auto! (3, Funny)

Skeetskeetskeet (906997) | more than 6 years ago | (#24385325)

Hi! I see you're trying to turn on the radio! Would you like to tune into a station? Hi! I see you're trying to turn on the AC, would you like me to cool the car down! Hi! I see you're masturbating while driving, would you like me to *CRASH*!!!!!!!

Re:It's Clippy For The Microsoft Auto! (2, Insightful)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 6 years ago | (#24385689)

Is anyone else homicidally enraged by the new "adaptive volume control" that seems to be standard in new cars these days? Speed up, the radio gets louder, slow down the radio gets quieter.

I've driven in some cars where it's semi-bearable...I don't quite notice it for a while because it's gradual. And I've driven in others where the volume goes up and down like a cracked out kangaroo to the point where I end up having to stomp on the brakes, whip off the road and punch the radio until it stops.

Re:It's Clippy For The Microsoft Auto! (1)

martin_henry (1032656) | more than 6 years ago | (#24385965)

I like the volume that changes with RPM, as long as it's able to be enabled/disabled like it was when I first noticed it (late 90's)...

Re:It's Clippy For The Microsoft Auto! (1)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 6 years ago | (#24386375)

I have a 1995 Jaguar with something like this, it has a speed sensor connected to the head unit. Doesn't seem to bother me too much, but it's fairly subtle because the car itself is also designed not to make too much noise even at high speeds.

You can pry it from my cold dead hands (4, Insightful)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 6 years ago | (#24385347)

I want to retain control of my car, thank you very much, and adding a bunch of so called 'var computers' is not going to do that.

Keep your grubby mitts off my vehicle.

Re:You can pry it from my cold dead hands (5, Insightful)

DesScorp (410532) | more than 6 years ago | (#24385717)

I want to retain control of my car, thank you very much, and adding a bunch of so called 'var computers' is not going to do that.

Keep your grubby mitts off my vehicle.

It's far too late for that. You "lost" control of your cars in the early 80's, when they started using computers to regulate everything from fuel flow to your transmission. The only difference now is that you can actually see the computer interface.

but no DOS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24386093)

There's no disk in a EECIV, just a nice reliable ROM. Without microprocessors and electric fuel injectors you'ld be stuck with an analog open loop system (carburetor).

Re:but no DOS (3, Insightful)

DesScorp (410532) | more than 6 years ago | (#24386209)

There's no disk in a EECIV, just a nice reliable ROM. Without microprocessors and electric fuel injectors you'ld be stuck with an analog open loop system (carburetor).

Uhh, I liked carburetors, thanks. In fact, I liked it when I could tune up my car myself without a bunch of digital instruments. When I was younger I enjoyed working on my car... I spent many weekends with the hood open. The parent poster is right in that the computerization of cars has taken some of the fun out of working on them. We always seem to equate analog with bad here, but I liked it when cars were simpler to build and maintain, thanks.

Speak for yourself (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 6 years ago | (#24386147)

I personaly have lost nothing, i can remove the ECM from any car i buy or completely reprogram it, replace the EFI with a carb, drive manual transmissions, etc. You also dont know the age of the chassis/body of the car i normally drive.

So please only speak for yourself when you claim ive lost control of *my* car.

Re:You can pry it from my cold dead hands (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24385975)

No one is messing with YOUR vehicle. YOUR vehicle is safe. These features are intended for NEW vehicles. Just don't buy a new vehicle. Problem solved.

I will now get off your lawn before you start throwing cats at me.

Re:You can pry it from my cold dead hands (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 6 years ago | (#24386079)

Until either federal regulations or insurnace requires it.

Re:You can pry it from my cold dead hands (2, Funny)

Oh no, it's Dixie (1332795) | more than 6 years ago | (#24386081)

I, for one, welcome our "var computer" overlords.

why not an AC socket or a microwave oven, instead? (1)

denis-The-menace (471988) | more than 6 years ago | (#24385367)

With all these electric cars, when will they put in something really useful instead of this flaky electronic shit, especially from MS?

Re:why not an AC socket or a microwave oven, inste (5, Interesting)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 6 years ago | (#24385851)

With all these electric cars, when will they put in something really useful instead of this flaky electronic shit, especially from MS?

Actually, it turns out that these things (automotive entertainment systems0 actually have to be extremely reliable. Windows Embedded for Automotive has to be way more robust than regular Windows Embedded, for example. The pressure comes from the car manufacturers themselves, not the public.

The reason is quite simply, if the system fails within the warranty period, it's a warranty repair. Warranty repairs are expensive, especially with prices dropping and margins thinning. Like the technology sector, a profit or a loss can be made simply by the amount of warranty work that needs to be done. (As a side benefit, people perceive a car that has to be in the shop to be of way lower quality, even if it's in the shop because the entertainment system keeps dying). Anyone remember the classic VW radio with the anti-theft that keeps going off on the slightest electrical spike?

Here's the other nasty thing about automotive systems - the parts must be available for years after the model is discontinued. With external DVD players, aftermarket stereos/DVD players, etc., it's not a big deal since the owner can buy a new one. But that new in-dash GPS/radio/climate control/etc. unit, if it breaks within that time period, it has to be replaced. (Think about all those 5 year "bumper to bumper" warranties, too). Given how fast technology moves, it's actually quite difficult to design a system and still have parts available for it 5-10 years after it was made.

Re:why not an AC socket or a microwave oven, inste (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 6 years ago | (#24386145)

They just need to make the newer ones work in the old cars so you can put in a new system 3-5 years later.

Re:why not an AC socket or a microwave oven, inste (4, Interesting)

Tim99 (984437) | more than 6 years ago | (#24386281)

Actually, it turns out that these things (automotive entertainment systems0 actually have to be extremely reliable. Windows Embedded for Automotive has to be way more robust than regular Windows Embedded, for example. The pressure comes from the car manufacturers themselves, not the public.

We wish... I have spent many happy hours in QANTAS business class watching the Windows CE based in-flight entertainment system rebooting, and rebooting, and rebooting - You got to see a Windows CE error screen for minutes at a time. The last occasion it it happened to us, they gave us refunds/gifts to the value of $700 as the system was out all the way from Singapore to Frankfurt. One of the nice cabin crew told me that it happened regularly, and that the experience had put her off Windows - She had just bought an Apple Mac. Anecdotal, but still frightening.

Obligatory (5, Funny)

Belaj (1073748) | more than 6 years ago | (#24385371)

Deploy airbag? [Cancel | Allow]

Has promise outside of the "car" (3, Insightful)

xZgf6xHx2uhoAj9D (1160707) | more than 6 years ago | (#24385375)

Even if the "car" as we know it is disappearing, Microsoft's work should transfer over nicely to whatever replaces it. I doubt there's much about Microsoft's system that assumes an internal combustion engine. If the car should die, the need for people to get from A to B does not die with it. Maybe more people will be taking electric cars, or trains, or some weird sci-fi individual self-navigating capsules in a mesh of tubes. In all of those cases, Microsoft's software would still have a place. Seems like a promising investment to me.

Re:Has promise outside of the "car" (2, Insightful)

Norwell Bob (982405) | more than 6 years ago | (#24385591)

I'm figuring their long-term goal is to essentially follow the user everywhere... From home to your car, into work, then back to your car, and back home again. They've already successfully penetrated the home and work markets, once they get into our cars, then they've opened the way to possibly building devices that a user can carry with them at all times to offer something of an uninterrupted Microsoft experience.

That's not a tinfoil-hat supposition, either... I think their goals are mostly innocuous and business-related.

Yay, disconnect! (2, Insightful)

UncleTogie (1004853) | more than 6 years ago | (#24385395)

There's such a disconnect between what people experience in their cars and what they experience in the rest of their lives.'"

Good. I want that disconnect when people are driving half-ton pieces of metal that could kill someone. You think cell phones are distracting? Jus' picture someone trying to reply to a flamewar... in rush hour...

Re:Yay, disconnect! (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 6 years ago | (#24385795)

YOu want that disconnect? get a bike.

I love it, no cellphone ringing, no radio, just wind and me flipping car and SUV drivers off that do not think or are blind.

Nothing freaks out a moron executive in his Saab when you knock on his window and ask what his problem is.

Obligatory story ... (3, Informative)

photonic (584757) | more than 6 years ago | (#24385427)

Before anyone is going to post the story about Bill Gates and the director of GM about cars crashing 3 times a day: it never happened [snopes.com] ...

Get that lock-in going (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24385433)

That's because those pesky free-software freaks haven't figured out how to replace their car's sofware with linux yet. Still space for a good-old-fashioned monopoly lock-in.

Turn left? [Y/N] (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24385441)

You've turned the wheel to the right. This will cause you to stop going straight. Are you sure you want to do this?

Yes No Cancel

Re:Turn left? [Y/N] (3, Funny)

pitchpipe (708843) | more than 6 years ago | (#24385943)

WARNING: You've pressed the brake extremely hard. This could cause compatibility issues with other Microsoft modules in your car.
You could:

  1. Press the pedal less hard.
  2. Press eject on the CD player.
  3. Try turning off the car, wait 20 seconds, then turn it back on again.

CANCEL or ALLOW?

Disconnect (2, Insightful)

QuietLagoon (813062) | more than 6 years ago | (#24385451)

There's such a disconnect between what people experience in their cars and what they experience in the rest of their lives

.

Probably because when people are in their cars they are driving around large, heavy, and potentially lethal, vehicles. Now Microsoft wants those people to be distracted by unreliable Microsoft software.

try centrafuse (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24385453)

Some friends of mine wrote centrafuse (car computer frontend) and started Flux Media. They have an awesome little piece of software there. BTW, I am not affiliated with them except as friends.

Finally! (2, Funny)

InvisblePinkUnicorn (1126837) | more than 6 years ago | (#24385467)

Finally, now the term "speed-hacking" can be applied outside the context of video games!

I will never... (0, Redundant)

martinQblank (1138267) | more than 6 years ago | (#24385503)

EVER buy a car that has a "Designed for Windows" sticker on it.

I won't buy a car with it (2, Interesting)

Reality Master 201 (578873) | more than 6 years ago | (#24385541)

Sorry, I'd never buy a car with a MS computer in it. Call me bigoted or whatever. I just won't.

Re:I won't buy a car with it (1)

Kingrames (858416) | more than 6 years ago | (#24385603)

It looks like you're trying to make a left turn. *your windshield is covered up by a giant talking animated traffic cone* Would you like to make a three-point turn, a regular left turn, or a U-turn?

Re:I won't buy a car with it (2)

david.emery (127135) | more than 6 years ago | (#24385711)

Well, I'd "never say never", but given the current state of things there's no way in the -foreseeable future- I'd buy a car with a Microsoft product in it that I was aware of, particularly one that made its presence known to me (e.g. an in-vehicle entertainment or user interface unit.)

  And I've sent Ford a message to that effect.

dave

Re:I won't buy a car with it (1, Insightful)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 6 years ago | (#24386291)

Sorry, I'd never buy a car with a MS computer in it. Call me bigoted or whatever. I just won't.

You may not be offered a way to tell. The interface will almost certainly be highly custom to the brand, you probably will not know what is running the GUI.

experience?! (5, Insightful)

jcgam69 (994690) | more than 6 years ago | (#24385543)

There's such a disconnect between what people experience in their cars and what they experience in the rest of their lives.

I have a novel idea: maybe we should focus on DRIVING while we're in the car.

Re:experience?! (2, Funny)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 6 years ago | (#24385643)

I have a novel idea: maybe we should focus on DRIVING while we're in the car.

And people like you are the reason that progress is so slow. Always doing the same thing, day in - day out. You need to open your horizons to new experiences.

I feel a car analogy coming ...

Re:experience?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24385775)

And people like you are the reason that the number of fatal accidents on the roads remain high, year in - year out.
Please stay off the road while you're having a different experience inside (or outside) your car.

Re:experience?! (1)

oyenstikker (536040) | more than 6 years ago | (#24385843)

And people like you are why I keep getting hit by people paying more attention to phone conversations/radios/text messages/gps/moving billboards/computers than to the ton and a half of metal they are piloting.

Re:experience?! (1)

eastlight_jim (1070084) | more than 6 years ago | (#24385659)

And not crashing...

Re:experience?! (1)

cushdan (949520) | more than 6 years ago | (#24385763)

There's such a disconnect between what people experience in their cars and what they experience in the rest of their lives.

Soon you'll be able to sit and get pissed at MS in your car too!

as long as they don't restart my car (1)

iLoveYoyo (1109245) | more than 6 years ago | (#24385567)

while I am driving, I am OK with their systems

lifetime problem. (1)

edavid (1045092) | more than 6 years ago | (#24385595)

The lifetime of a car is 10 to 20 years. The lifetime of a MS OS is 5 years. Less when there is no update. See the problem ?

Re:lifetime problem. (0, Flamebait)

Bombula (670389) | more than 6 years ago | (#24385995)

The lifetime of a car is 10 to 20 years.

You obviously drive Japanese, not American cars. With American cars, the 5-year life cycle is no problem...

Re:lifetime problem. (1)

zach_the_lizard (1317619) | more than 6 years ago | (#24386095)

I happen to have a '65 Ford truck that I use for hauling things around. Sure, it's older than I am, but it gets the job done. Your statement would be truer if you had said uncared for American cars last only 5 years. With some actual care, cars can last for a bazillion years unless you get in a wreck.

Late to the party (1)

SirGarlon (845873) | more than 6 years ago | (#24385633)

In my opinion, MS is late to this party. The electronic devices we want and use inside the car are, in order of importance, music players (radio/CD/MP3/8-track for all I care), GPS navigation, hands-free cell phone.

All of those already exist and are available as add-ons, if not dealer options.

Sure, it would be nice to have a central control point for all those devices, but it would be nice to have "digital convergence" in my living room with a central controller for my TV, DVD player, stereo, etc. "Would be nice" evidently doesn't make things happen in the marketplace.

I don't see what a car computer can offer, that isn't already available.

Yes... (3, Insightful)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 6 years ago | (#24385645)

>There's such a disconnect between what people experience in their cars and what they experience in the rest of their lives.'"

Yes. My car doesn't suddenly quit for no reason.

I can see it now (2, Funny)

GregPK (991973) | more than 6 years ago | (#24385651)

I was late today, My car gave me the red ring of death this morning. I called it in, and they tried to charge me 100 dollars to read the error code that a headlight is bad.

I just cant wait to see... (2, Funny)

Bazman (4849) | more than 6 years ago | (#24385687)

...the first blue windscreen of death. Literally.

['windscreen' is what you across the pond call the 'windshield']

microsoft in autos (1)

KernelMuncher (989766) | more than 6 years ago | (#24385705)

Just another great excuse why you're late for work: "My car had the blue screen of death."

yuo fail It!? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24385751)

work thaT you these rules will

No way in hell. (0, Troll)

jcr (53032) | more than 6 years ago | (#24385755)

I will not drive any car that depends on Windows for so much as operating a retractable antenna.

-jcr

embedded windows problems (1)

wireloose (759042) | more than 6 years ago | (#24385915)

I don't blame you. I have a number of "embedded Windows" devices on my network. Each of them runs for a day or so without reboot. Some require cold restarts, others can be warm-rebooted. I certainly would not want embedded Windows in my engine control system. I'm not sure that I need it for anything more than easy navigation. There are plenty of nice sound systems that don't require Windows to run. No way I'd put video systems in my car, too distracting! The only reason for a TomTom is that it can give me verbal directions and occasional planning data in areas I don't know.

Live Search? (1)

Oh no, it's Dixie (1332795) | more than 6 years ago | (#24385807)

Microsoft is also making 'Live Search' technology available to automakers to develop in-car search and navigation.

Why would I want that? I'll wait until Google makes an in-car search feature, thank you very much.

Hmmm (5, Insightful)

Kelbear (870538) | more than 6 years ago | (#24385831)

"Detroit native Tom Philips, the new unit leader said 'There are a lot of technologies that are two to three years out that are going to provide even more connectivity and innovation. There's such a disconnect between what people experience in their cars and what they experience in the rest of their lives.'"

Maybe, just maybe, the reason for the disconnect is that we're in a giant heap of metal hurtling at 70mph amid a bevy of other giant heaps of metal.

I think we should preserve that disconnect.

Putting the MS flame wars aside... (3, Interesting)

dudeinco (1313377) | more than 6 years ago | (#24385949)

I own a car computer in my car (and have for the past 2 1/2 years) with a touch screen monitor custom built into the dash. After two years of running this, I can honestly say that the most stable part of this was the operating system (Windows XP). I had trouble with the hardware, had a hard drive die, had many issues with the software powering it, but the one thing that did not crap out on me was the operating system. For those of you questioning why a car entertainment system, the answer is simple: thousands of songs (30 gigs worth) at your finger tips, an easy to use display that actually displays, searches, and catalogs your music while displaying the album art is unbeatable when you have a commute or take a long journey somewhere. From a music standpoint alone, it is completely worth it. Also being of the male persuasion, I would prefer not to ask for directions and find it quite cryptic when most people give directions, so having my built in pc-based navigation unit is priceless as well. As far as pictures and movies in your car, who cares? It's like having pictures and movies in your IPOD - for what?? That part is pointless, but I guess it is nice to have. I guess for all of you that have harsh comments either wish you had a car pc, but could never afford it, or just have some juvenile MS flaming fetish. :)

New Meaning to BSOD (2, Funny)

zach_the_lizard (1317619) | more than 6 years ago | (#24385959)

Microsoft, Automobile Division: giving new meaning to "Blue Screen of Death."

Enjoy your ride.

What they think we need, and what I think we need. (2, Interesting)

WillRobinson (159226) | more than 6 years ago | (#24385997)

I have a tom tom, and love having gps when I travel. Being a technical astute person. What I would like to have is a system, with gps (1), music (mp3) (2) and radio control (software radio) (3), maybe cell phone control (4), all tied with wireless so when I pull up to my house I could sync all items, gps maps, music, os updates etc.

Now that I think of it, I guess just a nice little low power pc running of a 4 gig card with no hard drive to be the firewall and manage the wireless connections to the car and a little hub would allow everything that is existing to be tied together.

The return of Clippy! (2, Funny)

Eoika (1123009) | more than 6 years ago | (#24386051)

It looks like you're travelling down the freeway.
Would you like help?
- Get Help Driving down the freeway.
- Continue Driving without help.
- Don't show this tip again.

Map-point based GPS? (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24386153)

Frankly I was surprised that Microsoft never entered the car GPS market. They have their excellent MapPoint product; if they made a car GPS that was built off of that technology and had integration with the pc product (an interface to load planned routes from the PC version from a USB stick or something would be nice) then I personally think that would be pretty awesome.

The more you tighten your grip... (1)

walsingham1 (1238556) | more than 6 years ago | (#24386207)

... the more [star] systems will slip through your fingers.

Automotive botnet? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24386255)

Imagine millions of cars controlled by botnets, as ruthless criminals seize control of insecure systems in order to extort businesses, governments and individuals. Imagine the automotive equivalent of a denial of service attack: GPS devices are modified to direct drivers en masse into bottlenecks to cause collisions, gridlocks and pile-ups.

Sounds too unlikely to ever happen? Surely such systems would never be made so insecure, or built with hackable internet connections! Tell me, wWhat would you have said fifteen years ago to a time-traveller who came back and described today's botnets to you?

Solution looking for a problem? (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 6 years ago | (#24386337)

Why would I want a general purpose computer in my car? Will it help me to get where I'm going or improve my journey in some way? Seems lots of cheap dedicated devices do that much better.

I'd just be happy... (2, Insightful)

SCHecklerX (229973) | more than 6 years ago | (#24386371)

if control interfaces and APIs would become standardized.

Everything is designed for i$foo. My head unit can read mp3s from a flash drive, but it doesn't do it optimally unless you use their software to put stuff on there (kenwood).

I also own a sansa, which I love. It was $100, so I don't care if I break it of lose it (the point of a portable player that doesn't do anything else). And I don't need anything special to put the music on it. It's just a mass storage device to my OS (which isn't OSX or M$).

It sure would be nice if I could just plug my sansa into my car, or anybody else's, and queue up the music. I'm sure apple's patenting makes this a dream. Instead, I have things in 3 locations: the home server, the sansa, and the hard drive that stays in the car, and if I want to control something out of the box, the only option is Apple hardware, which doesn't easily interface with anything else that I use computer-wise.

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