Why Bosch can become the 3rd force in automotive smartphone integration

Around the world, there is a great demand for safe and convenient ways to integrate smartphones into vehicles, due in part to legal regulations and the consumer’s desire for easy operation. The task now facing automakers is to work out the best way to meet this demand. In the past, many manufacturers have favored MirrorLink. However, since each phone manufacturer has to embed the necessary communication software deep within the phone’s operating system, providing a solution that is compatible with a wide range of devices remains a major challenge. So far, Apple and Google solutions are emerging as the frontrunners in this race – a testament to the power of both brands.

Bosch is offering a third option: mySPIN – a way to meet the needs of drivers, automakers, and app providers. A “launcher app” installed on your smartphone allows mySPIN to connect it to your car. You can then operate it using the car’s touch-screen display, or add the controls to the steering wheel. mySPIN and the almost 50 compatible apps help you to manage your day: While in the car, it can show you the fastest way to get to the next appointment on your schedule. On the way it can keep you entertained by playing your favorite music on internet radio while finding you a suitable hotel for the night. But, there is more behind the Bosch solution:

Three reasons why I think Bosch will establish itself as “the 3rd force”:

1. Meeting the needs of customers

As a customer, you want to use your smartphone in the car safely and easily. We ensure that each app mySPIN introduces into your car complies with Bosch’s “Minimized Driver Distraction” guidelines. Thanks to localized app centers situated around the world, we can bring even lesser-known apps to your car. And we’re prepared to call this approach a success – our app selection is currently the largest in the market and continues to grow. What’s more, it doesn’t matter whether you need to connect an Android, iOS, or Windows phone: the in-car experience is always of the same quality.

2. Meeting the needs of OEMs

Bosch has been dominating the supplier business for more than a century. We make smartphone integration simple and manageable by making it virtually independent from the car’s hardware. And when it comes to shaping the user experience, automakers can pick the look they want – just as the “launcher app” on the phone can be designed to fit any automotive brand. This app allows manufacturers and drivers to communicate at any time, not only when the driver is behind the wheel. So the smartphone doesn’t “hijack” the car’s infotainment display; instead, everything remains smoothly integrated and the displays have a consistent look.

But of course the focus here is on the apps. Automakers can choose precisely which apps they want to present to their customers, adjusting the selection for different countries and even for different models. They can also decide if an app should make use of vehicle signals, and if so, which. Moreover, manufacturers can expand their own apps that are tailored to their customers, and in so doing further strengthen the connection to the brand both inside and outside the vehicle.

3. Meeting the needs of app developers

We also offer an opportunity for small and less well-known app developers to get their apps into cars: our software developer’s kit. The kit can be integrated quickly and easily – a claim confirmed at numerous hackathons. These events help us identify other new ideas for app-based automotive services. In addition, we actively help developers meet all the requirements that will make their products something automakers want to present to their customers.

In the future, mySPIN will offer app developers access to up to 70 vehicle signals, depending on how the automaker has designed its vehicle-smartphone interface. This lays the groundwork for an even more fascinating and tailor-made experience when using apps in the vehicle.

Bosch is deliberately positioning itself as a bridge between automakers and app developers, resulting in the maximum benefit for users in the vehicle. Developers have the opportunity to collaborate with Bosch early on and enlist our help in developing innovative apps. This is how we will firmly establish a third and better way to integrate smartphone content and apps into the vehicle.

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About the author

Torsten Mlasko

Torsten Mlasko

Torsten Mlasko graduated from Germany’s Leibniz Universität Hannover in 1995 with a degree in electrical engineering. He then joined Robert Bosch GmbH as vice chairman of the technical committee on advanced research to work on digital audio broadcasting and MPEG audio coding. In 2007, he was appointed vice president of engineering in automotive navigation and infotainment systems, responsible for platform development. In 2011 he became managing director of Bosch SoftTec GmbH.