MirrorLink is a new standard for enabling your car radio screen to literally mirror your cellphone screen as well as control the phone.
The idea is that once you connect your phone to the radio, you don’t need to look at it while driving. The second goal is to attract so many suppliers to the platform that most phones will work with most car radios.
“Consumers don’t want to wonder if their smartphone will be accessible in a certain car. They just want it to work,” says Mika Rytkone, Chairman of the Car Connectivity Consortium which is promoting MirrorLink as a standard.
MirrorLink is now backed by 70 percent of the automotive market and 60 percent of the smartphone marketplace worldwide. Regrettably, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) is not a member.
Sony (NYSE:SNE) was first to announce a MirrorLink radio and expects to ship two models by this summer.
Alpine however, has been marketing a MirrorLink product overseas since late last year. It was also the first aftermarket company to join Nokia (NYSE:NOK) in the Car Connectivity Consortium to created the MirrorLink standard.
Said Alpine’s Steve Crawford, “The background is Alpine was the charter car electronics member of the Consortium and the first to team up with Nokia to define the guidelines for the MirrorLink protocol, so that’s been in the pipeline for a couple of years now.”
So why launch in Europe? Originally MirrorLink worked only with Nokia phones which are more popular in Europe. However, the standard has since been extended to other phones including Android and Windows Phone models.
To accommodate Apple iOS connections, suppliers use their own solution developed through their proprietary relationships with Apple.
Alpine would not pin down a date or product description for its upcoming product other than it should be available this year. It’s European model, the ICS-X8 App Link Station, works only with certain Nokia phones and we assume a U.S. version will work with a broader range of phones including Android models.