Windows 10 Can Be So Much Better Than This In Car
Let's be fair, the twitter user who hitched up his Lumia 950 to his Pioneer in car-deck via HDMI has achieved a fair level of geek cool. Continuum has popped up a great desktop interface which, if not controllable with the head unit's touch screen, could at least work with a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse.
Except, what kind of masochist wants to use a full desktop PC in their car? I mean if texting and driving is killing people in their hundreds this is a recipe for nuclear accident proportions of road deaths.
Of course the problem is that the focus on Android Auto and Apple Carplay has rather dented the hopes of the (increasingly rare) Windows Mobile user, hopes of a comparable user experience to services which are already becoming common in cars.
As I've discussed before the failure of Mirrorlink (a Nokia initiative ironically) a standard which could have offered both car manufacturers and customers escape from the tyranny of Apple and Google in their cars, has been complete.
Leaving Windows phone fans with little to do but try to cobble together their own in-car solutions.
It doesn't have to be like this. In fact Windows Phone 8.1 and Windows 10 Mobile offer some pretty cool features that make Windows a good option in just about every modern car. If it has Bluetooth and at least a modicum of intelligence, Cortana and Windows will deliver some of the best features you'll get in car.
For example bringing up Cortana. For those phones that support it, 'Hey Cortana' is a great way of starting off your conversation. For cars that have phone voice recognition activation buttons you can press and hold to access Cortana. If your car has voice recognition built-in 'Call Cortana' should be enough to get you to your voice assistant and finally if your car has none of these a quick scroll through the address book should get you there.
And Cortana is smart. For example if you receive text message whilst driving Cortana will offer to read it to you and once it has, will offer you the option to reply using voice only. That completely unique feature, tied to the excellent logic wrapped around message dictation, places Windows way ahead of Android or iOS in car already. Start a new message thread via Cortana and you can benefit from the same smarts.
Other in-car tasks, like playing music by a particular artist, genre or from a playlist; or navigating to a location are easily achieved. The latter is entirely voice controllable as well. Ask Cortana to take you to a fast food chain and she'll tell you how many she's found, including which is closest. If want a particular one just tell her its general location or just ask her to go to the nearest and she'll start navigating you there. There are other apps that integrate into Cortana that allow you to, for example, find a nearby hotel room or a highly-rated restaurant.
Now being able to display the route on a car's head unit would be a bonus here, or even being able to send the route to the car's satnav system. However for most users these three items cover off most in car interactions. Two of which are proven life savers.
And of course hands-free calling is a cinch too.
Having a full in car display would be nice, but Windows phone users who crave a great in-car experience will find that they already have it, without having to worry about the cost or expense of something like Android Auto or Apple Carplay being built into their vehicle.