Apple gears up to race Google and BlackBerry in the auto tech market

Apple is reportedly gearing up to challenge rivals Google, BlackBerry and Microsoft in the auto tech market, with the company expected to make a major announcement at the 84th International Motor Show in Geneva.

The International Motor Show, which runs from March 6 to 16, is one of the largest of its kind in Europe.

According to a report in the Financial Times, republished by CNBC, Apple is set to announce a version of its iOS operating system, which is currently used on its iPhone and iPad devices, designed for cars.

The company is believed to have already signed Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo as partners to its platform, and is believed to have entered into talks with Tesla Motors.

The car-based iOS platform is set to compete head-to-head with Google’s Open Automotive Alliance, announced during the Consumer Electronics Show earlier this year, which supports a version of Google’s Android operating system designed for cars.

Currently, auto giants Audi, GM, Honda and Hyundai have signed on to Android, with chipmaker NVidia also signing on as an OAA partner.

In a statement about the Android alliance, Google’s director of Android engineering, Patrick Brady, highlighted cross-device integration as a key benefit for consumers.

“Common platforms allow for one connected experience across our phone, tablet and PC, so we get the right information at the right time, no matter what device we’re using,” Brady said.

“But there’s still an important device that isn’t yet connected as seamlessly to the other screens in our lives – the car.

“Putting Android in the car will bring drivers apps and services they already know and love, while enabling automakers to more easily deliver cutting-edge technology to their customers. And it will create new opportunities for developers to extend the variety and depth of the Android app ecosystem in new, exciting and safe ways.”

Google has also been working on autonomous car technology, with the company getting a licence for a driverless car in Nevada in May of last year.

Both platforms also compete against BlackBerry subsidiary QNX, which has long used its QNX Neutrino embedded operating system to power a range of in-car systems.

These include hands-free systems, driver information, infotainment, telematics, and advanced driver assistance functions.

As QNX explains in a statement on its website, the QNX CAR infotainment platform is at the centre of its automotive product offering.

“The QNX CAR Platform for Infotainment includes a wide array of QNX technologies: the QNX Neutrino realtime OS; a powerful mobile connectivity framework; a best-in-class acoustic echo cancellation and noise reduction hands-free solution; an HMI framework supporting Qt, HTML5 and other native UI toolsets; and different app environments.”

Bloomberg recently reported that Ford was looking at switching its in-car entertainment systems from Microsoft to BlackBerry.

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