Abalta announces smartphone-powered car tech system

Abalta announced the release today of WebLink, which lets a smartphone power a car's head unit.

Abalta WebLink Slacker interface
Abalta released this image showing the Slacker interface as it would appear on a WebLink-enabled head unit. Abalta

Abalta's just-released WebLink system makes use of smartphones to power popular apps on a car's dashboard. Although no automotive partners have been announced, the technology could let drivers see and control apps for navigation, music, news, and social media through their cars' touch screens.

For the WebLink launch, Abalta Technologies included integration with Slacker Internet radio, WebNav navigation, Parkopedia parking information, and WCities event information apps.

Abalta says WebLink will work with any major smartphone operating system. The technology makes use of the HTML 5-compatible browsers of smartphone operating systems, showing the content and accepting touch-screen control input from the phone.

Instead of installing an app in the car or on the phone, WebLink merely requires a URL to launch each service.

WebLink has the potential to lessen software development costs for automakers or equipment suppliers. However, it does require that drivers have a compatible smartphone.

Abalta says WebLink can provide a customized experience in the car, a necessity for automakers.

WebLink is similar to MirrorLink , which also shows smartphone content on an automotive head unit. MirrorLink has seen adoption in the Alpine ICS-X7HD aftermarket head unit (video).

Abalta showed off this video demonstration of the WebLink system last year:

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About the author

Wayne Cunningham reviews cars and writes about automotive technology for CNET. Prior to the Car Tech beat, he covered spyware, Web building technologies, and computer hardware. He began covering technology and the Web in 1994 as an editor of The Net magazine. He's also the author of "Vaporware," a novel that's available as a Nook e-book.



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