2014 volkswagen golf tdi feb 2014Image: Volkswagen

A Volkswagen Golf TDI can mind-meld with your phone, thanks to MirrorLink

BARCELONA—We're going to keep wanting to use our phones in the car, distraction or not, until someone finds a better way. On Wednesday at Mobile World Congress, that better way got noticeably closer when Honda and Toyota joined Volkswagen in showing infotainment systems that support MirrorLink, a standard for connecting smartphones to cars, and for showing smartphone apps on the car’s display.

You could see these shiny examples at the booth for the Car Connectivity Consortium, the organization supported by more than 100 auto-industry members and tasked with creating the MirrorLink standard. The organization has spent several years doggedly pursuing design wins. Garnering three in such a short space of time (Volkswagen announced its support late last year) shows positive momentum. Nearby, phone vendor HTC showed a Volkswagen Golf TDI at its booth with an HTC phone paired to it, thanks to MirrorLink.

volkswagen golf tdi with htc phone and mirrorlink Image: Peter Sayer

The red phone in this photo isn’t a hotline to Russia, but it is connected to the infotainment system of this Volkswagen Golf TDI 

The other piece of the puzzle is the apps. The idea is to make the phone app appear on the car’s display with a similar look and feel, but adjusted to allow for safe driving during use. This takes some extra work on the back end, and the CCC launched a developer conference at last year’s Mobile World Congress. At the one held this year, the organization announced Glympse, Parkopedia, and Coyote as the first three developers to enter the MirrorLink certification program.

MirrorLink is also supported by a number of aftermarket infotainment systems, so even older cars could enjoy a better phone-to-car experience—with purchase and installation, of course.

All we want is to be able to use our smartphones in our cars, and doing so safely would obviously be ideal. MirrorLink has reached an important milestone at Mobile World Congress, paving the way to a less frustrating future in connected cars.

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