‘Windows in the Car’, Microsoft’s answer to Apple’s ‘CarPlay’ in-car connectivity and infotainment system, has debuted in concept form before being rolled out into future production models. Watch our demo of Apple CarPlay here.
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Unveiled at Microsoft’s Build developer conference in San Francisco, the Windows in the Car system effectively projects what is displayed on the screen of a smartphone onto the vehicle’s central display.

It uses Mirrorlink technology to extend the functionality of a Windows Phone directly to an in-dash touchscreen, allowing motorists to swipe between screens and tap tiles, selecting audio, navigation and social networking apps, and accessing other features like climate control and vehicle information data.

Mirrorlink (used by Nokia’s Symbian phones and Sony’s Xperia Z) already has the support of Toyota, Volkswagen, Honda and Citroen, as well as aftermarket suppliers Alpine and Pioneer.

Windows in the Car’s close relationship with the Windows Phone means developers will be able to easily develop vehicle-specific apps.

Microsoft has previously partnered with BMW, Fiat, Ford, Kia, Nissan and others to create different in-car infotainment systems and interfaces to varying levels of success, though Windows in the Car represents a shift to a uniform system for a range of brands.

Microsoft is yet announce when Windows in the Car will reach production models and global showrooms, though with Apple’s CarPlay set to launch before the end of the year, Microsoft is not expected to drag its feet on an official release.