As smartphone growth saturates — at least in mature markets — tech companies are turning their attention to cars as the next consumer frontier for their wares.
In the latest example, U.K. phone software maker SwiftKey has partnered with in-car entertainment manufacturer Clarion for their AX1 Android -powered touchscreen car stereo system — currently only available in South East Asia but due to be rolled out to the US and Europe later this year — expanding its predictive keyboard software from phones and tablets to the automobile dash.
SwiftKey said it will be providing the default keyboard across the entire AX1 device — meaning its keyboard software will be powering multiple interactions, from passengers typing directions to choosing which songs to play. The AX1 includes a web browser for surfing, email and apps access, and also supports 1080p Full HD video playback on its 6.5-inch touchscreen display.
Moving vehicles are an obvious setting for a smarter text entry system, a la SwiftKey, that can auto-correct typos on the fly — so the application here makes plenty of sense, even beyond SwiftKey seeking new growth opportunities.
In an update last October, the startup also unified its software across phones and tablets with a single version (SwiftKey 4.3) that can support multiple form-factor scenarios and typing styles. That update can also be viewed as SwiftKey making its system as flexible as possible so that it can be applied to as many device types as possible.
Commenting on the Clarion partnership in a statement, SwiftKey co-founder and CTO Dr Ben Medlock said: “We believe ‘connected car’ technology will be a growing trend throughout 2014 and is set to reach the mainstream. Partnering with a cutting-edge company such as Clarion demonstrates our real interest in this exciting sector and signals our ambition to become known as a leading platform for innovative, personalized technology.”
2013 saw SwiftKey’s software being used on more than 100 million devices globally.
In related news this week, Google announced the Open Automotive Alliance to help drive its Android platform deeper into connected cars.