Microsoft showed off new Windows 8 car concept during BUILD 2014

Microsoft's Sync system for in-vehicle computing has been available for a number of years now, but recently there's been some questions on which car companies might use Sync in the future. This week during BUILD 2014, Microsoft showed off a next-generation in-car technology concept that's clearly based on the Modern UI used in Windows 8 and Windows Phone.

The demo of the next-gen Windows car concept was part of the BUILD 2014 panel called "Windows and the Internet of Things". As posted in video form on the Channel 9 website, Microsoft's Steve Teixeira starts discussing their connected car plans around the 25:33 minute mark. 

During his talk, Teixeira started a live demo of the new Windows car concept UI, which as you can see from the screenshots uses the Modern design. Users could pin specific apps and task to the car's Start screen, much like they can on a Windows 8 tablet or a Windows Phone smartphone. 

The demo also showed an app marketplace for the Windows car UI, which means software creators could port their Windows apps to work in the vehicle as well. Those apps could be modified so that when a person is driving, they won't be as distracted to view or use them. Teixeria stated that studies have shown that if a driver takes his or her eyes off the road while driving for more than just a couple of seconds, the chances of a major accident happening increase massively.

This concept is actually being tested in real cars on a local Seattle race track by Microsoft at the moment, but at the moment there's no word on when this Modern UI-based vehicle computing experience will be released to the public.

Source: Channel 9 via The Verge | Images via Microsoft

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This item will not be popular and hardly be used by any car manufacturer as long Microsoft is going to charge licensing fees.

okay just watched the video.. looks like indeed, they don't care about your car OS.. the phone will essentially broadcast into the car. That's heaps better

What would be even cooler is the universal apps working on them, even though there is no point running some apps in car system.

I'd agree that the Metro design language (strong typography, simple layout, no superfluous graphics) makes ample sense, but that's not really what they're showing here. This looks like it's drawing more from the Windows 8 layout concepts, and then throwing a pile of stuff on the screen at once. I think that any of the at-rest screens like the main radio, nav, MP3, etc. pages really should have a ten button cap. I'm cool with the settings screen looking like an Excel sheet, though (hell, I'll take registry access or an XML config editor as a bonus).

Mind you, both this and Apple's Carplay both look incredibly promising, and I'm not going to be one to complain too much about a modern OS of any kind powering infotainment units. My car's still rocking Windows CE6 despite being built last year. :-/

No, it turns it off :rofl: (sorry, it's an old joke couldn't help myself)

<serious mode> No it doesn't, you start the car in the normal way you would. Be that via key and/or its dedicated engine start/stop button </serious mode>

EDIT: No, I'm not a hypocrite. I know just had a go at someone else for "bashing" Windows and just did it myself then. However, I wasn't. Anyone who is old enough to remember the "Microsoft Car" will understand what I'm on about. in fact, I recommend you look it up if you want a good laugh!

Xerxes said,
No, it turns it off :rofl: (sorry, it's an old joke couldn't help myself)

<serious mode> No it doesn't, you start the car in the normal way you would. Be that via key and/or its dedicated engine start/stop button </serious mode>

EDIT: No, I'm not a hypocrite. I know just had a go at someone else for "bashing" Windows and just did it myself then. However, I wasn't. Anyone who is old enough to remember the "Microsoft Car" will understand what I'm on about. in fact, I recommend you look it up if you want a good laugh!


I think you missed the hint of a joke and a bit of a sarcasm with a touch of irony there :)

That looks sooooooo much better then that CarPlay thing Apple just released. This is where live tiles and modern UI in general will really shine I think. Way to go MS (Y)

so when will this "Windows car" gonna replace the steering wheel with a touchscreen?
steering wheel are so antiqued, more than so-called 'start-menu'.

You haters just can't let it go can you? every chance you get, you have to take a jab! nobody is replacing the steering wheel! it's just a car computer for the dash for controlling the various functions of the car. let it go!

Xerxes said,
You haters just can't let it go can you? every chance you get, you have to take a jab! nobody is replacing the steering wheel! it's just a car computer for the dash for controlling/using your phone in a safe manner. let it go!
Can't edit my post :p Just had to correct myself, it's for safely controlling your phone not the car itself. Got little mixed up :p opps.

Its clearly demonstrated and explained not to focus on the ui as this is still a concept based on open standards that will allow your in car experience to grow at the rate your smartphones change /update. Basically the in car stuff should be an extension of the phone, because the phone is constantly updated (be it updates or new phones) but you have a car for years.

techbeck said,
Still think it is dumb for a car company to intergrate any system that cannot be switched out/upgraded.

read and watch then, the approach ms is taking here is extending Smartphones using open standards, this is early build/prototype but they do stress that the in car 'bits' should be dumb to an,extent and feed from the fast evolving smartphones so the experience grows as your phones change/update.

techbeck said,
Still think it is dumb for a car company to intergrate any system that cannot be switched out/upgraded.

Maybe you haven't been paying attention to car systems in the past few years.

Tesla, GM, etc offer over the air and WiFi updates, not only to the car interface, but to the car's computer systems. These happen in the background and just appear as new systems and updates are pushed out.

No longer does a dealer have to upgrade or adjust any computer or software issues, they can be applied automatically to the car.

In the modern age, it is more about the computing hardware, we don't have to replace out the AM/FM radio to get new features, the existing computer hardware can handle most upgrades, even if they require an external device.

PS (Even some of the older ones can be upgraded by the dealer.)

Its good to see MS is not just trying to coast along with their car tech. They were in danger of getting overrun by alternatives, so they need to be aggressive. Its not a bad concept, so hopefully they can get it working well sooner rather than later so that companies like Ford can push it forward.

ACTIONpack said,
I'm guessing the window logo is the home button. Looks really early stages like the car play by apple.

They're just testing out the concept right now, UI is last on the list. The key here is that this is going to use a open standard and not something closed off like Apples CarPlay will.