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Microsoft's New "Windows in the Car" Concept Takes on Apple's CarPlay

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Microsoft's no stranger to in-car entertainment systems; it's been powering a number of auto-makers' interfaces for years. But now, Microsoft is getting serious about its own, Windows Phone-centric car integration system—and it looks an awful lot like Apple's own CarPlay.

The company unveiled its in-car system at the Build developers conference this week, and though it's still strictly a concept at this point, it is, in fact, being tested in some actual, real-life cars. Tentatively dubbed Microsoft in the Car, the system essentially works as a mirror for what's already on your Windows Phone, allowing users to access apps like Maps, Xbox Radio, and Spotify on in-dash screens as well as physical car settings like defrost.

Microsoft in the Car is currently powered by Mirrorlink, which already has the support of a number of cars from makers including Volkswagen, Honda, and Toyota (as well as Nokia Symbian phones and Sony's Xperia Z). Because the system is effectively an extension of Windows Phone, developers will be able to build car-specific apps, all of which carry heavy tones of Windows 9.

Currently, there's no actual date set for when we can expect to see this vision become a reality, but judging by the accidental crash in the middle of the presentation, we're still quite a ways off. With CarPlay set for release later this year, though, you can bet Microsoft won't leave us waiting long. [TechRadar, The Verge]