LeWeb 2011: Renault and TomTom to introduce in-car Android ‘tablet’
The RLink Embedded Multimedia Tablet was demonstrated by Renault staff at LeWeb conference in Paris, France.
The tablet is intriguing because, unlike previous satellite navigation devices developed by TomTom for Renault, it is open to third-party applications and supports EDGE connectivity for limited email and social networking connectivity.
The model has a 7-inch resistive touchscreen, slightly larger than previous PNDs offered through Renault, and features a customized version of Android 2.2 (Froyo), which has been edited so that Google Maps no longer features on the Google API.
Renault said that the software development kit (SDK) for developers is still in preparation, but the car makers hopes to distribute this in early 2012. Completed apps will be available from the RLink app store, and Renault claims to be working with both big and small companies on developing applications for this system.
The tablet will come with an integrated EDGE modem, with Renault explaining that the technology is ‘cheaper and more reliable’ than 3G, especially in France. A spokesman for Renault did say that 3G will be possible, either via an external 3G stick or through phone tethering.
In terms of networking features, the RLink Embedded Multimedia Tablet will support email and social networking applications for Facebook and Twitter.
TabTimes asked Renault’s Pierre-Francois Le Faou, the manager of project infotainment, about the tablet and as to why consumers would prefer this design over using a traditional satnav, or a smartphone or tablet, with third-party navigation applications.
“By integrating the unit, the tablet will be able to link to the car’s computer, for petrol and electricity consumption, and this is not do-able with a smartphone app”, said Le Faou, who added that the RLink is ‘somewhere in the middle’ between a PND and a tablet, and ‘much more than a satnav’.
The RLink Embeded Multimedia Tablet is due to be showcased in the Clio 4 and Zoe electric car at the Paris Motor Show next December. Renault hopes to deploy the system to the rest of its range from the beginning of 2013.