SDL: A Better Way to Get Mobile Apps into the Connected Car

By Koji Hosaka, President of Xevo Japan & GM of Automotive

Consumers want a better way to use their favorite mobile phone features and apps while they’re driving. Automotive manufacturers want to deliver a unique, state of the art connected car experience that reinforces their brand, exceeds customer expectations and takes advantage of new usability and safety features. Mobile app developers want an efficient way to extend their app through connected car technology. These three customer type demands are converging, and Xevo believes that the open standard, SmartDeviceLink (SDL), is a catalyst for accelerating mobile app development for the connected car. It will lower the cost of app integration for OEMs and app developers, and will allow customers to have the best app-enabled driving experience.

SDL is an open source mobile device management project which creates a software framework, providing a template approach for both mobile application developers and automakers. Xevo is building on the open standard, offering SDL services to the OEM that include head unit integration on any OS, cloud services for tracking usage and approving apps as well as head unit OEM-specific templates. For mobile application developers, we are providing emulators allowing them to easily enable their apps to run in the car. These services provide key components to integrate the open standard software, greatly reducing development cycles for both parties.

Supporting and extending open standards has benefits for automakers, developers and consumers:

  • For automakers, using SDL services with the ExperienceManager Automotive platform dramatically shortens development cycles with one platform for all connected-car experiences, from deeply integrated diagnostics apps to the most popular mobile apps across infotainment.
  • For developers, SDL services allow developers to build in-vehicle apps for multiple car makes and models, allowing them to build and get apps to market faster.
  • Consumers get a better experience with more intuitive, less distracting interfaces to their favorite apps.


Recently, we announced that Xevo joined the Linux Foundation in a collaborative effort to support the connected car through the Automotive Grade Linux project. This open source effort is driven by a common interest in a connected car experience that seamlessly incorporates technology such as in-vehicle infotainment to allow customers to interact with their apps safely, effectively and securely.

Why is SDL and open source computing so critical? Because open source technologies accelerate innovation through greater involvement from the larger ecosystem. In the case of SDL, the open source standard provides automakers the opportunity to design and build the connected car app experience in a way that aligns with their brand, their strategies, consumer preferences and safety. We need to ensure the supply chain remains open to support more rapid innovation at a lower cost and greater choice during these critical early days in the development of the connected car market. 

I and the other members of the automotive business unit here at Xevo are excited to be designing and building the connected car experience in partnership with the industry’s top automotive makers. By offering SDL services as part of the ExperienceManager Automotive platform we are supporting automakers and application developers in designing and delivering a better experience to automotive customers.

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