Seattle-based automotive platform and tools provider OpenCar has launched a new portal for collaborative in-car application development. The software development lifecycle (SDLC) management service, called InsideTrack, is the latest part of the company's suite of tools aimed towards developers of infotainment applications. These tools work as a common platform for building in-car applications and then distributing and maintaining them, including over-the-air updates.

OpenCar believes that the old cycle of applications in a car's infotainment being upgraded only with a new car purchase is outdated. Consumers, they believe, expect the infotainment in their cars to work like what's on their smartphones, tablets, and computers. Consumers expect internet-connected apps to not only connect and operate, but update and remain relevant.

Automakers agree with this assessment and are slowly working on migration away from the current paradigm. Recent moves by some carmakers like General Motors towards adopting more open platforms like Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, which are designed to fit over the top of established infotainment and smart devices, illustrate this. More interconnected options may come from ideas such as Google's Open Automotive Alliance and this new push from OpenCar.

The OpenCar suite of offerings come together to work in a way similar to the software developer kits (SDK) offered for various tech and platforms. Everything from Web-based applications like WordPress to gadgets like the Apple Watch have developer kits associated with them so that third-party programmers can build software to work with them. In many ways, what OpenCar is offering is the platform for an SDK for in-car infotainment. Automakers still have to sign on and make their software compatible, but in return they can open their vehicle infotainment to outside developers without compromising its integrity or their control of the experience, branding, and legalities.

OpenCar is showing their wares at the Los Angeles Auto Show in the Connected Car Expo attached to the show.

Source: OpenCar via LA Auto Show