Feeds

Renault Clio IV and R-Link Android console hands-on preview

Behind the wheel with the Google-based in-car system

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Google's OS in the console

As to what powers it, the best I could get from Renault was that it’s a TI OMAP chip of some sort, which would have been my guess anyway. What has prompted Renault to call R-Link a tablet, and what separates it from the satnav herd, is that you will be able to download apps onto it from the R-Link Store to tailor its functionality to suit your needs.

Renault Clio R-Link

It's called at 'tablet' but it's not a Nexus 7 fixed to the dash

The initial range of apps will be limited to around two dozen largely due to Renault’s understandable desire to ensure that they all have reliable voice command integration and work in a way that doesn’t distract the driver and cause a shunt.

All R-Link content will be created and curated by Renault, and will only be available on subscription. To hear some journos howl when they heard the s-word, you'd think Renault had just shot their pet dogs, but it’s not that unreasonable a move. After all, someone has to pay for the 3G data the apps will use.

Renault Clio R-Link

There's Android underneath but not on top

Exactly how much this will cost is still to be determined though what we do know is that in the UK Orange - aka Everything Everywhere , aka EE - will be hauling the data and that the first four data-hungry apps - Twitter and e-mail clients, a weather forecast and TomTom Live - will be bundled together in a starter pack that will be free for the first three months of ownership.

It’s worth clarifying at this point that R-Link doesn’t require you to cough up for apps and data - the basic TomTom navigation and multimedia system will work just fine without being connected to the web.

Renault Clio R-Link

One car, one account, and no more

Something Renault has perhaps overlooked is multiple account support. Want the other half to be able to sign in to their account when using your Clio? No can do. Want to sign into your account when you’re sitting in an R-Link equipped rental? Again, not a chance.

There may well be good reasons for Renault insisting that one car equals one user account, but it is keeping mum about them at the moment. Either way, I think this will limit the system’s apeal.

My admittedly limited time with R-Link left me reasonably impressed. The Twitter and e-mail clients seemed to work well, and one app already demonstrates that Renault is prepared to let R-Link’s hair down: a sound generator that pipes the engine noise of a selection of sporty or classic Renaults through the excellent standard-fit stereo.

Renault Clio R-Link

The Clio's cabin is a very nice place to sit

So, despite it manifestly not being a tablet on your dash, the system shows promise. And being app-based means it should be a darned site easier for Renault to keep it looking and feeling up-to-date over the lifespan of the vehicle than might overwise be the case. And all on a car starting at just £10,595 too. ®

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

More from The Register

next story
Asteroid's SHOCK DINO KILLING SPREE just bad luck - boffins
Sauricide WASN'T inevitable, reckon scientists
BEST BATTERY EVER: All lithium, all the time, plus a dash of carbon nano-stuff
We have found the Holy Grail (of batteries) - boffins
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
Famous 'Dish' radio telescope to be emptied in budget crisis: CSIRO
Radio astronomy suffering to protect Square Kilometre Array
Bad back? Show some spine and stop popping paracetamol
Study finds common pain-killer doesn't reduce pain or shorten recovery
Forty-five years ago: FOOTPRINTS FOUND ON MOON
NASA won't be back any time soon, sadly
Jurassic squawk: Dinos were Earth's early FEATHERED friends
Boffins research: Ancient dinos may all have had 'potential' fluff
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.