Just a few meters from the entrance to Nokia World
at London's sprawling ExCel Exhibition Centre, we found a Toyota
iQ compact with Nokia branding on the door. And in the dash was Toyota's new Touch Life smartphone integration system
, complete with Nokia Drive compatibility and display mirroring via MirrorLink. In addition to mirroring your Symbian Belle (or MeeGo) display on the 7-inch touchscreen, Touch Life also provides a driver-friendly interface, including enormous icons to control music playback, or to place calls to contacts by tapping their name and photo, or by using the jumbo telephone keypad. It also integrates with the Nokia Drive app, with a very simple (and also oversized) navigation interface. The concept is simple: access basic smartphone functions as you drive while limiting distractions. While you're parked, you'll have unrestricted access to your phone's interface, but non-critical features are disabled as you drive.
The demo unit we saw is still a few months away from hitting production, so there were a few hiccups. After connecting the Nokia 701 to the system, the smartphone's display appeared on the in-dash screen within a few seconds. We had full access to all of the phone's features until shifting into drive, when a much simpler screen popped up, with Call, Drive and Music modules. Everything worked rather seamlessly until we neared the end of the demo, when an "Enjoy the sound while driving" message appeared on screen, where the navigation window had been just a moment before. There isn't a firm release date in place, and the demo unit only appears to work with Symbian Belle at the moment -- though MeeGo
support (and likely Windows Phone
as well) will be available after launch. Jump past the break to see how it works from behind the wheel.
Nokia Drive with MirrorLink hands-on at Nokia World 2011