Seoul, South Korea – Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group (HKAG) has entered into a long-term agreement with Microsoft Corp. to co-develop the next generation of in-car infotainment systems. The agreement was signed in Seoul by HKAG president Euisun Chung and Microsoft chairman Bill Gates.

“These new systems will redefine consumer experiences in the car,” Gates said. “Since the spring of 2006, HKAG and Microsoft have been sharing their vision for the future of in-car technology. We’re now aligned to develop the next generation of in-car infotainment systems.”

The first product, a next-generation infotainment system that provides voice-controlled connectivity between mobile devices, will be introduced in the North American market in 2010; it will further be extended to Asian and European markets, and expanded into multimedia and navigation devices. The systems will allow consumers to enjoy music in various digital formats.

The systems are comparable to mini-PCs and, even after product launch, new functions can be added or upgraded through software program updates. The companies said this is an innovation to existing in-car multimedia technology.

Systems powered by the current version of Microsoft Auto are also currently available in Ford vehicles in North America, and in Fiat Auto Group vehicles in Europe and South America.

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