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Toyota says it is the first carmaker to adopt a new connectivity protocol for in-car smartphone use (Photo: Toyota)

Toyota is adopting a new protocol developed by the Car Connectivity Consortium to connect smartphones to its vehicles.

The Japanese carmaker said the so-called "MirrorLink" protocol will be available to owners of the small Toyota iQ city car by the end of the year.

The Car Connectivity Consortium is a group of carmakers and consumer electronics companies that wants to develop global standards and solutions for in-vehicle smartphone connectivity.

Toyota's newest version of its Toyota Touch infotainment system lets drivers mirror their smartphone's display on the main 7-inch touchscreen monitor in the car. Smartphone functions can be activated with steering-wheel based controls or through the touchscreen.

The system was developed especially for Nokia smartphones. These phones can also use a Nokia Car Mode app, which adapts the phone's user interface to the in-vehicle environment. While the car is moving, it offers only "the most essential and non-distracting functions on the smartphone," Toyota said.

There is also an app for Apple iPhone users.

Toyota Touch Life is the latest addition to the Toyota Touch family of infotainment products. The carmaker recently introduced its Toyota Touch & Go system on the Verso-S, Yaris and Hilux models. An expanded version called the Toyota Touch & Go Plus will be available on theAvensis, Prius and Verso, as well as on the Toyota Touch Pro for the Toyota Prius.