In the next few years, your new Android device might not just be a phone in your pocket or a tablet in your bag, it could be in the car in your driveway, the Android team announced. Google has teamed up with automakers Audi, GM, Honda, and Hyundai, as well as chip-maker Nvidia to bring Android to cars. 

Opening a World of Possibilities

In the blog post announcing the new Open Automotive Alliance, Android Engineering Director Patrick Brady wrote that these new partnerships will minimize the gap between devices and cars, creating “a common platform to drive innovation in the car and bring Android to the open road.” Though Brady stopped short of detailing what types of features users can expect from the Android operating system in cars, he did hint that things like navigation and the ability to stream media from Android devices are be something eager fans can anticipate. 

It’s not hard to imagine how bringing Android to cars would change the way users interact with their devices while driving. Google and developers would have the freedom to design apps around a whole new ecosystem, allowing services beyond GPS and music. Screens on the dashboard could display weather information or provide audible warnings when there is a traffic delay on a route. Backseat screens could entertain kids with games during long road trips. The possibilities are endless, and Google will have plenty of opportunities to harness this growing technology in new and interesting ways. 

Apple and Microsoft to Offer Competition

Google already has some competition in this space; Microsoft partnered with Ford on its Sync operating system, currently available in select cars. Though Sync doesn’t yet have many features, it does allow users to access basic apps and functions from connected devices, and supports stand-alone apps such as Bing and Pandora. However, Google’s biggest threat may come from Apple, which recently announced “iOS in the Car,” which will allow cars to access features like phone calls, music playback, and navigation from connected iPhones and iPads. Automakers participating in Apple’s iOS in the Car campaign include Acura, Chevy, Honda, Nissan, Kia, Hyundai, and even high-end manufacturers like Infiniti, Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar, and Porche.

Both iOS in the Car and Google’s car-optimized Android operating system are still deep in development, and there are no specific release dates or car models that are expected include this enhanced feature. These new developments could pave the way for a whole new line of “smart” cars.

Would you be interested in having more smartphone features in your car?

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons




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