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Google's Open Automotive Alliance Aims to Bring Android to Vehicles

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Google's Open Automotive Alliance Aims to Bring Android to Vehicles


January 06, 2014

By Rory Lidstone, TMCnet Contributing Writer

Google just can’t keep Android (News - Alert) in one place. After hitting the market on smartphones, and eventually tablets, the mobile platform has been seen in set-top-boxes, smart TVs, wearable devices and more. However, it hasn’t made much headway outside of the smartphone space. But a new initiative by Google (News - Alert) may change this.

The industry that Google has set its sights on this time is that of connected cars, an area that Android is no stranger to — it has been appearing in in-vehicle infotainment systems since as early as 2011, after all. However, with the forming of the Open Automotive Alliance (OAA), it’s clear that Google wants Android to become a common part of dashboards the world over.

In typical Google fashion, the OAA has a good deal of support right out of the gate with technology and automotive companies like General Motors (News - Alert), Honda, Audi, Hyundai and Nvidia on board. These companies are all looking to customize Android for use in vehicles, giving technology partners the chance to place their offerings in hundreds of millions of cars, while allowing automakers to modernize their vehicles’ software.

Traditionally, car companies have avoided the new and flashy in favor of stable, proven technology. After all, vehicles need to provide a certain level of safety and reliability above all. That said, the rapid evolution and proliferation of smart mobile devices has threatened to make in-vehicle systems obsolete. Some automakers have tried to fight this, usually by opting for a variant of Linux, or BlackBerry’s (News - Alert) QNX platform, but the result is a fragmented collection of ecosystems that are costly to develop for.

With the OAA, car manufacturers can avoid this since Android is such a huge presence in the smartphone space. In other words, Android provides manufacturers with access to new, better technology and a well-established app ecosystem. More importantly, a concentrated effort by industry experts should help make Android as reliable as automakers need it to be.

Edited by Cassandra Tucker

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