May 16, 2017
Audi and Volvo go all-in on Android
Volvo and Audi's new cars will come with Android built in.
Audi and Volvo are making a very public commitment to Google after pledging to build Android into their next generation of cars. Rather than simply enabling your smartphone to interact with the vehicle, Google's software will be the operating system for these car's infotainment units.
Users will, potentially, be able to use a wide variety of Android-specific apps on their whips, as well as use Google Maps for navigation. In addition, drivers will be able to control their AC, sunroof and windows from the same console that they find a new Spotify playlist or chat to their (Google) voice assistant.
Since Nougat, Google has been pushing Android as a "turnkey" platform that car makers can use on their cars in the same way phone manufacturers do. This news is tied in to the fact that Google has its developer conference coming up, and needs to hook developers on for the ride.
We've already seen this in action, Google was demoing a Maserati that was running Android at last year's I/O. Its utility was already obvious, even back then, since Google's interface is worlds away from the terrible automotive displays we normally use.
It should, hopefully, enable those vehicles to become more useful over time as more features are added to Android. It'll also ensure that cars of the future are little more than glorified smartphone accessories -- albeit ones that are several thousand dollars more expensive than a sexy case.