For years, Apple has been the king of the in-car entertainment world. Auto manufacturers loved putting iPod docks in their cars in an effort to win over iPhone-wielding consumers.
But then Apple did stupid things – like change its connector so that new Apple devices wouldn’t work in vehicles with the original connector. These errors, coupled with the increased market share of Android, have opened an opportunity for Google to step in and take control of the in-car entertainment scene.
Today, Google stepped into the in-car entertainment market in a massive way.
Earlier today, Google announced something called the Open Automotive Alliance. This Open Automotive Alliance includes some of the world’s largest vehicle manufacturers, including General Motors, Honda, Audi, and Hyundai. Chip manufacturer Nvidia is also collaborating with the project.
What’s the point of the Open Automotive Alliance? Google wants to encourage car manufacturers to add the latest wireless technology and connectivity features to their vehicles. At the same time, Google wants to make sure Androids can work with vehicles around the world.
Vehicle manufacturers win because they’re attracting Android users and modernizing their vehicles, and Google wins because it means hundreds of millions of vehicles could be Android-compatible in the near future.
At the same time, Google will work to standardize in-car entertainment across the industry, making it easy for developers to create car-related apps. It should also make it easy to connect your Android to whatever vehicle you’re driving – regardless of whether it’s a Japanese, American, Korean, or German vehicle.
There have been a few attempts at similar projects in the past, but nothing on this scale. Microsoft has teamed up with Ford to create MyFord Touch and Ford Sync, which runs Windows software in Ford vehicles. In 2009, companies like BMW, GM, and Intel created the Genivi Alliance, which attempted to collaborate automotive manufacturers around Linux in an attempt to create a common “In-Vehicle Infotainment” (IVI) platform.
Neither project has attracted the same hype or support as the Open Automotive Alliance.
Last week, we learned that Audi and Google were partnering together to create in-car entertainment systems in Audi vehicles. Now, it appears that the partnership goes beyond just Google and Audi and extends to the world’s largest automotive manufacturers.
If you’re an Android user and a car driver, then this is great news for you. If you’re neither of those things, then why are you even reading this article?