Google Android, Apple vying for in-car software

Google Android, Apple vying for in-car software

in-car-softwareGoogle has launched its long-awaited in-car software, putting it in direct competition with Apple, and traditional car manufacturers for control of future dashboards.

Google and Apple, whose software platforms power more than 90% of the world’s smartphones, consider the car as the next technological battleground, as the companies vie to provide in-vehicle entertainment, communication and navigation systems to drivers.

Google’s in-car software, Google Auto Link, which has been developed with Audi, General Motors, Honda and Hyundai, will be initially be offered to those carmakers.

Every car sold in 2025 will have full internet connectivity, according to the GSM Association. Connected cars are seen as the natural precursor to fully automated self-driving cars, which many expect to be commercialised within the next 10 years.

Apple’s CarPlay, which was launched in March, provided in-car apps and seamless connectivity between cars and Apple iPhones. Google’s software is expected to offer similar features.

The San Francisco-based technology company is also developing its own self-driving car, raising the possibility that it could ultimately build both automotive hardware and software.

The entry of Apple and Google into in-car software could pose problems for carmakers, such as BMW and Hyundai, who have already developed their own connected car software.

Drivers with iPhones or Google’s Android devices are likely to demand that their cars use the Apple or Google software, forcing carmakers to either integrate it into their systems, or even make it a full replacement.

The in-car software is seen as a possible source of revenue for carmakers and technology companies alike, if providers are able to develop ways to monetise features such as in-car searches for hotel or parking spaces, music streaming or possibly in-car advertising.

Meanwhile, Volvo’s move into the in-car software market promises to add yet another dimension to the in-car experience.

Volvo Car Group has joined the Open Automotive Alliance to make the Android smartphone platform available to drivers through its new user interface. Android Auto brings features and services familiar to Android smartphone and tablet users directly into the car via Volvo’s large centre console touch screen display.

“Google’s approach to user-centricity and the application of technology to improve people’s everyday lives makes Android Auto a perfect addition to the Volvo experience,” says Håkan Samuelsson, president and ceo of Volvo Cars.

“We have worked hard to ensure an enjoyable user experience with Android Auto. This will offer our customers a new degree of fluidity and accessibility in the usage of their mobile devices, and bring the digital ecosystem our customers already enjoy into the car, complementing Volvo Cars’ existing connected car services and applications,” says Samuelsson.

Android Auto will provide access to Google search, Google maps, Google play music and specially adapted third party applications, such as Spotify. All phone-based applications can be controlled via voice or steering wheel controls, or the car’s touch screen ensuring the entire interaction with Android Auto content is both safe and easy.

Volvo’s portrait touch screen provides users with the benefit of having both Volvo Cars and Android Auto content on the screen simultaneously, removing the need to switch between car and Android phone screens.

Android Auto will be available on all new Volvo cars based on the new scalable product architecture (SPA), starting with the new generation XC90, due to be publicly revealed at this year’s Paris Motor Show.

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