Android set to take on the in-car dash with reported Audi deal

Daniel Bader

December 31, 2013 9:32 am

Android is set to enter the car paradise by the dashboard light.

According to a WSJ report, Google and Audi have cemented a deal that will see the automobile manufacturer include an Android-powered dash to facilitate entertainment, navigation and voice controls. The deal is expected to be announced next week at CES, and will be the first official expansion into the car for Google.

Android has long been considered a good fit for the auto industry, as it was designed to be very extensible, with support for multiple screen resolutions and UI designs. Whether Audi will create its own UI or engage another OEM to do so remains to be seen, but Android in its current state is in a good position to rival Apple in the car dash space.

Last year, Apple launched iOS in the Car, a certification process that allows customers to interact with their iPhones via Siri with dash or wheel-based controls. iOS 7 also saw the ability for Apple’s mobile OS to provide on-screen navigation with a limited UI, in addition to controlling music and making phone calls. The Android equivalent is expected to perform similar functions.

Google Now, which was recently updated to include results from within apps, has the potential to be quite effective in the car. With accurate voice recognition and a superior navigation product, it will be interesting to see what Android in the Car looks like.

SourceWSJ
  • #1SensFan

    Imagine buggy, bloated, laggy Android in a car….uh no thanks – I’ll stick with QNX or whatever is currently in there.

    • Josh Brown

      They should put qnx/bb in a dodge so they can go bankrupt together.

    • It’s Me

      Or Android with any car so they can crash together.

      This is fun.

    • Josh Brown

      You could put IOS on a BMW and charge twice as much for it and make it out of the same parts as a dodge. And it crashes just a easily. This is fun.

    • Al Chui

      Actually, they can put IOS in a Lada, and “It’s Me” and the other iFans will pay Benz prices for it just like they do for their iToys. This is real fun.

    • Josh Brown

      Nice.

    • It’s Me

      And the android users would be running spinning rims and lights on their ricers. Also the backward hats. Lots of backward hats with that crowd.

      So much fun.

    • Lyndon Boychuk

      What is the reference to backwards hats supposed to mean?

    • It’s Me

      Or try out android, charge the same as the ios model but with bigger rims and year old parts, and still manage to lose money.

      So much fun.

    • Josh Brown

      That doesn’t make sense androids always use the news parts for way cheaper than apple.

    • It’s Me

      Do they? So there is an android that is 64 bit? They went high dpi first?

    • Josh Brown

      Samsung has already said they will make the s5 a 64bit, not that it make a lot of difference. And iPhone is not even close to some of the 1080p screen. The only reason they have a high DPI is because they have tiny screens.

    • It’s Me

      Of course they will go 64 bit…a year later (as I mentioned). And yes, androids have very high dpi…now. But they lagged the iPhone but have admittedly now surpassed it (though I’ve yet to read any optical scientist that claims the even higher dpi helps).

      Well done josh.

    • Josh Brown

      They just brought out 64 bit. They have lagged behind android for so long in CPU speed. And 64 bit makes no difference at all, especially with that little of ram.
      And they are killing iPhone on DPI even with screens twice the size.

    • It’s Me

      Delusional or simply ignorant? The only thing they “lagged” android on with CPUs was clock speed. Didn’t the 90s teach you that clock speed means little? Every iPhone has hit the top of the benchmarks on release. And 64 bit only makes no difference? Please tell me you are pretending to be so dense? The number and width of registers required by a 64 bit system immediately boost speeds even with under 4GB of memory. And the higher dpi displays are great but since people cannot see the difference, at least according to physics, then they aren’t really an useful addon.

      Never change Joshy.

    • Josh Brown

      Just like all iPhone users the only way to win an argument it to be condescending. Just like a iPhone fan that says a stat only matters while apple is wining then as soon as android is winning you say that stat does not matter. If android went 128bit, you guys will be saying that does not matter. 64 bit speeds nothing up if the programs don’t take advantage of it.

    • It’s Me

      There’s nothing condescending about being honest and pointing out incorrect assertions. Your post was wrong. Whether because you are delusional, ignorant or dishonest, I’m not sure.

      You are correct, 64 bit does need support. Lucky for apple, their OS and their runtime are 64 bit, so in most cases a recompile is all that is necessary for an app, though some may require some additional work. Can you claim the same for android? For dalvik?

    • Josh Brown

      So if you have a honest, unbiased opinion of IOS what are some of it’s flaws? There must be some you see. I see plenty.

    • It’s Me

      You need a lot of attention don’t you.

      Lots of flaws and areas for improvement with ios and the iPhone. Did you have a point?

    • Josh Brown

      Sweet I am going to save a screen shot of that one. IOS = lots of flaws.

    • It’s Me

      Great. Maybe frame it.

    • Josh Brown

      Thanks I will.

    • It’s Me

      And a cookie? Want a cookie?

    • Lyndon Boychuk

      Remember it was not long ago where the saying was “It’s the experience…not the specs”? Now we have nothing but specs and people trying to downgrade from iOS 7.

    • Lyndon Boychuk

      You’re reaching obviously, but it is a valiant effort nonetheless. Ok…iOS has incorporated 64 bits and for once it is Android that needs to catch up, but once it does it will blow the doors off of iOS as usual.

    • It’s Me

      It’ll blow something alright.

    • Lyndon Boychuk

      It’s guaranteed to crash with apple maps on board.

    • Lyndon Boychuk

      I don’t see how that’s possible…apple doesn’t share anything of their’s…not even their crappy map app

    • It’s Me

      And yet, until now, the car companies have been lining up to partner with Apple.

    • Lyndon Boychuk

      “Until now” being the key phrase. But seriously…up until now that partnership was not much more than a glorified stereo dock and some siri thrown in. IOS doesn’t actually run as an operating system in any vehicle yet to my knowledge…where as Android will be which makes sense to me since Android can be found just about anywhere now :)

    • It’s Me

      True enough. I guess one has to look at how much of their in-car systems the car makers want to give away control over and or how much they want them to become generic. 10 years ago it was certain that WindowsCE would dominate the in-car market, but that hasn’t really happened. Even if it had, the end user doesn’t really see it or care.

      The car companies use the in-car system as one of the last differentiators between their vehicles. I am not certain they all want to standardize around a single platform. If they did, that might work out better for the consumer in the long run, but I don’t think the companies will rush there themselves.

    • StevieY

      You can run qnx in your car and get functionality that has garbage’features’ under the false guise of safety

    • thedosbox

      WinCE? No thanks.

    • Hey Yo

      Why do I have a strong suspicion that “It’s Me” wears glasses and has a beard.

    • RussianDroid

      Mobile Syrup is becoming BGR…Comment section is becoming more and more polluted.

  • beyond

    I’d rather have iOS controlling the Audi MMI

    • RussianDroid

      As much as I don’t like the Apple’s closed ecosystem, I think it might potentially be better for car’s MMI. But that will likely cost car manufacturer’s…well because Apple is a bit douchy when it comes to partnering up.

  • Claudiu Corbea

    They only need to make a car audio with Miracast screen mirroring built in. I have everything I need on my smartphone, just let me control it with the car display. There are a few Miracast car audios on the net, but they are made in China, there are no big names yet.

  • Walter

    Audi really. Why not a car brand that is more accessible.

    • Josh Brown

      I am sure it is a deal with all VW brands.

    • #1SensFan

      VW’s I don’t like. Audi’s are the most unreliable cars and expensive to fix.

      Also, for $50,000 you get 200hp LOL

    • Josh Brown

      Except the TDI is the most efficient engine in any production car. I love my 03 Golf TDI. It has its problems but so does any car.

    • #1SensFan

      I agree, yes. My first sentence was wrong, actually everyone I know has loved their VW. I should drive one before talking.

      The Audis look so nice, but to me they are just way overpriced.

    • Josh Brown

      I would totally get a TDI Audi. Especially with android built in. But I can’t afford any high end car, not just Audis

    • choyM

      All the money goes into the extras, like leather seats, climate control, etc. But aside from those luxury items, there isn’t much difference between Audis and VWs.

    • Walter

      If that were true then they would say all VW brands.

    • Josh Brown

      It’s all just rumours right now anyways. Let’s wait and see.

    • Josh Brown

      Open Automotive Alliance are Audi, General Motors, Google, Honda, Hyundai and Nvidia.

      Just announced.

    • choyM

      They’ll probably start with the luxury brands and then trickle it down when they figured out the costs and work on getting it out cheaper. That is how it is with most technology. Before only luxury brands have back-up cameras, now almost all have them. Let the rich guys pay-off the R&D costs.

  • Mythos88

    So Audi wants their cars to come with spyware and malware and for Google to be able to track you wherever you go. No thanks Audi.

    • Josh Brown

      Yes because Microsoft is the champion of your privacy.

    • realitycheck

      is microsoft in any cars systems?

    • Josh Brown

      Honda uses Windows ce

    • EvanKrosney

      Yes, unfortunately they do. It’s pretty bad.

    • Mythos88

      I would trust them over an advertising company by a large margin.

    • Josh Brown

      Like Microsoft isn’t selling your information.

    • Stephen_81

      If you compare Google to Microsofts financials and were the money comes from it is very apparent Microsoft isn’t selling nearly as much of your data as Google is. Microsoft wants to take your money from you while looking you in the eye. Google wants to pick your pockets and sell what it finds to the highest bidders.

    • Josh Brown

      This is so funny when did Microsoft become the Innocent little company that just wants to help. Didn’t they just get into trouble for selling info to political campaigns? Didn’t they just reveal they Gave user info over to the NSA?

      You can opt out of all of the Google services if you want. But if they want to put up ads that I would actually be interested instead of Viagra and Russia ladies, I am all for it.

    • Stephen_81

      Microsoft is far from innocent, that is agreeable.
      ALL the major companies base in the US hand over data to the NSA.

      But to think Google is your buddy and giving stuff away for Free is naive

    • Josh Brown

      I would rather have cheap hardware and know that they are using my search history than to have it stolen anyways and still have to pay full price for phones.

    • choyM

      Or bad software (talking about M$ here)

    • RussianDroid

      Trust MS over Google? It’s like trying to win Kobayashi Maru.
      Plus, when it comes to web activity – Trust No One.

    • Josh Brown

      What is everyone doing on the internet that they are so afraid of getting out? I am just curious.

    • Walter

      I suppose you didn’t get the memo that all mobile OS’s are spied on.

  • Jonathan Schmitt

    Its funny how a lot of people on this list are commenting on how this will be bad. Has anyone used a recent first or third party car system? They are all utter garbage. This will be a great way for automotive manufacturers to polish the system and make it work nice like an in car system should be.

    • It’s Me

      What makes you think this will be any better? Google’s long and coloured history of fantastic UX? Maybe they will put out a beta version for a few years first.

      If Audi is going to create a great, first party system, then they will do so, with or without Android, Not sure how you think Android being involved makes this more likely. It’s not like google is known for good first or even second released. Are you going to spend $60K to be the beta tester?

    • Josh Brown

      Because android has all the componants to work already and is well past the beta test. Also I would rather have cutting edge beta tech than have the same product for 5 years with just a slight ui change.

    • It’s Me

      Does it have everything? If it does, who’s going to put everything together? Google? Because android, glass and gear all proved how well they do with first gen sh!t

    • Josh Brown

      They are going to use android. What is it missing? Maps? Navigation? Music? Voice commands? They can just buy torque to get the car info. What are they missing?

    • Jonathan Schmitt

      So what your saying is a developed OS (android isnt new) is worse then the current systems they use which are extremely buggy? You definitely have not used the parrot in car system. ! Uch much better then first party radios.

    • It’s Me

      No, I didn’t say that.

      What is it about android or google that makes you think they’ll do a better in car UX than car companies or anyone else? Android isn’t new. Android as the in car system is new. The UX of an in car system is different than that of a phone by necessity.

      What supports your claim that this will be a great way for car companies to improve the systems, over say using QNX?

    • Josh Brown

      Why can’t they use android as is with a different launcher.

    • It’s Me

      Because they have to tie it into the entire in car entertainment and navigation system. Because the user interaction in a vehicle is substantially different than on a phone.

      “Android as is” is just Linux with the Dalvik VM, essentially (not entirely). So your question might just as well be, why not just use Linux with their own shell.

    • Josh Brown

      Google music and google maps/navigation. HTC already made a very good launcher called car mode it would not take much at all for google to make a new launcher.

      They could use Linux if they wanted to but google services is what you want in the car.

    • It’s Me

      Fair enough. Access to Google services could be the catch that attracted them to Android.

      Aside from the online services, my guess for the biggest reason for Audi to sign the deal is Google has likely offered to handle the whole project. Google wants in on the auto market, so it would be peanuts for them to do it all. They just needed a premiere auto company to get onboard, which they now have,

    • Stephen_81

      There are safety concerns with using Android AS IS.

      Ford has been moving back to adding buttons to the dash even when a touchscreen is present because of distraction issues.

      Android as is is TERRIBLY for distracted driving, as are most phone UX, It will need modifications and stripping to be a centre point in a car were your eyes are suppose to be out the windshield.

      Android is an Amateur in this space. And Google’s financial motives are usually data mining. What data will they be mining from my incar system?

    • Josh Brown

      They can just disable the touchscreen while the car is moving. That is a hardware switch not software. All the notifacations can be voice based not visual, which is heading that way anyway.

      Man you guys are conspiracy theorist s. What can Google get that They can’t get from a phone. If you guys are that worried about privacy you need to go back to derp phones. All of the big companies mine info.

    • Stephen_81

      Disabling the touchscreen while driving? what?
      I’ve had to use my touchscreen MANY times while driving having it disabled would be terrible. Also means that a passenger can’t access the controls.

      People who want purely voice based notifications don’t drive much. since 2007 I’ve averaged 90,000km per year of driving. Visual glances are ideal to get the information vs trying to hear things.

      As for What Google Can get that they can’t get from the phone are your breaking habits, your accelerating habits, how you use your signals, Testing is already underway with seats that monitor your vitals while you drive. The phone GETS A LOT. but combined with your car you get even more.

      I Just don’t have faith in Google unless they are charging Audi for the system, if it is like other Android implementations than Googles financial motives must be based on data mining, which insurance companies would love not having to give you the blackbox to review your habits.

      Once you’ve had your identity compromised you care more about this stuff. I just don’t trust Google they aren’t some happy friendly everyone company people want them to be. Like other companies they want money, and they get that by selling peoples information. At least Apple, Microsoft, BlackBerry, are trying to take my money in front of my face more so and rely less on behind the scenes income

    • Josh Brown

      You use your phone while driving that is terrible. If you kill someone… You should be ashamed of yourself. That is how all the major car companies do it. Yes it sucks for passengers but if it saves peoples lives.

      breaking habits, your accelerating habits, how you use your signals, Testing is already underway with seats that monitor your vitals while you drive.
      This can all be implemented in an app.

    • Jonathan Schmitt

      Well we already have had a android in car system thsa works better then pretty much any in car system. Audi isnt shy to spend money on nee technology, so we can be rather certain it will be an improvement on what we have now.

      Seeing how android is becoming so easy to code for and becoming extremely popular, its not hard for anyone to see the excellent opportunities this has for car manufacturers.

    • It’s Me

      And what is it, specifically, about Android that makes it easier? QNX has been around for many, many years and is already common amongst car makers. Developing for Android is no easier than pure Java, also around for many years.

      Please note, I am not at all saying going with Android is a bad thing, It makes for a nice, pre-packaged system. But I just don’t agree with the assumption that it automatically great or is a better option than other alternatives already available.

    • Al Chui

      And exactly how long did your precious Apple leave the “beta” tag on Siri? If you’re going to bash a company for something, make sure your favorite doesn’t do the exact same thing.

    • It’s Me

      Don’t be s tupid. It’s simply a fact that google puts out many (most?) of their products as beta and leave them as beta for much longer than most.

      Your only example for Apple is Siri? That’s your counter? The difference is that it was notable when apple did it because that was unusual for them. It’s expected for google. That’s not necessarily a bad thing either. Not sure why you let facts bother you much.

  • sharkhark

    so i cannot consistently get my own phone to do basic voice commands like making phone calls, or texts, or directions (especially as google maps gets worse with every update) and yet they want to put that into my driving experience?
    uh …no!

    • Josh Brown

      What phone?

  • L Joel

    Sounds way better than my slow annoying Ford my sync… Hands free use of the gps Sucks.

  • NicoleArlington

    Wow this is going to be quite interesting

  • Lyndon Boychuk

    I imagine it will be awesome. Superior navigation, superior voice recognition…plus it’s Google people :)