Google has announced plans to challenge Apple’s dashboard dominance and let Android owners link their phones to their cars.
The company is teaming up with Audi, Honda, Hyundai and GM (Vauxhall, Chevrolet) in a group called the Open Automotive Alliance, which aims to “bring the best of Android into the automobile in a safe and seamless way”.
According to Patrick Brady, Google’s director for Android engineering, the Allliance will mean Android phones and tablets will be able to link to the car to offer more optimised services for drivers.
In a post on the Official Android Blog, Brady said: “Wouldn't it be great if you could bring your favorite apps and music with you, and use them safely with your car's built-in controls and in-dash display? Together with our OAA partners, we're working to enable new forms of integration with Android devices, and adapting Android for the car to make driving safer, easier and more enjoyable for everyone.”
Like the similar iOS in the Car system, the Open Automotive Alliance should mean Android phones and tablets linked to cars will be able to do things like control music and satnav, send text messages and answer calls using a combination of voice and control buttons in the car.
However, Google will have a long way to go to catch up to Apple: iOS in the Car has around 20 car manufacturers committed to supporting its system, including big names like BMW, Toyota, Ford and Volvo that – so far – haven’t committed to support Android.
Google expects the first Android phones and cars supporting Open Automotive Alliance to appear later this year.