Google Announces CarPlay Competitor, Android Auto

Posted by: Kenny Chan onJune 26th, 2014


Hardly a secret, aside from the name, Google has finally announced its in-car infotainment system it had been working on as part of the Open Automotive Alliance. The OAA is a group currently consisting of 28 automakers and 16 technology partners whose stated goal is “making technology in the car safer, more seamless and more intuitive for everyone.” The new in-car infotainment system will be called Android Auto.

Some of the automotive partners include Audi, Acura (and Honda), Chevrolet, Infiniti, Mazda, Nissan, Subaru and Volkswagen. Noticeably absent are a couple luxury automakers BMW, and Mercedes-Benz both of which are Apple CarPlay exclusive for the time being. Time will tell if one or both of these guys will make the jump to Android Auto. While not an OAA member, the Mercedes-Benz CarPlay introduction has been delayed so it could be the result of adding support for Android Auto in their Comand Infotainment system.

Android Auto when it arrives will essentially be an extension of the Android device. Everything you as the driver interact with on the system is actually still powered by your Android device. The display is simply streamed (or casted in Google speak) to your vehicle’s display. If you’re familiar with Google Now, you’ll feel quite at home with Android Auto as that is how Google provides bite-sized contextual information to the driver. As with Google Now, Android Auto will be heavily voice-based providing quick, easy access to apps, navigation and even text messaging. One key difference over CarPlay is that Google will be providing an SDK for Android app makers while Apple has decided to keep their system a bit more closed.

So when will we start to see cars with Android Auto? Google says later this year as automakers release their 2015 model year vehicles. Audi sent out a press release shortly after the Android Auto announcement at Google I/O stating that vehicles with Android Auto will be coming out this fall.

Update: Android Auto Release Date February 2015

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