Android, being free and easy to mess with, is ubiquitous. You can find it not just on phones, but on set-top boxes, appliances, laptops, and who knows what else. And now, you’re going to find it in cars. A lot of cars.
Google has teamed up with Nvidia, Honda, Hyundai, General Motors, and Audi to announce the Open Auto Alliance. That’s significant not least because that covers about 30% of the cars made in the entire world. But it’s not clear where Android fits in, in some cases, according to CNET:
The arrival of Android in automotive computing systems should help hasten the arrival of connected cars, but it’s not clear exactly where Android will end and other car electronics will begin. GM, for example, will pair the mobile OS with its OnStar communication technology.
In other words, checking Facebook while driving probably isn’t going to be the primary focus of this particular alliance, and that’s probably a good thing. It does mean more and more creative apps will be available for cars, though, which is a good thing in light of how terrible some car-based apps are.
Another question worth raising is what Google gets out of this. It’s true that Google’s interest in cars ties into its interest in robotics; we’ve all heard about the Google self-driving car. But those are long-term investments mostly being done to futureproof the company. In the short term, what Google probably really gets out of this is the ability to see where you’re going, how long you stay there, and what apps you use to get there.
Either way, you should probably get ready for this to become a standard feature sooner rather than later. If GM, Honda, and Hyundai are really on board, and properly leverage the technology, soon pretty much everything will have an Android panel in the dash.