It was quite a day at Google I/O yesterday and we’re still picking up some of the things that were announced at the show. One of those, not really mobile related, is Android Auto, which — as you would imagine — is looking to bring Google’s mobile platform to a vehicle near you.
The Open Automotive Alliance isn’t new, it’s just that Google has formally announced a platform dedicated to driving, featuring an easy to grasp UI that doesn’t stand on your way while your hands are stuck behind the wheel. Voice input is included, with Google Now serving as your guide, showing you maps and nearby points of interest, while making sure you’re “properly” entertained on your way to work… or wherever you happen to go.
According to Google, the Open Automotive Alliance now counts some 40 partners, 25 of which have already signed up to ship Android Auto in the “near” future. From what we’ve understood, the first Android-enabled car should be out by the end of year. For one thing, Volvo announced its next XC90 model will be Android-enabled and debut at the Paris Motor Show in October. Moreover, we would expect to see aftermarket car infotainment system makers jumping on board as well, and unveil their products in the next few months.
In Google’s scenario, drivers would connect their smartphone to the in-dash unit which would then mirror the screen to the car’s display though with less options to choose from. This, simplified car-mode is also part of the forthcoming Android L release.
Sounds cool but we yet have to see how Google’s system fairs against Apple’s CarPlay. And whether some car maker or aftermarket system provider will manage to merge the two worlds and allow both iPhone and Android phones in a single vehicle. Now that would be something.