Car news

07 January 2014

Your car will soon be a smartphone

Google joins forces with big manufacturers to bring Android to your dashboard

Rowan Horncastle
Car image



Google, the small American firm behind that handy search device and the Android operating system, has announced an alliance with Audi, GM, Honda and Hyundai to bring smartphone technology and usability to your car.

What does this mean? Well, without trying to get all Rory Cellan-Jones on you, this deal potentially offers a neat solution to an increasingly frustrating problem.

With the current rate of technological progress, as cutting-edge as the whizzy entertainment system in your new car may be when it's installed, the tech is out of date by the time you've driven it out the showroom. Even the über-desirable HTML 5-coded, curvaceous, touch-sensitive system in the Porsche 918 has potential to look like an Astra GTE's digital dash within a year or two.

But with an operating system like Android (which holds 81.9% of the smartphone market and has had over one billion device activations worldwide), many cars could become more connective, efficient and effective, utilising software that can be constantly updated and improved.

With the help of chip-maker Nvidia (computer chip, not the thick-cut, triple-fried potato variety), Google wants to bring a variety of motorist-assisting apps to your car, effectively turning it into a four-wheeled smartphone. This could bring an end to manufacturers - who are generally good at making cars and not so good at coding software - bodging their own infotainment solutions, and improve compatibility between cars.

And don't worry if you're an iOS fanboy, as Apple has already signed a similar with BMW, GM and Honda.

The announcement was made before this week's International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. The 'connected car' is tipped to be a hot topic at the show, with the promise of some intriguing automotive tech, so we'll do our best to keep you updated.

Reports that your next Audi A4 will be able to take a picture of your dinner, apply a nifty tea-stained filter and then to tweet it to your ex could not be confirmed. Such is the march of technological progress, we suspect it won't be long.

Tags: hyundai, honda, general motors, audi, consumer electronics show, android

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