The Wall Street Journal reports that Google and Audi will use the Consumer Electronics Show next week to announce that they are working together to develop Android-based in-car information and entertainment systems. According to sources, these systems are designed to allow drivers and passengers access to apps and services similar to those available on Android-based smartphones and tablets.
The announcement that Google is working directly with a car manufacturer comes seven months after Apple announced iOS in the Car. Where Apple's platform integrates the iPhone into the car's infotainment system to provide access to maps, messages, and other apps, Google and Audi's joint efforts will see Android and Android-based apps run on the car's own hardware.
Google's announcement will come seven months after Apple announced iOS in the Car
Both Apple and Google are reportedly attempting to secure support from car manufacturers. Apple's platform already has the support of BMW, Daimler, General Motors, Ferrari, Honda, and Mercedes-Benz. According to EE Times, Audi and Google's announcement at the Las Vegas show will see the formation of an industry consortium, as the companies detail collaborative efforts with other car and technology manufacturers.
Android will run on the car's own hardware
Some Audi drivers can already access Google products through their car: the German manufacturer started rolling out Tegra-powered entertainment and information systems in its vehicles in the same year that it demonstrated cars that could navigate through parking lots without a driver behind the wheel.
Ford was a pioneer in the field of in-car infotainment and connectivity systems, installing its Microsoft Sync platform in 10 million cars over the last six years. In February of this year, GM announced that its 2014 models of car and truck would come equipped with LTE service to deliver an "enhanced suite of safety, security, diagnostic and infotainment services." In August, Nokia detailed its Here Auto system, an infotainment platform that it hopes to sell to car manufacturers.
The Wall Street Journal says that Google and Audi will outline a timetable to offer Android-based systems in new models due to arrive over the next four or five years. Details of the collaboratively created systems aren't yet known, but Google's direct influence and quick response to its biggest competitor's move into the automotive field ensure that the car will be the newest battleground for Android and iOS.