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Google, Audi to Announce Partnership at CES – Bringing Android to Cars

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According to sources of The Wall Street Journal, next week’s CES should be big not just for small consumer electronics, but for the automobile industry as well. Google and Audi are reported to be teaming up, set to unveil a new partnership and platform to bring the Android mobile OS to vehicles worldwide. 

With Android at the helm of a vehicle’s entertainment system, drivers and passengers will be able to access music, navigation, and applications much like they would from their smartphones, which could also mean Google Now will come as well for drivers to interact with on a hands-free basis.

For anyone who currently has a built-in navigation system in their car, you may know that they aren’t exactly the most advanced technical specimens around. In fact, even newer ones that come in luxury cars just don’t live up to the hype, and frequently experience laggy performance and glitchy software. Take the the Cadillac XTS for example, which was supposed to reinvent the in-car touchscreen multimedia experience yet was mostly a disappointment. If Google and Audi can do it right, this could be an amazing experience for drivers.

CES is next week, so we don’t have long to wait for this one. Show of hands for people that want Android built into your car’s dash?

Via: WSJ
  • droidbeat

    I wonder how soon this will be implemented?

  • Adam Elghor

    Geez finally…

  • http://twitter.com/JohnnyACE562 GRAND MASTER SEN$Ei {{-_-}}™

    My two loves. Together. Fap. {{o_0}}

  • Cowboydroid

    Wish they would have teamed up with BMW. Can’t stand the i-drive interface…

    But maybe this just means Audi is my next car.

  • ArclightX

    If you do a quick Google/YouTube search you’ll see that there have been a few custom auto shops that have been replacing the stock head units on vehicles with Nexus 7’s.

    They have to custom fab an enclosure for each vehicle but still it’s pretty damn cool.

    Having said that, to answer the original question, yeah, I think there is a huge demand for having a landscape “Android/Nexus 7″ like tablet experience as your stock in car control unit.

  • Franklin Ramsey

    Audi Nexus?

  • Dre Fay

    Great another product for VZW to overprice

  • shane

    “Kids” have been putting Android tablets in cars for years. I can’t believe every car manufacturer in the world hasn’t jumped on this by now. Good on Audi. Absolutely shameful for everyone else. This should revolutionize the in car entertainment standards moving forward. Get TomTom and all of that other proprietary software crap out of cars.

  • Daniel Walsh

    Android in cars is going to be awesome.

  • Skittlez

    il take an RS7 running 4.4.2. thanks!

  • Skittlez

    google music built in!

  • S2556

    This better be backwards compatible with my 1988 audi 90 I’m tired of updates lagging behind. Anyone know if I bought my car straight from audi would it get updates faster than from a dealership?

  • chris_johns

    On another note i wish it wasnt audi…audis look nice n fancy with all their leds but their cheaply made machines compared to other luxory brands

    • Skittlez

      cheaply made? please

      • chris_johns

        sorry if you bought an audi instead of a bmw/lexus/acura/or benz which are all better cars

        • Skittlez

          i haven’t bought any of those cars. i’m a car enthusiast, and audi’s are great cars. know plenty of friends that have them(A4’s, S5’s, TT’s). Solid and luxurious. Would i rather have a BMW? depends on the model of course. M3, 335, 135, sure. But if it came down to an affordable good luxury car, i’ll take an A4 over a 328 any day. Think they’re cheap? go look at the RS6, RS7, and S8, then get back to me.

          • Cowboydroid

            He’s probably commenting on the fact that VW reuses a lot of the same parts from their VW line. They use downmarket parts in their upmarket brand. The same would apply to Acura and Lexus, though. BMW and Mercedes have no downmarket brand. They are entirely upmarket quality.

    • Chris

      You do know audi is a “premium” brand right? Its owned by BW and is one of the top three german luxury brands.

      • chris_johns

        lol stop it…jaguars also a premium car…and id never buy one bc they have issues…audis have more issues then most brands i rather buy an acura then an audi

        • Skittlez

          than* not then. wouldn’t take car advice from someone who doesn’t know the difference, and has trouble even spelling luxury.

          EDIT: i’d gladly buy a Jaguar F-Type

          • MicroNix

            I hate to say it but Jags would be one of the last high end cars I’d buy. I don’t think they hold their value like other brands.

    • entertainmentopia

      “Cheaply made” methinks not, my 2008 A3 is not cheaply made, and is a mean little machine.

      • chris_johns

        their nice looking cars…my cousin worked for audi as a mechanic for a while they have a lot of problems…and if you test drove a 3series or even a c-class you probably wouldnt for went with the audi unless you were just really attached to the look

        • Skittlez

          they’re*

          • MicroNix

            BTW, its “Skittles”…

          • Skittlez

            you don’t know me!

        • tuname1t

          Ask a mechanic of any car company and they’ll all tell you they have problems. Last time I checked mechanics are usually working on the cars with problems, not the ones driving down the road with no issues.

    • BMW FTW!

      Don’t think I’ll take “luxory” car buying advice from someone who can’t spell “luxury”.

      • chris_johns

        smh

  • chris_johns

    the nav in my bmw sucks so bad lol google maps on my phone works far superior n i use it more then the reg navi…reg navi is much more convient though so i use it when i can and when it works and finds the place i put in it…but other then that im always using my phone

    • Skittlez

      leave it to cheap bmw to put a cheap nav in their cars ;-)

  • epps720

    Google Maps, FTW

  • Xious

    I have a nav in my car that I never use because Google Maps is always so much better. Plus the nav companies always want a ridiculous amount of money to update the maps in your car ($150 for an update, c’mon!). I tried the Parrot Android head unit but it was pretty lackluster. I just hope that Google understands that even though touchscreens are awesome, drivers still need tactile buttons!

  • Jeff Broders

    As fast as current tablets /phones are outdated, my only real concern is the device will be obsolete before the car’s warranty is up… Well, hopefully it’s easily rooted. That’s nearly the only way to stay up to date after 18 months.

  • Ian Case

    Just mirror my GD phone with ‘car mode’. Don’t worry about your own fancy and quickly outdated GPS. Use Google Maps. Don’t worry about writing your own music player, use Pandora or Google Play Music or Spotify or WHATEVER I WANT that already does it on my phone. Stop trying to reinvent the wheel and just make the screen a dumb terminal for my phone. Write an app that connects via bluetooth to the car and does climate control/etc and offer people Nexus 7’s or something for FREE with the purchase of a car so that no one can say “BUT I DON’T WANT A SMART PHONE!”. You jut throw it in the glovebox in that case and never worry about it.

    • Brian Menius

      This. Dumb pipe. That is all.

    • shane

      That’s actually a really cool idea. And then they can get rid of all those horrible software engineers who make the junk in cars now.

    • MicroNix

      This is EXACTLY what I was thinking. An open, dumb pipe into the display and controls. If you get in with an iPhone, then it becomes an extension of the iPhone. If you get in with an Android phone, then it becomes an extension of it. Create an SDK for all major OS players to interface. This whole notion of putting an OS in my car when I already have all the capabilities in my phone is freaking stupid. I don’t want to pay for another data plan for my car which is exactly where this will go…..straight into the carriers’ pockets that I already pay WAY too much money to.

      • TC Infantino

        Good ideas, and here is another possibility. Have a spot in the dash above the center console that is almost an universal port, that will accept either an iPad mini, a Nexus 7, or a navi/touch display screen sourced by the vehicle manufacturer. Allow the vehicle purchaser to choose which screen will be included with the vehicle, based on what OS brand smartphone they have, or if they don’t have/want one then they get the default vehicle navi/touchscreen. This will allow you to pair your smartphone to the display and let you have all the functionality without paying a premium plus a monthly subscription for connectivity.
        I know quite a few people who have had nexus 7 tablets installed into their dashes for just this convenience and ease of use of all the google apps. Having it as an easily swapable option for the new cars would be perfect, in my opinion.

    • f eright

      It’s already out there.

  • Walter Partlo

    Velcros tethered Nexus 7 to the dash, and wonders who needs Audi? :-)

    • chris_johns

      lolll

  • jg

    Great another way for VZW to make us switch to a share everything plan.

    • MicroNix

      What if Audi chooses Sprint as the carrier it talks to?

      • jg

        Then i’m screwed either way.

  • Rocketdaddy

    Just let me drop in my phone or my Nexus 7. I would rather not have my car be yet another device. Connect phone, put in my pin, Google Now “drive me home please” after the party. Life would be great.

    • Chris

      expect when you are lazy to drive or too drunk and your car goes hey wire to where you have to GASP! drive it your self…..

      no wonder why americans are so fat….

      • mustbepbs

        You need to lay off the bath salts.

    • http://twitter.com/geoff5093 Geoff Johnson

      What if your phone is dead and you don’t have a car charger? What if you forgot/lost your phone? There are many reasons why you wouldn’t want your car to be a “dumb” display to your phone.

      • Rocketdaddy

        You bring up great points. I wonder if a dead phone, no charger or a forgotten one will just be the “lost keys” of the future. I’m sure the thinkers among us could make great cases both for and against using a phone or other device as a replacement for metal keys. This partnership between Google and Audi is obviously just the beginning of something potentially interesting. As for me, I’m old enough to remember when I thought I’d never want a debit card; now debit cards are normal and, because I live in a “tap-and-pay” rich location, I use Google Wallet for about 70% of my purchases according to my bank statements. When it comes to the idea of using something other than keys to access and/or control my car, I’d never say never.

        • QPHALO

          I like this. Maybe how some Ford’s sync your iPhone songs and contacts, the same could be done for android. But further so you didn’t have to rely on plugging in your phone to have service or make calls, but then we know we would have to pay for an extra connection. Maybe some day.

      • Gomez Addams

        lets see, You’re phone is dead and you don’t have a charger. That’s a good reason to invest thousands of dollars on a display screen built into the car. Forgot or lost your phone. Hmmm. Same answer. There are a few reasons why you wouldn’t want your car to be a dumb display. Very few. There are thousands of reasons why you would. You should also equip your car with armor because what if an asteroid crashes into your car and you forgot your charger. If you don’t have a car charger, and are the type that frequently loses their phone you probably won’t be in the category of someone who can afford a car with this type of technology.

      • http://twitter.com/JohnnyACE562 GRAND MASTER SEN$Ei {{-_-}}™

        If you can plug your phone it, why not just let it charge while doing that? We do have wireless charging capabilities now, you know. {{-_-}}

      • Ian Case

        If you’re in the car, it would be VERY easy to have a charger integrated. A lot of cars simply have a USB port now. You just leave a $2 cable in the car for charging at all times. Simple.

  • EC8CH

    As a fan of Audi and Android… I approve of this message.

  • Intellectua1

    My favorite car company and mobile OS teaming up.. Wow this will be amazing

    • EC8CH

      watch it be part of a $8000 tech package :-(

      but hopefully this starts a trend in the auto industry away from their crummy proprietary UI’s.

      • mustbepbs

        Well if you’re buying an Audi, you’re used to paying out the butt for everything. What’s another $8000 gonna do?

        • entertainmentopia

          This is more than true.

        • MicroNix

          Don’t forget the additional monthly payment to whatever carrier that the system talks to.

    • Jaysin Harry

      In my 2001 A6, I’m about to try to replace the RNS-D with the 1024×600 Android 4.1.4 system at http://www.alibaba.com/product-gs/1457615802/Android_4_1_4_with_high.html

      Its obviously a bit of a risk (given that I can’t find any reports of anyone else who has installed this unit), but well worth a try for me.. If anybody knows of any similar (ie Android 4x) solution for an old A6, I’m all ears :-)

  • Chingiz Saidov

    Unfortunately, Steering Wheel has stopped.

    • Guy Pierce

      Must have been the Verizon version!

  • http://twitter.com/jdrch jdrch

    This should be a nice alternative to the auto industry’s obsession with iOS (e.g. BMW, Honda).

    • QPHALO

      Don’t forget Ford.

      • Ian Case

        I had a Windows Phone for a while and couldn’t believe how poorly integrated it was with my Ford Focus with MICROSOFT Sync via USB. As in… it didn’t work. Bluetooth worked fine, but thats kind of not really dependent on the OS of the phone since its just using A2DP.

        • QPHALO

          Hmm, I didnt know you could connect a windows phone to any vehicles but I was talking about connecting an iPhone to a Ford. My my brother connected his iPhone to his Ford truck and it worked perfectly.

          • Ian Case

            You plug it in with a usb cable just like your iPhone or any android phone. Theres simply a USB port in the car… why WOULDN’T it work?

          • QPHALO

            I was talking about how his iPhone synced with his truck. He was then able to use the voice controls through the truck to make calls, etc. Just push the button on the steering wheel and say who you want to call. Can you do that with the windows phone or an Android phone?

  • Chris

    for those who are saying “this should have happend years ago” the tech wasn’t read yet. Android was still very immature at the time,

    I do wonder what version of android this will launch with? 5.0? It will need to have an interface that responds to both voice and touch response and the touch needs to have large icons and graphics for media, climate controls and maps.

    • Chris

      clearly we have very biased and uneducated android users…

    • Ian Case

      It shouldn’t really matter WHAT phone you’re on. It should simply mirror your phone. Write an Android, iOS and WP app to control the car and let the phone/tablet do the rest.

  • JBartcaps

    Okay Google. Turn on car

  • Guy Pierce

    First consumer self driving car!

  • apple apple

    It would be about time. I bought a Pioneer aftermarket Navi/Stereo system. Truthfully, there’s not much difference between them and Kenwood; they both disappoint. You now see the precursors to what Google is doing. There are tons of videos of people on Youtube installing Nexus 7s, Ipads, and other tablets as their new dedicated stereo/navi systems. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kSXZVNCbbYg

  • calculatorwatch

    I’ve been saying they should do this for a while. Those built in navigation systems are mostly worthless compared to Google Maps, and with cars getting “smarter” just like everything else it only makes sense to put a real mobile OS in there.

  • p4

    this should have happened years ago