It seems like there is nowhere you can go these days to escape the war between technology companies Apple and Google. In fact, not even your car is safe. In June, Apple announced a partnership with nine automakers to develop systems that would allow drivers to use their iOS devices through the car’s display. Now Google and Audi are partnering to build Google’s Android operating system into the newest Audis.
Unlike Apple, which is working on systems that will essentially allow mobile devices to remotely run the car’s display and infotainment systems, Google wants to install the Android operating system in the vehicle.
This move has positives and negatives. On the one hand, the system is more likely to function seamlessly with important in-car systems like navigation or suspension settings. But, on the other hand, you won’t have all of your information in the same place as you will with the Apple set up.
While I am an Apple user, I have to say I am thrilled that Audi made this move. If only because every single Audi infotainment system to this point has been slightly different from the last. Each car required you to completely relearn the system.
Fixing this sort of problem is just the point of this sort of joint partnership, according to the Wall Street Journal. As cars and their onboard computers get more and more complicated, having a familiar interface becomes increasingly important. Chances are that many drivers don’t know how to use a significant portion of the features available on their cars.
Having a trusted brand name attached to new cars can be a big attraction to consumers. Just ask Ford, which attributes part of its rising sales since 2007, to its introduction of Microsoft Sync infotainment system to its vehicles.
Given that Audi already has a reputation for quality, this may not be as much as a factor for them. However, even for a massive company like Audi and the VW group, developing a bespoke infotainment system is a difficult undertaking.
Audi and Google already have all the money in the world, and the personnel to be experts at this sort of work. Besides with around 80 million cars and light trucks sold annually around the world, the market for car technology is enormous.
We can expect Audi and Google to release more information about their partnership, at the upcoming CES 2014, so check back for more details.