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Friday, January 24, 2014

Google’s Open Automotive Alliance Faces Competition From Apple And Microsoft

AFTER recent rumors that Google was planning to bring a new level of Android connectivity to cars, the company has officially announced that it will be teaming up with Audi, Honda, General Motors, and Hyundai to form an Open Automotive Alliance. This OAA will also include the graphics chipset company, Nvidia, to provide greater integration of the Android platform in today’s cars.
More specific details of this alliance were announced with the 2014 Las Vegas Consumer Electronics Show in full swing, stepping up the competition with Apple’s recent efforts to launch an in-car iOS platform.
With this announcement and others related to the future of the fully connected car, the Vegas Consumer Electronics Show has been a strong reminder of just how intersectional the tech and auto industries are becoming.
Chipset vendors, automakers, and platform companies are teaming up in alliances like Google’s to create new machines that will combine different technologies for a fully integrated, connected driving experience. Google’s Open Automotive Alliance will use a common platform and development model, with the first Android connected cars available later this year.
Yet Google’s not the only company racing to provide smartphone connectivity built into the automotive dashboard.
Hyundai, General Motors, and Audi have already announced that they will also be working with Apple.
Apple’s iOS in the Car project has been in full swing for some time now, providing direct competition for Google’s Android connectivity project.
Microsoft also has a hat in the ring, with versions of its Windows software already embedded into vehicles that you’ll find listed in showrooms and on automotive sites like Carsales.
Manufacturers including Fiat, Nissan, Kia, and Ford all use the Microsoft embedded automotive software. Furthermore, Microsoft launched an alliance of its own back in 1998 called the “Auto PC” initiative, with Citroen, Hyundai, Nissan, and Samsung all on board.
Both Google and Apple must play catch-up with Microsoft’s existing connectivity, but are primed to do so this year.
Apple’s iOS in the Car project will embed its popular Siri system into cars, along with GPS and telephone functions. A number of auto manufacturers have already signed up to participate in this platform, including those mentioned above as well as luxury brands like BMW and Mercedes-Benz.
It’s unlikely that auto manufacturers will have to choose one platform or the other, as they will want to provide the widest range of options to customers.
As a result, Audi, Hyundai, and General Motors are all taking part in both Apple’s and Google’s alliances. Google also stated in its announcement that the Open Automotive Alliance is open to future participants, so more may come on board to provide Android connectivity within their 2014 models and beyond.
In addition to Google’s announcement, the Las Vegas Consumer Electronics Show has showcased other ways in which cars will become more connected in the near future.
GM announced vehicles that will be enabled with the LTE network, and Qualcomm announced a new chipset that will be able to support Bluetooth, LTE, and Wi-Fi within the car. This new chip will also be able to support Android and Blackberry systems.
All of these advancements and the competition between Google, Apple, and Microsoft point to car connectivity becoming a major focal point over the next year. The future car will become a mobile computer, with full hi-tech integration.