Google and Audi to announce Android-powered infotainment system at CES – report

by: Bogdan PetrovanDecember 30, 2013

audi infotainment

As cars become more technically advanced, Android is slowly rising in prominence in the automotive industry. The latest carmaker to put Android in its vehicles is Audi – the German manufacturer will reportedly announce a partnership with Google at CES next week.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Audi and Google are set to announce the development of an Android-based in-car entertainment and information system. It’s possible that the announcement will be part of a bigger initiative, as the report says the two companies will begin a “collaborative effort” with other companies in the auto and technology fields to make Android “important technology for future vehicles”. Nvidia, maker of the Tegra line of mobile SoCs, is said to be one of these companies.

Among others, Google is competing with Apple in this field – the Cupertino-based company announced the iOS in the Car initiative in June, an effort to integrate iPhones with infotainment systems, to give drivers access to maps, messages, and apps from their devices. In contract, Google’s approach is reportedly to put its operating system directly on the car’s hardware, and give drivers and passengers access to a full Android experience.

Asked to comment on the report, an Audi representative acknowledged that “cars are becoming more complex, and with the computing power that is going into vehicles, you need that type of system in the car”, referring to an OS that would give users access to the type of functions that are present on smartphones.

Audi is not the only carmaker interested in in Google’s platform. Korean media reported in October that Kia and Hyundai plan to equip all their models with Android-based infotainment systems by the end of 2014.

CES Las Vegas 2014 will start in a little over a week. We’ll be there to report on all things Android, and it looks that this time, that will mean some nice German automobiles.

  • Thabiso

    Our seniors are going to struggle for a moment. Lol but its evocation

  • MobiEspion

    Waoo; Android system in Audi car sounds awesome. Can’t wait to have it integrated in Audi.

    • Shark Bait

      I know 2 giants of their industry teaming up! It should make something special.

      I hope it makes the jump to VW

  • AndroidBoss

    Yeah BMW doesn’t do this with Android- it does it with iPhones.

    • Shark Bait

      It doesn’t do this with iphones. It only syncs with them. This is talking about running on the card hardware , currently BMW run a qnx system

      • tauris

        QNX is realtime OS, it’s very good for safety-critical system.

  • Mandroid667

    I hope they use Android 4.4, 4.5 or Android 5.0.

    • MasterMuffin

      It really doesn’t matter because it’s a custom Android version made for cars

    • Lisandro O Oocks

      i think it’ll be safer to use 4.3 since it’s the most stable and bug-free, plus you’re more likely not going to be playing Riptide with it.

    • tauris

      They should use any android with ART, preferably 5.0 or above.
      VM runtime compilation would be bad for performance.

  • Mayoo

    And I guess they will launch a Nexus version with a car brand people can actually afford?

    • MadCowOnAStick

      we wish lol

    • Nickan Fayyazi

      A self-driving Nexus car for a lot less than competing cars? That would be awesome :)

  • MY

    This is simply greaaaat news. As an Audi owner, I can’t wait to see this happens very soon. And To be honest, imagine Audi & Google coming out with an Audi Nexus Edition car? Ayayayayi, that would be amaaazing ;-)

    • PeterBlood

      Audi will lose a ton of sales. The quality customer buying them in the majority will want an Apple iOS based car system.

  • Guest

    I wish Ford would trash their stupid system and go with Android, it’s my 1 big complaint I have with them!!

    • Lisandro O Oocks

      same with pretty much every car. Dodge’s is no good, especially cause the screen is crummy. And my Toyota has good screen but seems laggy and has UI (usless) redundancies.

    • John Doe

      Sorry for the stupid pic .. was trying to make it my avatar ..but
      obviously that did not work, and I cannot find a way of deleting it .. :( .lol

    • PeterBlood

      I hope Ford does the right thing as most car manufacturers are doing and goes Apple. Android needs to die an ignominious death.

  • PeterBlood

    Oh boy, now (evil) Google can steal the data created in our cars. Wow, half-assed Android system in my car – pinch me. I’ll wait for Apple thanks.

    • for greater good

      iOS is closed-source OS. They have bigger chance of stealing data.

      Android on most of part are open source, only google apps are proprietary. Data monitoring might be there with google apps, but not on the open source part.

      As security expert always said, never trust any system that’s not open source, because spying & backdoor will be there. That includes the one from apple, google, ms wp, bb, so on, you name it.

      The funny thing is, even with full open source & secure system, hacker (& feds) will still able to steal your data, by intercept/sniffing your communication channel, breaking your system & install malware, luring into honeypot & steal your password, etc. Don’t be too proud that your data will be safe forever.

      • PeterBlood

        That is not the reality. A “bigger chance?” Don’t delude yourself. Google is now notorious and routinely derided for being so blatantly after user data. Google by far is the least system to trust and you should know that. You’re kidding yourself otherwise. Apple does not get it’s main income source from Search like Google does so Google is highly motivated to take any route to get there. Apple usually does the right thing and does not want the rep Google has. A fool and his data (while consorting in Google’s backyard) are soon parted.

        • Mattanus

          Lol just be quiet fanboy. Why would anyone invest in a company that will be dead in a few years. I think that you are obviously deluded and very biased to think that Apple does not partake in any user data mining as well as NSA partnerships. Im not denying that Google may be the same, but you cannot say Apple does not. Especially with the latest NSA leaks.

          Apple is dying a slow death. You just need to look at this, and you’ll see why the car makers are choosing android.

          • PeterBlood

            Number One, people who call other people tired put down (boring) & unconstructive cliches like “fanboys” are children. Number Two – what type of clairvoyance do you have that says Apple will be be dead when in fact it’s RIM/Blackberry and Microsoft who’s fortunes have faded or are fading? Apple is the Number One company in the world with billions upon billions in the bank and beholden to none and does not suffer from the type of moribund leadership at the other companies mentioned. Apple’s not going anywhere anytime soon, sorry to burst your bubble. In fact people who say stuff like that are the biggest self-deluding “fanboys” of all. Doomsayers with an agenda like yours are a dime a thousand.

            Apple does not partake in complying with the NSA period and have said so, quit using lame personal speculation or obsession with conspiracy theories as fact.

            Apple is on track in 2014 to grow bigger and better than ever in fact. More car manufacturers are signing up with iOS and Apple for an onboard car mobile OS, what are you kidding me? Audi is the ONLY car manufacturer trying Android (making a lot of people mad) and Ford is stuck with the horrific Microsoft Sync. Lessee how long that lasts when sales tank – premium customers who buy Audi’s want Apple. ABI Research says Apple’s ‘iOS in the Car’ to be No. 1 in-vehicle system by 2018. Android is and always will be junk and third rate tech and ecosystem for third world and low quality customer uses. Google ironically aligned itself with the very technology poor for the kinds of customers it wants. Apple’s got ’em instead.

            Most mobile web activity is on Apple devices leaving many to speculate just what Android users are using their devices for. Probably as just phones. 2014 will see Apple pull away from Android taking all the premium customers and making the most money to be made. Market share? Who gives a rat’s patootie next to profit share. But even that will change as Apple takes more market share too. IMHO and based on new products and industry speculation. We will see eh Matt-anus?

          • Mattanus

            Oh, okay. Sorry I called you a fanboy. Ill take that back.

            Whether I have a clairvoyance or not, how do you know that apple will be Number One company? How do you know that iOS in the car is number one vehicle system 5 years from now?! Your clairvoyance is who? ABI research? 2014 will see apple advance ahead of everyone else? Im sorry but do you hear yourself?

            Apple have most web activity on their devices due to their market share, except now they are slowly losing it. Android is gaining a user base and will eventually pass iOS if the trends hold out. Keep in mind android systems include home automation systems, HDMI dongles, and a range of other devices which do not add to android’s segment on the pie graph. Android this year has only just overtaken iOS as the most installed OS, so we will see how the figures run over the next year. How can you say market share doesnt make a difference? It is the reason why apple is where it is now.

            Who said that google wants the type of customers who want premium? If thats the case, why are they releasing phones at fractions of the cost of iphones, and constantly slicing prices after only a couple of months. Is this to attract the ‘premium’ consumer? I think not.

            But indeed, the coming few years will be interesting indeed, new technologies and products will definitely be interesting to watch from both companies. We will see Peter-Blood. We will see.

          • PeterBlood

            Thanks for the more adult attitude. It’s simple, there is nobody saying Google will be in the lead here and their history shows when they are first in devices it usually doesn’t work out. Google TV – a resounding failure. Google Glass – doesn’t look good. Smart watches? Samsung’s is a joke. Apple makes the technology viable and feasible first then others copy or mimic Apple’s lead. It will be thus in iTV, iWatch and iCar. (Those are just representative product names.)

            I’m sorry but do you hear yourself, you sound like Martin Short’s lawyer character Nathan Thurm, hoping the sound of your voice in denial automatically debunks any point, dispelling it. Apple has the track record here of success with a set of technology choices. Apple is also not hardly done innovating as many try desperately to believe in their tech religion. Apple may not be the first with a device but they think it through and make it work. The days of inventing every element of a device in order to claim purebred innovation are probably over. It comes down to OS and device functionality design choices that make it work for consumers and in this Apple is the champ.

            Apple has premium customers buying premium devices for premium money. Premium customers also buy cars more often. They aren’t going to want some mismatching piece of Android data-snatching junk in their cars. (I myself am in the market for a car but waiting for Apple. What tech is inside means more to me than the car and I think it will be that way for many.) Car manufacturers pick Android at their sales peril. It WILL have an impact.

            Apple has what 20% worldwide market share and some 83% mobile web share? Look this up before guessing. It’s not a market share issue, it’s the fact Apple users use more of the iPhone and iPad features than Android users do and buy more stuff. Hence the reason developers prefer iOS as it’s also less fragmented. People always go where the money is and the money to be made is in iOS and not Android Cheapskateville.

            So how has having the largest smart or feature phone market share helped anyone? Are they making the most money? Sure Samsung does OK (just as they are venturing into using their own Tizen OS) but most don’t do that well at all. Apple doesn’t want the largest market share just for market share’s sake, never have. They just want the largest market share of premium customers, not Joe Bogof Freetard. You need to take a Business 101 course. It’s about profits and Apple’s standing in the business world as #1 verifies this. Their iPhone business alone is worth more than all of Microsoft. You guys get so hung up on empty calories market share you can’t see the profit forest for the market share trees.

            Current Apple iOS is on the majority of their devices where the latest OS installed on Android is much lower. When developers are developing for a variety of Android OS’s it’s just another disincentive. People are still using Gingerbread phones fer Gawd’s sake!

            Google wants customers who they can capitalize on as all do but the irony is they are attracting the opposite type. Google does not make nearly as much as Sumsung does off their Mobility phones. Tizen, and Google dissatisfaction here with less profits than someone else off their OS, I believe will eventually change the “free Android OS” offering. Just an educated hunch. Yeah looking forward to another banner year from Apple in 2014 and I suspect Android fortunes will diminish as iPhone sales continue to go through the roof and take the top selling ranks (3 of the top here, 9 in Japan!) as sales for phones like the Galaxy S4 have disappointed. So much still coming, true enough it’s exciting!

  • Arturo Raygoza

    KIA and hyndai? wtf?! don’t do that. cancel those deals asap. its bad enough android is already called the poor mans smart phone compared to the iPhone. I predict iOS goes with Cadillac Lexus BMW and other high end luxory cars while android goes on KIA and hyndai lol for gods sake