Android and Apps for Smart Cars, but not Smartphones?

Smart mobile devices, particularly smartphones, have changed the way we use and look at technology today. Apps, which were previously limited only to smart mobile phones and tablets, have landed on TVs, music players, gaming consoles and even desktop PCs. This and other smartphone-inspired trends are now taking over nearly every aspect of the technology industry. The latest sector that was dragged into it is the automotive one. At this year’s International CES, various automakers surprised the world with innovations that greatly resemble smartphone features.

Google Starts the Battle for the Dashboard

In Las Vegas, Google shared that it will join forces with some popular automakers in order to introduce Android into the car industry. The new partnership is referred to as the Open Automotive Alliance and it includes companies like Audi, GM, Hyundai and Honda. It will all focus integrating the Android mobile operating system into the on-board car entertainment systems. The first vehicles that will sport Google’s Android will be released by the end of this year. In other words, cars will soon rely on apps just like smartphones.

First Car App Store Announced

This may happen faster than you think. Not long after Google announced the founding of the Open Automotive Alliance, General Motors shared that it plans to introduce an app store for cars. It will focus on the 2015 Chevrolet lineup. Therefore, it will be called Chevrolet AppStore. The platform will look like Google Play and Apple’s App Store and it will offer a great choice of applications. General Motors even listed a number of apps that are already in the works. Among them is Slacker Radio, The Weather Channel, NPR, as well as a Vehicle Health app.

In-Car Mobile Gadgets

Audi also joined the smart cars trend. However, unlike the competition, it did not introduce a new vehicle at International CES. Instead, it showed a tablet named Audi Smart Display. The device is created for in-car use and it offers LTE, Wi-Fi and radio control features. The gadget has a 10.2” screen and a Nvidia Tegra T40 processor. It is compatible with Google Play apps, which is an alternative to the smart dashboard of Chevrolet. Audi’s tablet can also used outside the car. It is not clear whether Audi will release it on the mass market. However, this innovation shows that automakers are taking on a new a path.

Automated Vehicle Technology

Many automated car technologies were introduced at CES 2014. BMW showed off an autonomous driving demo which can one day result in self-driving cars. Bosch, on the other hand, announced it has created a technology that enables drivers to park their vehicles using their smartphones. That is possible thanks to an app, which even allows users to park their car without sitting behind the wheel.

Automated smart cars will become a reality at some point in the future. Although that will take some time, these inventions will transform the way we see vehicles.

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