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Google takes aim at Apple's 'iOS in the Car' with Audi-Android partnership

post #1 of 135
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Apple is not the only major smartphone vendor with an eye toward a vehicle-integrated future, as Google is reportedly set to announce a collaboration with Audi that would have future cars from the automaker run in-dash systems based on Android.

HondaLink
Honda's Display Audio HondaLink Navigation powered by an iPhone


Mountain View, Calif.-based Google and Ingolstadt, Germany-headquartered Audi will unveil the partnership at next week's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, according to The Wall Street Journal. Other companies, such as graphics and application processor maker nVidia, are also expected to join the initiative to develop Android-based "infotainment" systems.

Similar to Apple's iOS in the Car strategy, which the company revealed at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference in June of this year, Google's end goal is to allow a vehicle's occupants to use the same apps and system functions on the in-car systems that they do on their Android-powered smartphones. One area where Apple and Google are said to differ, however, is in the idea's implementation.

Apple's initiative is designed with the iPhone as the "brain" of the system --?that is, many system functions would not be available until an iPhone was connected, either via a wired tether or wirelessly through Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. Japanese automaker and Apple iOS in the Car partner Honda introduced such a system earlier this month for their 2014 Civic and 2015 Fit automobiles.

Google, in contrast, wants to run the software off of dedicated hardware inside the car, according to the report.

iOS in the Car Maps
Apple Maps on iOS in the Car Source: Apple


Audi's participation is particularly interesting as Audi's parent company, Volkswagen, has long had ties to Apple. Volkswagen and Apple collaborated on the iBeetle, a new version of Volkswagen's venerable compact that features deep iPhone integration, earlier this year, though the Wolfsburg, Germany-based automaker was notably absent from Apple's initial list of partners for iOS in the Car.

The Audi collaboration will be Google's first public partnership for Android in the automotive field, though one industry insider says that the open source mobile operating system has already begun making inroads even without Google's overt support. Rajeev Kumar, a business development executive with chipmaker Freescale Semiconductor, told the Journal that "we are starting to see an uptick of Android use in car makers, starting in Asia and working its way across the world."

Apple has already established deep relationships in the auto world. In addition to Honda, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Ferrari, Chevrolet, Infiniti, Kia, Hyundai, Volvo, Acura, Opel, and Jaguar have all announced support for iOS in the Car for 2014 models. Several of those have also begun integrating Apple's Siri Eyes Free functionality, a precursor to iOS in the Car that enables drivers to activate Apple's digital personal assistant with a steering wheel-mounted button and pipes both the driver's commands and Siri's responses through the vehicle's audio system.
post #2 of 135
Android in Audi vehicles? What a major misstep and failure to understand their own customers. Android is the low-rent OS that mostly appears on crappy, cheap hardware. iOS appears only only the finest hardware. Clearly Audi products have more in common with Apple, and I am willing to bet their customers share very similar taste and economic advantages. Android belongs in Kia and Hyundai.

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post #3 of 135
Audi? LOL. Jason Statham won't survive his next car chase with Android on board. 1biggrin.gif

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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post #4 of 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

Android in Audi vehicles? What a major misstep and failure to understand their own customers. Android is the low-rent OS that mostly appears on crappy, cheap hardware. iOS appears only only the finest hardware. Clearly Audi products have more in common with Apple, and I am willing to bet their customers share very similar taste and economic advantages. Android belongs in Kia and Hyundai.

I am surprised the Koreans didn't do it already. They can call it "Open Dashboard Alliance" with "Open" = "do what Google says or else."

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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post #5 of 135
Ha ha. Agree, a luxury car maker whose customer demographic are iPhone, not Android, users ties their product with the race-to-the-bottom, we'll-sell-your-personal-info mobile OS. This is a worse marketing decision than Ford's tie up with Microsoft.
post #6 of 135
I can see where Auto manufacturers would find Android OS integrated into their car as a way to garner control over the services, albeit, Google Android is notoriously not open when the apps compete with Google e.g., music, maps, search, etc. thereby compromising this control, ask SAMSUNG.

However, this is a very complicated endeavor where underlying infrastructure is important. A car has a 5 to 15 year lifespan and this means support in the software and hardware for nearly an order of magnitude time horizon greater time horizon for Android 18 months. Apple, albeit not yet in that time league, has a 4X time line support and infrastructure upgrades advantage of 3-5 years for iOS and OSX, respectively. For the auto manufacturer having the driver bring the device to the car, substantially reduces the lifecycle support challenges. Note, i do not mean to say it goes away, but sure is easier.

A big concern for the automobile manufacturers is going to be licensing costs, Nokia, Apple, Microsoft, etc. are aggressively pursuing licensing agreements or denial of patents when using Android. Google has not developed an IP strategy that reduces any liability, case in point HTC with Nokia bans in Germany, soon in the US and UK, Apple's successful IP lawsuits with Samsung and more to come on that, and Microsoft on Motorola.

It is easy to imagine a licensing cost for auto manufactures of $50 to $100 or more per car. This is a liability that must be on the minds of the car manufacturers.

So allowing a phone iOS, Windows Mobile 8, or Android to interact in a limited way with the car is certainly valuable to customers and since these are "bring your own device" relatively low cost and risk free, but Android as core OS in cars is much more problematical.
post #7 of 135
Was looking to buy Audi in 2014-2015 but now I don't think I will be going with this company! Android dashboard? Wow 1oyvey.gif
post #8 of 135

I have spent 300k€ + on Audis during the past 15 years. If the next model comes with Google/android crapware on board, I will switch to Mercedes or BMW.

 

FAIL!!!

post #9 of 135

This suggests that the entire VAG/Volkswagen group (VW, Audi, Porsche, Lamborghini, SEAT, Skoda, Bugatti and Bentley) may wind up going with some flavor of Android in the future. And considering the demographic targets of some of those uber high end brands, it does seem kind of bizarre that they'd put a mobile OS in those cars which has a reputation for being mass market (no cachet at all), unsecure, wonky (from version to version and device to device) and targeted toward people who choose it because they need/want cheap entry into mobile... but don't use their devices in the same way that iOS or even BB OS users do. Maybe this is mainly to help Audi differentiate itself from the direction that Mercedes, BMW and Jaguar are going in, as they go with iOS.

 

An appropriate survey question, I believe: what percentage of Audi (or Porsche) owners own iOS devices vs. Android devices???

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post #10 of 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by jguther View Post
 

I have spent 300k€ + on Audis during the past 15 years. If the next model comes with Google/android crapware on board, I will switch to Mercedes or BMW.

 

FAIL!!!



Switch to Volvo instead.  Volvo and Audi are the only two luxury car manufacturers to stay away from the touchscreen/mouse horror combination that is taking over the UI of the car.  I drove a Lexus the other day, and I couldn't figure out how to get hot air on my feet, accidentally turned on the navigation system that started talking to me instead.  Touchscreen and mouse is a dangerous thing, it takes your eyes off the road for too long.

The Volvo UI is designed to be operated while wearing gloves in the winter, and to be intuitive so that you can get exactly what you want in a sub-second glance.


Edited by e1618978 - 12/30/13 at 8:32am
45 2a3 300b 211 845 833
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post #11 of 135
So you're saying iOS shouldn't be in a Honda?
post #12 of 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jag_Warrior View Post
 

This suggests that the entire VAG/Volkswagen group (VW, Audi, Porsche, Lamborghini, SEAT, Skoda, Bugatti and Bentley) may wind up going with some flavor of Android in the future. And considering the demographic targets of some of those uber high end brands, it does seem kind of bizarre that they'd put a mobile OS in those cars which has a reputation for being mass market (no cachet at all), unsecure, wonky (from version to version and device to device) and targeted toward people who choose it because they need/want cheap entry into mobile... but don't use their devices in the same way that iOS or even BB OS users do. Maybe this is mainly to help Audi differentiate itself from the direction that Mercedes, BMW and Jaguar are going in, as they go with iOS.

 

An appropriate survey question, I believe: what percentage of Audi (or Porsche) owners own iOS devices vs. Android devices???

Valid survey question.  It would be interesting to see if iOS market share is dropping as much for Audi owners and potential owners as it is for the overall market.  Europe iOS market share (by sales) dropped below 15% vs >80% for Android. Worldwide it is a similar picture...

post #13 of 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by tundraboy View Post

Ha ha. Agree, a luxury car maker whose customer demographic are iPhone, not Android, users ties their product with the race-to-the-bottom, we'll-sell-your-personal-info mobile OS. This is a worse marketing decision than Ford's tie up with Microsoft.

 

This would/should be a HUGE concern if one had an Android device in his car and it had access to any of the vehicles onboard systems. Considering that Google seems to be in a neck & neck race with FaceBook and the NSA for the title of Data Mining World Champion, I can imagine getting a cancellation letter in the mail from my insurance company stating, "It has come to our attention that on your recent trip to Atlanta, you exceeded a speed of 90mph on six occasions. Goodbye forever!" Progressive Insurance is already offering discounts to suckers who willingly putting these nanny snoopers on their cars. I doubt Google/Android would even bother with getting permission - they don't with anything else.

 

If my company feels that Android is so unsecure that the CIO will not allow that OS on our network, then why in the world would I want such an OS in my car?! Especially considering a severe medical condition I have, known as LeadFootitis.

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post #14 of 135
I think creating piles of $100 bills and burning them is a much easier and probably more entertaining way of destroying the company!

Why take the trouble to integrate Android into the car?
post #15 of 135

Audi uses QNX. QNX can now run Android apps. This is what's going to happen.

 

Nobody is stupid enough to actually run Android on an embedded computer module in your car. It's nowhere near reliable enough.

post #16 of 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by noneyabusiness View Post
 

Valid survey question.  It would be interesting to see if iOS market share is dropping as much for Audi owners and potential owners as it is for the overall market.  Europe iOS market share (by sales) dropped below 15% vs >80% for Android. Worldwide it is a similar picture...

 

I agree; that would be a very good question.

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post #17 of 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by hello2014 View Post

So you're saying iOS shouldn't be in a Honda?

Honda is an edge case. A lot of mothers buy Honda vehicles (CR-V?) and I only see them with iPhones.

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post #18 of 135
So disappointed in this news. I was looking forward to picking up a diesel powered A5 in 2014. If this is true; I will have to spend my money elsewhere. I hope this is a bad joke.,,,
post #19 of 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by e1618978 View Post



Switch to Volvo instead.  Volvo and Audi are the only two luxury car manufacturers to stay away from the touchscreen/mouse horror combination that is taking over the UI of the car.  I drove a Lexus the other day, and I couldn't figure out how to get hot air on my feet, accidentally turned on the navigation system that started talking to me instead.  Touchscreen and mouse is a dangerous thing, it takes your eyes off the road for too long.


The Volvo UI is designed to be operated while wearing gloves in the winter, and to be intuitive so that you can get exactly what you want in a sub-second glance.

Compared to VW/Audi I personally find the entire Volvo aesthetic visually offensive.

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post #20 of 135
IMO it's actually Microsoft who has the most to lose and not Apple when manufacturers seriously consider Android for embedded systems. Both the medical and auto industry's are already taking a good look.
melior diabolus quem scies
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post #21 of 135
I would prefer an iOS environment (who wouldn't?), but making an iPhone the brains of the system is a big mistake. What if your iphone is on the fritz or back at home? Will you not be able to access convenient/important settings and services? What if your cellular carrier doesn't let you access voice and data at the same time---which creates a conflict in how you use the phone in the car?
I used to have a Ford Explorer with MySync. MySync is based on Android. It was buggy as heck, but in many ways it worked well and had a good interface. So long as any Android care interface works well with my iPhone---I will be happy with that.

On the flip side, this probably means there will be no Lightning Bolt (iPhone 5) connector for the existing Audi MMI--which blows since now I drive a Q5.
post #22 of 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

Honda is an edge case. A lot of mothers buy Honda vehicles (CR-V?) and I only see them with iPhones.
Hmm...I own a Honda Civic and also own several iOS devices. Am I not worthy of having iOS in my Civic?
post #23 of 135

I'm in the market for a new car. I haven't narrowed it down just yet other than to exclude, Ford (MS), Tesla (Android), BMW, (had a Z3, but they are going "in-house" instead of staying with Apple) and now Audi (Android). Ugh! 

 

Best.

post #24 of 135

Strange thing is Audi was amongst the manufacturers who showed interest in the Apple's technology. Volkswagen should be on Apple's top client-list, they own 12 auto brands including Porsche and Bugatti.

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post #25 of 135

How the f**k a classy car manufacture such as Audi chose to go with the crappiest mobile OS in the universe?!?!

 

Did Larry and The L Team offer them a BJ as well as FREE Audi Ads on TOP of 1st page of google no matter what users search for?!! ;)

....the lack of properly optimized apps is one of the reasons "why the experience on Android tablets is so crappy".

Tim Cook ~ The Wall Street Journal - February 7, 2014

Inside Google! 

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....the lack of properly optimized apps is one of the reasons "why the experience on Android tablets is so crappy".

Tim Cook ~ The Wall Street Journal - February 7, 2014

Inside Google! 

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post #26 of 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by st88 View Post
 

 

You're all either full of shit, sarcastic, or your priorities when choosing a car are out of whack. 

Vulgar...Get some sleep, bro!

post #27 of 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

Android in Audi vehicles? What a major misstep and failure to understand their own customers. Android is the low-rent OS that mostly appears on crappy, cheap hardware. iOS appears only only the finest hardware. Clearly Audi products have more in common with Apple, and I am willing to bet their customers share very similar taste and economic advantages. Android belongs in Kia and Hyundai.


I agree, but I think that the problem is the customization. Android allows any level of customization, even a complete fork of the codebase with a dedicated app store (Amazon-like).

post #28 of 135

Oh great!!  With Appleinsider explaining to us a few months ago just how vulnerable Android is, soon our cars along with our tablets and smartphones are doomed to malware.  I recall the article telling us that Android is more vulnerable than Windows XP - now that's very scary!!  Well, at least we know which car not to buy or lease until they give us the choice of Android or iOS.

post #29 of 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by st88 View Post

You're all either full of shit, sarcastic, or your priorities when choosing a car are out of whack. 

You can say we are full of MONEY lol.gif

I do not like to brag but dogs like you need to be known about it that we will do whatever we want with our money. Go get some life!
post #30 of 135
I'll be looking to buy my third Audi in a row in two years. No Apple integration... then no more Audis for me!!
post #31 of 135
Ugh. Can't wait for the "driving lag" stories.

My guess is Android for autos looked a lot like ford Sync then suddenly changed after iOS for autos was announced.
post #32 of 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post

IMO it's actually Microsoft who has the most to lose and not Apple when manufacturers seriously consider Android for embedded systems. Both the medical and auto industry's are already taking a good look.

 

Bull. Nobody is considering Android for anything mission critical (like medical). QNX and other embedded OS's have those markets locked down. Android would be an utter joke used in something that was supposed to have high reliability and guaranteed up time.

post #33 of 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by EricTheHalfBee View Post
 

 

Bull. Nobody is considering Android for anything mission critical (like medical). QNX and other embedded OS's have those markets locked down. Android would be an utter joke used in something that was supposed to have high reliability and guaranteed up time.

Exactly! :)

post #34 of 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by gprovida View Post

I can see where Auto manufacturers would find Android OS integrated into their car as a way to garner control over the services, albeit, Google Android is notoriously not open when the apps compete with Google e.g., music, maps, search, etc. thereby compromising this control, ask SAMSUNG.

However, this is a very complicated endeavor where underlying infrastructure is important. A car has a 5 to 15 year lifespan and this means support in the software and hardware for nearly an order of magnitude time horizon greater time horizon for Android 18 months. Apple, albeit not yet in that time league, has a 4X time line support and infrastructure upgrades advantage of 3-5 years for iOS and OSX, respectively. For the auto manufacturer having the driver bring the device to the car, substantially reduces the lifecycle support challenges. Note, i do not mean to say it goes away, but sure is easier.

A big concern for the automobile manufacturers is going to be licensing costs, Nokia, Apple, Microsoft, etc. are aggressively pursuing licensing agreements or denial of patents when using Android. Google has not developed an IP strategy that reduces any liability, case in point HTC with Nokia bans in Germany, soon in the US and UK, Apple's successful IP lawsuits with Samsung and more to come on that, and Microsoft on Motorola.

It is easy to imagine a licensing cost for auto manufactures of $50 to $100 or more per car. This is a liability that must be on the minds of the car manufacturers.

So allowing a phone iOS, Windows Mobile 8, or Android to interact in a limited way with the car is certainly valuable to customers and since these are "bring your own device" relatively low cost and risk free, but Android as core OS in cars is much more problematical.

 

This is why Apple's plan is so much better. By using the phone as the "brains" of the system then all that is needed for an upgrade to the system is to get a new phone. All that Apple has to do for the 5-15 year life of the car is make sure that the interface is supported. Something which they can and have done in the past.

 

With the built-in system there will be no practical way to upgrade this system. And given how dismally horrible Android is at supporting past hardware I cannot believe that anyone thinks this is a good idea. I also have to seriously question their thinking considering how quickly Google is known for dropping things. With the turmoil happening with the Android leadership and the questionable litigation of who truly owns Android. I am left only shaking my head at this questionable decision.

post #35 of 135
Great. Google following me around more than they do already. I guess my current Audi will be my last.
post #36 of 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by noneyabusiness View Post
 

Valid survey question.  It would be interesting to see if iOS market share is dropping as much for Audi owners and potential owners as it is for the overall market.  Europe iOS market share (by sales) dropped below 15% vs >80% for Android. Worldwide it is a similar picture...

 

Which might be relevant if they were talking about an interfacing system like Apple is doing. However, with the system they are describing, which is integrated, this statistic is pretty much moot. That is like asking what my current phone is with my current car's system. It doesn't matter because they don't interface.

post #37 of 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by st88 View Post

Maybe you are, or maybe you're not.  

 

Either way your priorities need to be fixed, clearly the drive of the car or other related attributes are missing from your check-list.

 



I know right? Crazy that some people claim to use the in-car OS as the deciding factor of whether or not to buy a vehicle, throwing out fuel economy, safety, styling, performance, etc. Certainly within their right, but very strange indeed.
post #38 of 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by mknopp View Post
 

 

Which might be relevant if they were talking about an interfacing system like Apple is doing. However, with the system they are describing, which is integrated, this statistic is pretty much moot. That is like asking what my current phone is with my current car's system. It doesn't matter because they don't interface.

I think you are missing the point.  Audi is likely thinking that if 9 out of 10 potential buyers of their cars can not use the fancy in-dash system because their non-iOS phone can not plug into it... Does this hurt their sales?  I would say yes.  

 

A car should have an entertainment/nav/etc system that doesn't care which smartphone you have at the time of purchase (much less which one you happen to have every subsequent year you own the vehicle).  

 

Which OS would best power that in-car system is a valid discussion point.  But making a choice that severely limits your buyer pool is not a smart business decision.

post #39 of 135
Well, that should make all the douchebags happy.
post #40 of 135
I own and drive a sportive Audi A5 and will order a new one but I cancel my order directly if Audi delivers Android. No go! I love to drive this car 250 km/h on the German Autobahn, where I live. But Android? Shitty Android in such a car? No! No go! No order! No money for crap in this sports car!
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