From smartphones and tablets, Android is set to expand into the automotive industry once more. This time, it is in General Motors cars.
From Rumor to Reality
In January 2014, Google announced its partnership with General Motors to improve the latter’s car technology. Although no clear details were revealed, speculations flew. One such rumor was the integration of Android in the automaker’s infotainment systems. Apparently, the rumor just got one step closer to becoming a reality.
Electronics giant Harman International confirmed the Android integration into GM cars as early as 2016. Harman CEO Dinesh Paliwal revealed plans about the next-generation infotainment systems to be installed on GM cars, which will be based on Google’s operating system.
Paliwal mentioned that the app development will be a collaborative effort among GM, Harman, Google, Apple, and several other third parties. The Harman exec also clarified that the infotainment system will feature an app store for future updates.
The contract for the GM-Harman deal cost $900 million.
GM’s move to integrate Android into its cars is made possible by Google’s Open Automotive Alliance, which establishes a deal between Google and 28 automakers to integrate Android-powered infotainment systems in the future.
Specifics, however, remain scarce. Although Harman has announced the deal, GM remains mum about it as of press time. There is no word yet as to which GM models will sport the Android-powered device. Rumors assert the carmaker will not integrate the operating system across all cars, a practice that has been noted of GM ever since.
Up until now, GM’s infotainment systems use different systems. SUVs and some sedans from the American carmaker run on Blackberry’s QNX, while Microsoft powers the systems on Spark and Sonic models. The Impala, Cadillac CUE, and Tahoe SUV sport Linux-powered systems as well.
It also remains unclear as to whether or not GM will pursue its connected-car strategy. Last January, the automaker announced a service named AppShop, which it eventually scrapped come July. The company, however, said that it has only “delayed” the introduction of the app, so speculators continue to wonder about the possibility of AppShop’s full rollout in 2016.
Not the First
GM, however, is not the first to integrate Android into an in-car infotainment system. Honda was the first carmaker to announce an Android-powered infotainment system, which will make its debut on select models in 2015. Although the system is set to offer Android Auto and Apple CarPlay at the same time, the said system will only run the 4.0.4 version of Android.
McLaren has already begun using Android-powered systems in the P1 and 650S as well.