Android is the world's most popular mobile operating system, powering devices we use every day such as our smartphones, TV set-top boxes, and wearables. But we do know that this tie-up is something separate to Google's existing car-focused product, Android Auto, which has gained growing support among vehicle manufacturers over the past couple of years - including with Volvo and Audi.
Google has announced that it has partnered with Volvo Cars to support the development of the auto maker's next-generation connected vehicles.
For Volvo and Audi, the advantage is more about meeting customers where they are - the dominant interface of any average person's life is still going to be their smartphone for the foreseeable future.
The auto version of Android will be powering the central touchscreen unit of the vehicle along with the digital dashboard behind the steering wheel. In fact, more than 50% of auto owners never used their infotainment systems after 90 days of purchase, according to a 2016 study led by J.D. Power.
Volvo's new cars will launch with Android within two years, the company said. Along with the announcement, Google did post two concepts of what potential owners will see, with those interior concepts based on a Volvo XC60, as well as an Audi Q8 Sport. Also, with the upcoming functionality, it won't require a phone to run it.
Google joins several others in the race to advance the connected vehicle experience, including Blackberry with its QNX Operating System and Apple with CarPlay. In January, Google and Fiat Chrysler also announced their partnership with FCA's Uconnect infotainment system running Android 7.0 Nougat.
The new partnerships take Google beyond Android Auto, an app that specifically provides drivers with navigation, streaming audio and communications services.
"We are making an important strategic step with the Google partnership", announced Henrik Green, senior vice president for research and development at Volvo.
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