Google announces the Open Automotive Alliance, hopes to put Android in your next car

BY Stefan Constantinescu

Published 6 Jan 2014

With each passing year, more and more features that were once considered “luxuries” end up being commonplace. You may not believe this, but there was once a time when having a mobile phone that vibrated and had an antenna that you didn’t have to manually extend was considered the pinnacle of engineering.

This same process of technological democratization has also been taking place in the automotive industry. The cheapest new car from a company like Hyundai or Honda has more gizmos and features than a 15 year old top-of-the-line Audi. Google, looking to take advantage of all the gadgets that are expected to go into cars going forward, has announced the Open Automotive Alliance.

What exactly is it?

“Google has teamed up with automotive and technology leaders Audi, GM, Honda, Hyundai and Nvidia to form the Open Automotive Alliance (OAA), a global alliance aimed at accelerating auto innovation with an approach that offers openness, customization and scale. Together with our OAA partners, we’re working to enable new forms of integration with Android devices, and adapting Android for the car to make driving safer, easier and more enjoyable for everyone.”

That’s about all the information that’s available right now, so it’s hard for me to give this a thumbs up or thumbs down. Thinking out loud for a moment, Android devices are replaced once every 12 to 24 months. Cars on the other hand, people can have the same car for as long as a decade. I hope Google takes that into account, and insists that cars leverage the intelligence in mobile devices, versus sticking a Snapdragon inside a Honda that will be obsolete by the time your contract is up.