This auto-centric variant of Android N OS—natively running in a car—would allow carmakers to develop infotainment systems that can access heating and air conditioning, AM/FM radio, connectivity and other core functions besides the usual media, navigation and messaging apps.
Google showed off Android N on a reference In-Vehicle Infotainment (IVI) concept system inside a Maserati Ghibli. The system featured a vertical 15-inch screen—much like the one you find in Tesla today—and high-definition digital instrument cluster powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 820 chip.
Up until now, Google has not offered “auto-specific middleware to control infotainment systems,” Egil Juliussen, senior director & principal analyst IHS Automotive, told EE Times. The lack of a middleware standard has sent car OEMs and Tier Ones scrambling for proprietary middleware or some version of Linux OS for in-vehicle infotainment systems.
Undoubtedly, Android N will give Google a much deeper inroad into the automotive market. It allows Google to offer automakers a range of apps and services from which to choose.
More important, when Google does this middleware, “it becomes a standard that will be updated by Google,” said Juliussen. “It saves the OEMs from doing so.”