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Google whips up an open platform for the auto industry

The search giant has inked a deal with GM, Honda, Audi, Hyundai, and chip-maker Nvidia with the goal of installing the Android mobile operating system as a platform for in-car entertainment systems "in a way that is purpose built for cars." The first examples of auto Android are expected to appear by the end of 2014.

This could be a bit of a turning-point for the in-car communications scene, especially considering the inclusion of auto heavyweights GM and Honda.

Naturally, many of the big car manufacturers originally saw the connected car concept as a potential revenue earner (for them) and there has always been a slight tension around whether it could or should become a ‘walled garden’ (Rogue metaphor on the loose - can a car be a garden?) trapping juicy, revenue-earning applications behind its walls; or whether the car itself would or could just be considered one more mobile device across which users would expect to see their familiar apps (or car-adapted versions of them) appear and therefore any effort to block out app or service competitors would meet resistance from users.

It’s difficult to see how this alliance could be any different in that respect to the original Android. According to the press release there will be more auto-makers joining down the track and the key objective will be to make an Android version which allows developers to tweak their apps to have them run on the car platform.

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