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Qualcomm and Google are working on embedding Android in cars


via Flickr © .RGB (CC BY 2.0)

The idea is to build a ‘common infotainment platform’ using Android, Qualcomm has just announced at the Google I/O Conference. The auto offering is to be built around Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 820 Automotive processor and “the goal is to accelerate innovation in the car with an approach that offers openness, customization, and scale,” says Qualcomm.

The other thing it’s about is to create an open, non automaker-specific Infotainment platform and, through Android, an applications/content store which, perhaps along with one or two obvious competitors will become the in-car standard by offering the widest range of applications and being able to interwork smoothly with Android smartphone apps.

“This isn’t a massive surprise,” says Jeremy Green, Principal Analyst at IoT and connected car consultants, Machina Research. “Until now Qualcomm has been focusing on the car-makers and tier one hardware suppliers so this might be seen as recognition that those players are receding in importance. All those value-added services that the car-makers were drooling over  will likely be orchestrated instead by the likes of Google and Apple.”

“The significant thing is that if Google is successful in getting the technology embedded at the manufacturing stage it levels the playing field,” says Jeremy. “After all it’s difficult to create a value-added, walled garden infotainment environment to differentiate your upscale car models if Google Android is offering a ‘walled forest’ as standard.”

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Jeremy recently spoke with TelecomTV at Smart IoT London when he talked of us being at ‘peak car’,” with the car business is rapidly commoditising just as PC and smartphone hardware markets have done before it. As a result the car customer’s  primary relationship will eventually be with Google, Apple or another IT company. Watch the video above.

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