December 16, 2008 | by Wyatt Foard
While most of the Android community so far has focussed on its use on cell phones, a few people are looking farther out. There have been suggestions that the platform would make an ideal OS for the burgeoning netbook market. Now a posting on the Headlight blog, focussed on “Digital Automotive Trends”, takes a look at Android as a system that could run automotive apps on both portable devices and the auto itself. Related posts look further into phone-car convergence.
Starting with a look at a handful of current or announced automotive apps, the author, Kyle Outlaw, points to several directions the application developer market could go in producing apps interacting with the driving experience. One interesting app described in the article was developed by students at MIT and offers a “spare key” that can unlock doors with a cell phone and perhaps review diagnostic info in future versions.
The post hints a bit at deeper connections to Android apps running on cell phones, but as I read I started to wonder if perhaps autos should have a user interface that runs Android directly. A growing number of new cars offer built in touchscreen displays and cellular coverage for services such as OnStar, why not use Android to provide the auto’s entertainment, navigation, and diagnostic information? Connections between automotive infotainment systems and cell phones would only increase usability. Car companies pay big bucks for navigation packages that have to be updated with new maps regularly. Imagine the possibilities for partnerships between automakers and Google Maps alone, let alone location-aware advertisements.
[post on Headlight]