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Rumor: Audi & Google to Announce Partnership in Android-Based Infotainment Systems Says Wall Street Journal

The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) opens next week in Las Vegas, and when it does Audi plans to announce a partnership with Google on an Android-based car infotainment system says the Wall Street Journal. If so, that would make for an interesting alternative to the upcoming Apple-based system that has been confirmed for use by rivals BMW and Mercedes-Benz amongst others.

According to the Wall Street Journal:

They also plan to disclose collaborative efforts with other automotive and tech companies, including chip maker NvidiaCorp. NVDA -1.37% , to establish Android as an important technology for future vehicles, these people said. The aim is to allow drivers and passengers to access music, navigation, apps and services that are similar to those widely available now on Android-powered smartphones, these people added.

The coming announcements signal Google’s response to an initiative launched last June by Apple to integrate iPhones and other devices running its iOS operating system with car makers’ dashboard control panels. Apple so far has the support of BMW AGBMW.XE -1.97% , Daimler AG DAI.XE -1.99% ‘s Mercedes-Benz division, General Motors Co. GM -0.44% and Honda Motor Co.

Audi was one of the first car companies to pair with Google, adding satellite maps to its navigation and allowing for Google search support in searching destinations within the system. As such, Google and Audi are by no means strangers and have a track-record for collaboration.

So what do we think?
That Audi would want something more exclusive to itself would not be very surprising. It’s also likely that, much like Google maps that were functional in the Volkswagen new Golf R at last September’s Frankfurt Motor Show, Android-based infotainment in Audi will likely lead to re-skinned yet similar application in other Volkswagen Group products.

Another interesting facet of this pairing will be the potential conflict of brand loyalty between owners of both Audi products and Apple products. Both style-driven and technology-driven brands, it is not surprising that many Audi owners also own iPhones and Apple products. Even top staff at Apple own Audi models. Even still, Android seems to be in much higher popularity in critical markets like Asia.

So, will an iPhone owner sell or skip purchasing an Audi because he’s got an iOS device or will an Audi owner replace his iPhone with an Android? Or, will these platforms make any such problems unnecessary if each phone is made to be equally compatible?

Time will tell. CES 2014 opens in just one week and we’re certain we’ll learn more at that time. For now, read more about this in the original Wall Street Journal article HERE.



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