Feeds

Google sets sights on the dashboard

General Motors in Android pitch

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Google is reportedly in talks with General Motors about putting Android into cars, allowing remote unlocking and startup while rendering GM's OnStar product redundant.

Motor Trend, reporting the talks, reckons that last part might prove a sticking point for the companies, as OnStar has been quite a success for GM. But the additional functionality enabled by integrating Android could provide a response to the Microsoft/Ford offering, MyFord, which has proved surprisingly popular.

MyFord uses Microsoft's SYNC technology - basically a Windows Embedded desktop behind the steering wheel. In January the companies added touch controls and announced that MyLincoln would come as standard from next year.

Electronic Dashboard

The MyFord electronic dashboard

In addition to the usual information one might want while driving a car, MyFord (MyLincoln, MyMercury etc) can show cover-flow-style music listings and satellite navigation, all with Bluetooth integration. It even has a keyboard port and a web browser - though wisely the last two are only usable when the automatic gearbox is set to park.

What MyFord doesn’t have is connectivity - it can operate as a Wi-Fi hotspot but you'll need to fit a USD dongle for the backhaul, and map updates have to be carried out to the car on an SD Card. We can't imagine Google would be interested in such a disconnected model, which is where GM could differentiate itself.

GM already offers wireless connectivity to its cars, though the OnStar service. OnStar is focused on alerting the emergency services in case of an accident, but can also provide directions and comes with a CDMA cellular connection. It's hard to see GM walking away from OnStar, so an Android-powered OnStar+ is more likely.

Car dashboards are the latest battleground for operating system dominance, as demonstrated by RIM's recent acquisition of QNX, which should see Blackberrys slipping behind the wheel.

It makes sense for Android to aim at that space too, and the mind boggles at the amount of data Google could gather if it were allowed free rein inside a car. GM probably won't allow that, but it will be interesting to see how much information drivers will be willing to give up in exchange for an electronic dashboard. ®

Bridging the IT gap between rising business demands and ageing tools

More from The Register

next story
NO MORE ALL CAPS and other pleasures of Visual Studio 14
Unpicking a packed preview that breaks down ASP.NET
Cheer up, Nokia fans. It can start making mobes again in 18 months
The real winner of the Nokia sale is *drumroll* ... Nokia
Mozilla fixes CRITICAL security holes in Firefox, urges v31 upgrade
Misc memory hazards 'could be exploited' - and guess what, one's a Javascript vuln
Put down that Oracle database patch: It could cost $23,000 per CPU
On-by-default INMEMORY tech a boon for developers ... as long as they can afford it
Google shows off new Chrome OS look
Athena springs full-grown from Chromium project's head
Apple: We'll unleash OS X Yosemite beta on the MASSES on 24 July
Starting today, regular fanbois will be guinea pigs, it tells Reg
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.