Android Automotive hands-on: Google is finally ready to talk about its car OS

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.—After years of rumors and speculation, Google finally announced a plan to put a Google-blessed, car version of Android in a production vehicle. Audi and Volvo have both signed up to have their “next gen” vehicles powered by Google’s OS. Previously we’ve seen “concept” Android-as-a-car-OS displays from Google in the form of a “stock Android” car OS in a Maserati and an FCA/Google concept for a “skinned android” infotainment system. With Audi and Volvo, the “concepts” are over, and we’re finally seeing a work-in-progress product that will actually make it to market. And while previous concepts were quietly shown off with no one willing to comment, Google finally seems ready to talk about how Android in the car will work.

First off, there isn’t really a name for the project—internally it’s called “Android Automotive;” externally it doesn’t really have a name other than “Android.” This is a

weird since the smartwatch, TV, and IoT variants of Android all have special names to distinguish them from the smartphone UI. In this case, the most obvious name is already taken by Android Auto, a smartphone-based projected car interface.

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