You have almost certainly heard the name Harman when it comes to audio products, but the company has spent the last few years getting big into automotive technology as well. That's what piqued Samsung's interest in the company, and now the Korean tech giant is putting a lot of cash on the table to become a player in connected car tech. The $8 billion deal will be Samsung's biggest acquisition to date when it closes.
Honda and NVIDIA have partnered up to supply future 2015 Civic, Civic Tourer and CR-V owners with a Tegra-powered infotainment system for them to totally not interact with while driving. The interface will be based on Android, but it's utilizing the aging (or at this point, we can just say old) build of 4.0.4. We may be excited to see Android work its way into more cars, but Auto, this is not.
Aside from looking dated, ugly, and just like any other car infotainment system, there isn't much we can say about the actual UI. It hardly looks Google-y, though the app drawer icon in the bottom right corner sure seems familiar.
During CES this year, Google and NVIDIA announced partnership with GM, Honda, Audi, and Hyundai in forming the Open Automotive Alliance. The initial announcement was predictably sparse on details, noting only the initiative's core principles, and the goal of bringing Android to cars. After hearing approximately nothing about the effort since then, we now have information that gives us a first look at Google's vision for Android in the Car, referred to internally as Gearhead.
Disclaimer: No matter the confidence level, there's always a chance product updates, features, and some or all details will be changed or cancelled altogether.
Yesterday, Android Police was in San Jose checking out some nifty things at NVIDIA's 2013 GPU Technology Conference. At one of the events, the Tegra team showed off a few prototypes of automotive dashboards they're hoping to put into cars of the future.
The HMI (Human Machine Interaction)toolkit NVIDIA is developing, called UI Composer, is universal in the sense that it can run on top of Android, Linux, Windows RT, and probably other operating systems. User interfaces made using UI Composer can then be controlled remotely using Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. A Google Nexus 7 running Android Jelly Bean is used in one of the examples - it's basically an Android controller talking to a system running Android.
I'm not really sure how we missed this app when it was released way back in July, because it's damn cool. A company called Directed Electronics produces an automotive remote start kit that's called Viper SmartStart, and the kicker: it's controlled via smartphones. The app was available on iOS and BlackBerry for some time before being released for Android in July, and it's some pretty neat kit - check out the video (sorry, it won't embed because it's unlisted).
You can start your car from your house, then when you get inside your (now warm) car, you can arm the alarm on your house.