Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) and German auto maker Audi (FRA:NSU) are expected to announce a collaboration at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas next week for the development of an in-car entertainment and information system based on Android.
The tech giant and the automobile company are also expected to announce partnerships with other automotive and tech companies, such as Nvidia Corp. (NASDAQ:NVDA), a Santa Clara, Calif.-based chip maker, to establish Android as an important technology for future vehicles, the Wall Street Journal reported. According to the Journal, the new infotainment system will provide drivers and passengers with dashboard-mounted access to music, navigation, apps and other services that are available on Android smartphones.
“The car is becoming the ultimate mobile device,” Thilo Koslowski, an analyst at Gartner told the Journal. “Apple and Google see that and are trying to line up allies to bring their technology into the vehicle.”
Google's move is seen as a response to Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) “iOS in the car” feature, which allows users to connect their iOS devices to an in-car display either via wired or wireless connections. Unveiled at the Worldwide Developers Conference in June, "iOS in the car" has led Apple into partnerships with BMW (FRA:BMW), Daimler’s (FRA:DAI) Mercedes-Benz division, General Motors Co. (NYSE:GM) and Honda Motor Co. (NYSE:HMC).
The Journal reported that Honda is about to roll out models that will allow the driver to activate Siri from a button on the steering wheel for updates on emails and text messages, weather conditions and other information that people might need while driving.
According to the report, Google has provided its map technology to many auto manufacturers since 2006, including Audi, Toyota Motor Corp. (NYSE:TM) and Tesla Motors Inc. (NASDAQ:TSLA).
Meanwhile, the development of smarter cars has also prompted chip manufacturers such as Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) and Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) to beef up efforts to enter the car business. Nvidia told the Journal that 4.5 million cars on the road are already equipped with its processors, while 25 million more cars will feature its technology over the next five years.