Google has preemptively announced that Android Automotive (not to be confused with Android Auto) will be opened to developers following I/O 2019.
Android Automotive is Google's platform for infotainment systems which is due to launch with the Polestar 2, an electric vehicle developed by Volvo’s standalone brand.
The platform differs from Android Auto in that Automotive is an OS modelled after Android itself but adapted for cars, whereas the former is an interface which runs on top of another operating system.
Google is calling for media app developers initially to ensure it has the entertainment part of an infotainment system covered. Spotify and NPR will launch as Google's third-party media app showhorses.
Madan Ankapura, Android Product Manager, and Oscar Wahltinez, Developer Programs Engineer, wrote in a blog post:
“As the first cars hit the road, we have heard loud and clear from developers, users and OEMs that consuming media like music or podcasts is one of the key use cases while driving. This is why today, we are announcing that media app developers will be able to start creating new entertainment experiences for Android Automotive OS and the Polestar 2, starting at Google I/O.
With a variety of screen sizes, input methods, OEM customizations and regional driver safety guidelines, building embedded apps for cars at scale is a complicated process for developers to do on their own. In order to help manage these complexities, we are building on the same Android Auto framework.”
The company has said it will expand third-party developer support into other app categories, including navigation. This should help to quell fears that Mountain View will only ever support Google Maps on the platform.
Google has established the automotive-developers Google Groups community for developers to discuss Android Automotive OS. For questions better suited to a StackOverflow Q&A style, you can post there using the tag android-automotive.
Polestar 2 is expected to go into production in early 2020 at the company's factory in Chengdu, China. The company is initially targeting sales in China, the US, Canada, and some European countries which includes the UK, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden.
Volvo, Fiat Chrysler, and the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance have also publicly announced plans to support Android Automotive.
Google appears set to break into the historically-restricted area of infotainment systems in a big way, so it might be worth tagging along for the ride.
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