Why is Android Auto not open source

Google I / O: Android in the car is not Android Auto

Google is bringing its Android operating system into vehicles for the first time and demonstrated it as "Android in-car" at its developer conference I / O 2016. Wait, wasn't there something with Android Auto?

Android Auto is an app that runs on mobile phones under the Android operating system and uses a screen in the car for display purposes. Android Auto will also persist and will not be discontinued. But now Google is providing the car manufacturers with assistance in order to run the upcoming Android N operating system on the on-board computer or another computer installed in the car.

Because open source

This is actually not new, because Android is freely available as open source. For example, Honda has been using Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) for entertainment systems for a long time, but has changed the user interface significantly. Google wants to support the spread of Android, but if possible propagate its own design ideas. Therefore, there are now appropriate design templates and recommendations. Simple examples are minimum sizes for touchable elements.

In addition, Google is offering automakers a more powerful Bluetooth stack than before; it supports more bluetooth protocols. Google also provides code for integrating car radios and for connecting to CANBUS networks. This allows data to be exchanged between Android in the car and other systems operated by the car so that entertainment systems, heating, ventilation, air conditioning and other non-critical systems can be controlled.

Android Auto will soon also be available on mobile phones

Google is also further developing Android Auto, which was first presented at Google I / O 2014. As before, this app offers a reduced user interface and access to apps specially certified for use in vehicles. So far, the screen output has only been carried out via screens installed in the car, which are controlled via USB cable.

This year, however, it should be possible to display Android Auto on the mobile phone screen itself. An external screen will then no longer be necessary. In addition, external screens should also be able to be controlled wirelessly via WLAN - if the user wants to use one. Bluetooth is left out; according to Google manager Mickey Kataria, the bandwidth is not sufficient.

With Waze and hotwording

So far, around 500 apps have been certified so that they can be started via the Android Auto app. This will be joined by Google's in-house traffic app in the foreseeable future Waze. That was the most requested feature, Kataria reported in an interview with heise online at I / O 2016. Waze users inform each other about accidents, construction sites, fuel prices and speed traps. Waze has also recently started offering carpooling.