|Google wants to get inside your CAR: Audi and tech firm to develop Android navigation and entertainment systems|
In what would be the ultimate hands-free kit, Google is said to be working on plans that could see its Android operating system installed into cars.
Reports in the Wall Street Journal claim Google has partnered with German car maker Audi, and this means new models could be sold with the system built into the dashboard.
The plans are expected to be unveiled at next week’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas and would rival Apple’s iOS in the Car system.
Google already has a feature built into the latest versions of its Android software called ‘car mode’ which lets users access commonly used functions via large buttons on the phone's homescreen.
The partnership with Audi would mean this Android system would, instead, be built into a car’s dashboard, negating the need for a driver to use their phone.
According to sources familiar with the plans, drivers will be able to use the system to open apps, play music from Google Play, use Google Maps to get directions, make calls, send texts and more.
The news comes a year after Apple announced it was similarly working on making its voice-activated personal assistant app Siri available in cars.
It added Eyes Free technology to its latest iOS software and has partnered with General Motors and BMW to run a system called iOS in the Car.
With Eyes Free, Siri reads out text messages and emails, and drivers can then dictate their reply. This is all done straight from the phone.
Drivers can also ask Siri to check the weather or traffic, as well as search the web for parking spaces or nearby toilets and petrol stations.
The Siri Eyes Free tool also lets users control this system by voice so users can keep their eyes on the road.
iOS in the Car is slightly different; it lets users connect phones with iOS 7 installed to the dashboard displays of cars.
If a car is equipped with this technology, a user can connect their handset to the system and use the car's built-in display and controls.
Gartner analyst Thilo Koslowski told WSJ: ‘The car is becoming the ultimate mobile device. Apple and Google see that and are trying to line up allies to bring their technology into the vehicle.’
Apple has also said it expects ‘a dozen car brands to adopt the technology in 2014’ but didn’t give any more information.
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