• Jul 15, 2011
With Android outselling Apple's iOS devices by a lofty margin, we've been asking every automaker when Android connectivity will finally come to cars. Automotive supplier Harman International has answered the call with its latest infotainment system, which integrates the Android Open Accessory Protocol to allow users to connect their Google-powered smartphone or tablet and control their devices through the head unit, steering wheel buttons or voice commands.

By adopting and implementing the Android protocol, Harman's systems have access to user's music, movies and navigation apps, along with SMS and email functionality. Other integrated apps – particularly nav and POI programs – are already available, including Harman's own Aha Radio app, which allows users to hear Facebook and Twitter updates, get customized news feeds, listen to podcasts, traffic and weather alerts and Internet radio streaming.

The protocol currently supports Android 3.1 running on tablets and 2.3.4 on smartphones, and the first automaker to bring the system into their vehicles is set to win big. And not just with geeks. Make the jump for the full details.
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Harman Extends Android Support for Automotive Applications

Addition of Android Open Accessory Protocol allows HARMAN to offer dashboard controls for connected smartphones and tablets


STAMFORD, Conn. – HARMAN International Industries announced today that it supports the Android Open Accessory Protocol, the first major technology partner in the automotive industry to offer the new connectivity standard. With the Android protocol built into HARMAN's automotive offerings, users can seamlessly control smartphone or tablet content – such as music, movies or navigation apps – through a car's dashboard or steering-wheel controls.

Adoption of the new standard continues HARMAN infotainment platform's industry-leading support of all major mobile operating systems, including Apple's iOS, Research in Motion's BlackBerry platform and Nokia's existing mobile systems. The Android Open Accessory Protocol is supported across all HARMAN infotainment platforms, so it can be used in entry-level, mid-priced and luxury automobiles. It is available now for automotive installations and extends the Android email and SMS support previously launched by HARMAN.

"Consumers no longer view their living room, workplace, and personal devices as separate domains," said HARMAN chief executive Dinesh Paliwal. "Connectivity is fast becoming a fundamental expectation and lifestyle requirement. Consumers want to connect simply and safely in their cars, and by making this Android standard part of our OEM packages, we continue to build upon our leadership in smartphone connectivity and integration."

With the Android Open Accessory Protocol, drivers will be able to safely activate music apps, such as HARMAN's Aha Radio service, through voice activation or steering wheel controls. Additionally, built-in navigation systems become more robust, as popular apps that provide information on nearby restaurants, tourist spots or gas stations can be overlaid onto existing map software. Passengers benefit as well, as Android integration allows content to be streamed to entertainment devices used in rear seats.

The Android Open Accessory Protocol is built into devices running Android 3.1 (Honeycomb) and is a software upgrade for devices running Android 2.3.4 (Gingerbread) and later. The protocol allows Android devices to connect to the dashboard or rear-seat installations via USB.


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