• Jul 15th 2011 at 5:58PM
  • 34
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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    • 1 Second Ago
      Kevin Ledgister
      • 4 Years Ago
      The vehicle entertainment business is big enough for both Android and iPhone. However, Harman is undertaking risk because it will amplify the user experience of Android. Some users are happy with Android - others are still reading their manuals. Ford is taking a quality hit because of Microsofts car entertainment system being glitchy so there is a precedent. If you add up the number of iPhones and iPods the numbers are much larger than Android. Not to mention that many Android devices are low end phones which is also the reason why revenue per app is much higher on the iOS platform. It also explains why accessory mfgs are slow to release products- the Android doesn't create the premium add on market that the iOS devices do. And then there is fragmentation - which Android device on which release will you support? Tight integrations at the device level require testing of the many devices and the Android implementations. If you don't have the money you can only sell to a few devices.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Kevin Ledgister
        Even android's low end phones can run pandora, store and play music, and have voice control. Also, this opens up other functionality if you're using a micro-usb for the connector because multitudes of other devices (not just android... think hard-drives for instance) support that protocol. Seems like a universally good idea.
      • 4 Years Ago
      And where are all the Android speaker docks? Why is there so much dock support for the iPhone only? A lot of Android phones have HDMI out which would be great with a dock and TV, basically a soundbar for you movies too. What gives?
        • 4 Years Ago
        Move over "i this and that", i stands for Steve Jobs "i pocket your money", i hold you hostage". Droid is for the people, no holds bar. Droid Rules....
        • 4 Years Ago
        I think that mostly has to do with the fact that almost every device has their ports oriented differently, and many even have different type of ports (although I think that most are now user MicroUSB for charging; moving to one dual MicroUSB/HDMI port as well). A required standard for Android devices would be great, but I don't think the manufacturer's would like it too much.
      • 4 Years Ago
      The iPhone is way better. Outselling or not.
      • 4 Years Ago
      ios sucks
        • 4 Years Ago
        Yeah, it sucks having support so I can use my iOS device in my recording studio. Really makes me wish I could use a cheap clone...
          • 4 Years Ago
          Why would you do that? iDevice audio quality sucks. Go for Cowon.
      Rusty Shackleford
      • 4 Years Ago
      Apple only knows how to steal an idea, patent it and then sue the competition. Apple fan boys may think IOS is better than sliced bread, but Apple knows the truth....that's why they are running scared and like a spoiled brat is trying to sue anyone and everyone out there. IOS 5 blatantly steals from WebOS and Android as well as Windows Phone 7 (really? c'mon Apple) - Beware Harmin....Apple just might sue you too like they are with HTC, Samsung, Amazon, Motorola and the little old lady down the street.
      • 4 Years Ago
      "With Android outselling Apple's iOS devices by a lofty margin," I've been asking myself why Autoblog hasn't come up with an Android app.
      • 4 Years Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      So Google track us and send ads to us even while driving.
      black republican
      • 4 Years Ago
      Wonderful. Now your car can suffer from inability to use the same apps as your phone or otherpeople's cars. On android, EVERY OTHER APP either DOESN'T WORK, or IS A VIRUS.
      Damon Lavrinc
      • 4 Years Ago
      I've been assured it's on the way. Andre - I always want to include an * in those cases that says something like "two phones on two carriers versus 14 million phones on all carriers." but... whatevs. This isn't Engadget. :)
      Love Great Danes
      • 4 Years Ago
      maybe Harman should get the radios they supply today working first, then worry about new stuff.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Love Great Danes
        What's the problem with Harman radios now? Not trying to be snarky, none of the vehicles I've owned have had a HK system.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Now we can play Angry Birds while driving.
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