Connected cars are coming en-masse. We know this much. How, though, remains something of an open question, especially as two of the world's largest tech companies are preparing to battle for control of your car's dashboard. On the one hand, we have Apple and its CarPlay system. And now, we know what Google has been working on with Auto Link.

Its new name is Android Auto, and yes, it's based off the Android architecture that is the primary challenger to Apple's iOS mobile operating system. Announced at Google's I/O conference today, Android Auto functions similarly to CarPlay – owners will need to plug their smartphones into their cars to access the full breadth of capability.

In Android Auto's case, that means a wealth of voice controls to limit distracted driving. Google's marquee apps will be available when the interface arrives in production models later this year, including Google Play Music, Google Maps and voice-activated texting and text playback. Meanwhile, developers will be able to begin designing custom apps for the new system via an upcoming software development kit.

The technology is nearly as impressive as the roster of manufacturers Google has already enlisted to offer the system. Ford, General Motors and Fiat Chrysler are on board, as are Honda, Hyundai, Nissan and Volkswagen.

It's not entirely clear which manufacturer will be the first to offer Android Auto in a production model, although Google says it expects the tech to hit the roads before the end of the year. Considering that, you should expect to hear a lot more about this new technology in the coming months.

Take a look below to see Android Auto in action in a brief video.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 44 Comments
      CrossBonz
      • 5 Months Ago
      The simplest solution is for the hardware makers to make these systems compatible with both firmwares (Carplay & Android Auto) and then the consumer can just plug in their phone and the hardware detects which OS is being used and displays the interface accordingly. Don't turn this into another VHS vs. Beta war, it's dumb. What if at the time you buy your car you have an iPhone, and then in a couple years switch to Android.....wouldn't it be nice to have that flexibility?
        Hernan
        • 5 Months Ago
        @CrossBonz
        Volvo and Hyundai (so far) have confirmed that they will support both in the same car. The upcoming XC90 will have both, and a pretty large touch screen to go with it!
        churchmotor
        • 5 Months Ago
        @CrossBonz
        Honda is going to add Android support along with their current apple support.
        Juan
        • 5 Months Ago
        @CrossBonz
        Let's not forget about the third system, Windows in the car, which is still in concept form. http://www.engadget.com/2014/04/06/windows-in-the-car/.
        Hernan
        • 5 Months Ago
        @CrossBonz
        Volvo and Hyundai (so far) have confirmed that they will support both in the same car. The upcoming XC90 will have both, and a pretty large touch screen to go with it!
        Juan
        • 5 Months Ago
        @CrossBonz
        Don't forget about the third system still in concept form, Window in the car. http://www.engadget.com/2014/04/06/windows-in-the-car/
        Hernan
        • 5 Months Ago
        @CrossBonz
        Volvo and Hyundai (so far) have confirmed that they will support both in the same car. The upcoming XC90 will have both, and a pretty large touch screen to go with it!
      b.rn
      • 5 Months Ago
      For some time, I've thought we should have a platform agnostic display and input interface in the car. The car display and input controls would then be able to operate any smartphone (or similar device). Android for the car is a natural step, but I'd much rather see my idea come to fruition.
      tiguan2.0
      • 5 Months Ago
      So each manufacturer will have a different version of Android, several different platforms within one brand as Android is updated and not backward compatible, fractured into hundreds of possibilities like Android Tablets and Phones.
      Brian Peters
      • 2 Months Ago

      Looks a million time better than My Ford Touch in my wife's edge.  Makes me want to wait to buy a new vehicle but sadly I can't wait to get it in the F150 and since I keep them for 10-15 years I guess I've got a long wait :)

      jondastunna84
      • 2 Months Ago

      *Bruhhhhhhhhh.... thats too much talking lol sometimes i dont feel like talking to nobody what makes you think i want to talk to a car lol

      skoobey
      • 5 Months Ago
      Okay, why does Google need to do everything Apple does, and always be second place, instead of concentrating on their own great products at which they're actually the best? Like search? And marketing? And communication? If they invested some of these resources into actually incorporating voice and video calls into Gmail chat they would own that market. Or made google glasses more attractive? File sharing? Hello? Or refined their self driving cars and sold the licences to the vehicle manufacturers?
        Neez
        • 5 Months Ago
        @skoobey
        Why don't you tell apple to stop copying android!!!! First of all, iOS wasn't new and extrordinary when it first came on seen. I've had windows mobile phones for years before that, and developers skinned the crap out of it with widgets, icons, swipe screens etc.... The only problem with windows mobile at the time, was it was hell bent on efficiency. The battery would last like 4-5 days and all tasks were sluggish. When iphone came out, it was nothing i hadn't seen on windows phone. Like threaded messaging, icons, swiping and apps. All of which were available as mods to windows mobile before iphone came out. What apple did like they did with the mouse was introduce a new interface, Multi-Touch. The only thing apple did was dress it up a little, and polished the interface to run smoothly and relate it to familiar physical things we're used to everyday. After android came out, it took off like wildfire. It at some point surpassed apple in design, somewhere around android 3.2. Apple at that point started copying the crap out of android. With the menu slider, multitasking(which jobs trashed in a presentation, but now iphone has it), and maps etc... Here's a really good video. http://sploid.gizmodo.com/how-the-first-iphone-copied-everything-and-the-last-one-1482728020
        b.rn
        • 5 Months Ago
        @skoobey
        "Okay, why does Google need to do everything Apple does, and always be second place" You mean like how Apple tried to do maps?
        William C.
        • 5 Months Ago
        @skoobey
        Everyone copies everyone in the mobile industry. Palm made the first popular OS then shortly after windows CE then Symbian, blackberry, ios, android, webOS and so on and so on... The designer of webOS Mattias Duarte works for google now so everyone copies everyone else. If you think about it there hasn't been much innovation in the mobile industry for quite some time. All we see are just the same ideas presented with a shinny new skin or font.
          tiguan2.0
          • 5 Months Ago
          @William C.
          Don't forget to mention the Apple Newton!
      Krazeecain
      • 5 Months Ago
      It's about time! I Hope this puts an end to all the crappy proprietary systems...
      Steve
      • 5 Months Ago
      Looks 10x better than Apple's.
      Griffen
      • 5 Months Ago
      Great, will I get a penis enlargement add. Or a :insert car manufacturer name here: add, or some other advertisement on the navigation screen each time I turn on my car? Will I have to pay extra to have them removed? Congratulations we have opened a new door for marketing and now they have us belted in and no where to go on assystem you can't turn off.
        JaylanPHNX
        • 5 Months Ago
        @Griffen
        Check the tin foil in your hat. Google makes lots of products without ads. The advantage for them in creating this is to keep users in their ecosystem so that when you are in front of a device that serves ads, it's their ads you're seeing.
      tiguan2.0
      • 5 Months Ago
      So each manufacturer will have a different version of Android, several different platforms within one brand as Android is updated and not backward compatible, fractured into hundreds of possibilities like Android Tablets and Phones.
        Jamie
        • 5 Months Ago
        @tiguan2.0
        Actually, Android Auto works by "screencasting" your personal phone to the display in the car. The screen is "dumb" and only reflects the software and hardware that each individual driver has in their pocket. While driving, Android has a very different user interface than when you normally use the phone. I think it's a great way to keep auto manufacturing costs down and allow an individual to carry their custom driving setup with them to any car they drive!
          PlanB
          • 5 Months Ago
          @Jamie
          He was being a bit of a troll but I think it went over your head. But good points.
      holophonic
      • 5 Months Ago
      When might we get some accurate and detailed diagnostic information when something goes wrong with the car. At the level of a Master Mechanic. There is seemingly no reason this could not be done.
        jondastunna84
        • 2 Months Ago
        @holophonic

        definitely no reason why. but these companies leave that to dealerships to make the business more lucrative and not even we still screwed because if we do find out whats wrong with the car the autoshops will refuse to take your word for it so that they can hook up their machine and charge you

        Mike
        • 5 Months Ago
        @holophonic
        If you have a VW or Audi, get a VAG-COM.
      Jarda
      • 5 Months Ago
      Yes yes yes! I'm soooo glad that thing about FoMoCo and RIM/Blackberry turned out to be a silly rumor!
        jason32379
        • 5 Months Ago
        @Jarda
        Anyone who is willing to give up security to play Angry Birds and have some small conveniences (instead of focus on driving) is just silly. At least QNX isn't constantly going to be saddled by updates and hacks like Android is and will always be.
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