Not to be outdone by Apple's Siri and iOS, Google is reportedly plotting a push into automobiles for its Android software.
According to the Wall Street Journal's unnamed sources, Google and Audi are partnering to use Android for in-car information and entertainment systems. Nvidia is also involved, and other automotive partnerships may be announced during the CES trade show in January. Audi is holding a press conference on January 7.
Google has been flirting with the automotive world for years. Several auto makers rely on Google Maps for navigation, and support a "Send2Car" feature in the Web version of Google Maps. Kia also uses Android to power the dashboard of the 2014 Kia Soul.
The effort to be announced at CES sounds more ambitious, with a full version of Android being installed on in-car dashboards. This could give drivers greater access to Android apps, navigation, and services without needing an Android phone.
Apple, meanwhile, is taking a different approach. With iOS in the Car, auto makers can still have their own dashboard systems while connecting to an iPhone for features such as iMessage integration, music control, and a hands- and eyes-free version of Siri. Auto makers can already add a Siri button to their vehicles, but that effort is slow-going so far.
For years, auto makers have used CES to show off their car tech, but these efforts have always felt incomplete without deeper integration of the two largest mobile operating systems. It sounds like 2014 could be the year that car tech grows up.