Why Android in Car is Very Unlikely to Happen


Reuters has an exclusive report that Google’s next version of Anroid will be car ready for use without a phone. “Allowing drivers to enjoy all the benefits of the Internet without even plugging in their smartphones“.

I have a hard time seeing this happening.  For a number of reasons. Cars, like the iPhone, are integrated devices. Their value is in the combination of various hardware parts and increasingly of the software.

Car companies are well capitalized and self contained. They only allow silent sub contractors to build their components with rare exceptions. And the exceptions are usually when they own them or looking for upscale cache.

Like the retailers and the credit card companies didn’t embrace Google Wallet, the (very) entrenched car powers will keep Google at bay. I can think of a number of compelling reasons and I am sure that there are more.

1)They want to control the total car experience. A Ford is a Ford and Honda is a Honda. Putting Android at the center of that experience will reduce their uniqueness.

2)They want to control the data.They have all learned by now that data is valuable. Even if it isn’t monetized the way that Google monetizes it, they wouldn’t want to lose it or even share it.

3)They don’t trust Google. Google clearly has designs in the car market with self driving cars. Why would they let a potential competitor into their cockpit?

4)Rather than pick a winner they would prefer to
remain agnostic between Apple and Android and allow their customers to pick by allowing attachment.

5)Complexity and Reliability issues. Reliabilty and fit for service issues are huge in the car industry.  Sometimes having more features  just isn’t the right solution. From the NYT: “A survey that AutoTrader conducted this year found that nearly half of shoppers will walk away from a vehicle they otherwise like if the “technology is perceived as too difficult to use.””

6)Security issues. I have trouble seeing how a general, open source framework can achieve the level of security needed. Not that car systems are all that secure currently, but having one car OS at scale would become an incredibly tempting target. Imagine someone holding your car hostage until you submitted payment?

Ford recently jettisoned Microsoft in favor of QNX OS from Blackberry for many of the above reasons. It’s one thing partnering with Blackberry and quite another to do it with Google.

Do you think Google can succeed with an in dash version of Android?

Please consider leaving a comment as your input will help me (& everyone else) better understand and learn about local.
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5 thoughts on “Why Android in Car is Very Unlikely to Happen”

  1. Interesting link by David.
    I’ve never quite understood why industries didn’t rebel against google when it removed keywords from organic search. Google holds all that information. They shut out everyone else. Stunning. Knowledge is power. So much for your #2.

    As to point #3. I wonder how any of these industries trust google…with its ability and strength to horn in on their businesses.

    Nice article, Mike. The future will tell.

  2. Mike: Good question…and btw: Happy New Year.

    What did I mean???

    Ever since google first cut down and then eliminated organic keyword data I’ve been surprised that big industry didn’t revolt.

    The largest local business I’ve dealt with was a large multi site auto dealer with locations in several states, sales between a couple of hundred million and a billion, thousands of leads, enormous volumes of transactions, tremendous overall organic activity, and a very healthy adwords budget. They area big business.

    They didn’t rebel, voice complaint, or react when google cut back information on organic search. Per their staff, other large dealers also didn’t react.

    Huge businesses, and even larger in the aggregate, and in one swoop, google eliminated critical marketing information from these powerful large players. They didn’t react. Meanwhile they lost invaluable information that was critical to their efforts.

    Data….and knowledge are incredibly powerful. Google controls all of it. I was surprised then and remain surprised that many large businesses and industries didn’t revolt when google eliminated the knowledge and information that assisted the various industries.

    You sugggest that the auto manufacturers learned that data is valuable. Having lost so much data to google, I would agree with you that they don’t want to share any further data with google.

    I suppose that is what I meant above.

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