Volvo partners with Google to bring Android into cars

Volvo partners with Google to bring Android into cars

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By Christoph Hammerschmidt

To give cars the look-and-feel of smartphones in terms of connectivity, Volvo has entered into a close partnership with Google, the intellectual parent of the smartphone operating system Android. The goal is offering access to a wide array of apps and services to car users – they will be able to use many, though not all Android apps. The large catalogue of Android apps, developed by Google, Volvo, or third party app developers will offer connected and predictive services in and around the car, the company said. In contrast to available solutions where the app’s HMI is using the vehicle’s display but the program code actually is running on the smartphone, Volvo plans to run Android and the related apps natively on the vehicle’s infotainment sytem. 


The Google partnership represents an important strategic step for Volvo, said Henrik Green, Senior Vice President Research & Development at Volvo Car Group. “Google’s platform and services will enhance the user experience by enabling more personalization possibilities, while Android will offer increased flexibility from a development perspective”, he explained.


The move also reflects the ongoing convergence between the car and the digital world most people are ling in today. In this context, Volvo regards Android as a strategic choice – using Android as the base operating systems for the infotainment section of its vehicles will enable Volvo to act more agile in the growing market of digital services. Customers can benefit from the move in that it will enable them to personalize their in-car user experience with many Android apps and Google services being seamlessly integrated into their infotainment systems. “We will offer hundreds of apps and the best integrated experience in this connected environment,” Green promised.

However, there will likely be exceptions: Carmakers typically exclude apps that could create a safety hazard to the driver. Examples are any kind of apps that show moving images. Therefore, gaming apps or video services typically are accessible only to rear-seat passengers.


The carmaker is already collaborating with Google on another initiative to update recent Volvo models by adding Google Local Search, a location based service application. This will be released through an update to customers with Sensus Navigation.



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