Automotive supplier Harman announced that it integrated Android's Open Accessory Protocol with its electronics platform. The new development opens the door for manufacturers to integrate Android apps with in their vehicles.
Liane Yvkoff is a freelance writer who blogs about cars for CNET Car Tech. E-mail Liane.
When it comes to integrating mobile entertainment apps with vehicle infotainment systems, manufacturers have been slow to embrace Androids. Harman announced this week that it is the first big automotive technology partner to fully integrate Android devices, which will let users control mobile apps using the vehicle's head unit.
Some Harman infotainment platforms already integrate preapproved BlackBerry and iPhone apps, such as Pandora and Facebook. Newly added to the platform is support for Android's Open Accessory Protocol. Similar to Terminal Mode, this new feature means some apps on an Android device equipped with the protocol can be integrated with the entertainment system and accessed using vehicle controls.
BMW, Mercedes, and Hyundai are among several car brands that use Harman systems in some of their North American vehicles, and manufacturers that adopt the new system can offer Android integration to its customers. However, Harman did not announce which brands or vehicles, if any, will use this new technology.
Android may be the most popular mobile platform in U.S., but it's the last to get integrated with cars. BlackBerrys and iPhones were integrated first because they've been around longer. While auto manufacturers take five years to develop a vehicle, their electronics systems and supplies tend to run on two-year design cycles. Android phones hit the market in late 2008, so Harman is right on schedule with this integration.