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Volvo's next-gen infotainment will pack Google Maps, Assistant and Play Store

It's all thanks to Android, which will form the underpinnings of the next version of Volvo's Sensus system.

Volvo

If you're the type of person who absolutely must use Google Maps, even if you have a fully functional navigation system in your car, then Volvo's latest news will be right up your alley.

Volvo announced Monday that its next-gen infotainment system will carry several Google services, including Maps, Assistant and Play Store. That puts thousands of Google-approved apps within reach of the dashboard of any Volvo with this system. This partnership was first previewed at last year's Google I/O conference.

You won't be able to play Flappy Bird in traffic, but you'll be capable of doing much more than usual.

Volvo

It's all thanks to Android -- not Android Auto, but the actual Android operating system. Volvo's next-generation in-dash offering will use Android underpinnings, which will make it much easier to implement Google-based services like this. If you're worried about Apple CarPlay, fear not. Despite Android and iOS being mortal enemies, embedded Android will continue to let iPhone users mirror their screens on the dash. 

Instead of Volvo's traditional navigation, it'll use the wildly popular Google Maps. Google Assistant will take over voice recognition, with its natural-language capabilities letting you do everything from change climate settings to turn your house lights on during the commute home -- the same things you can do with Assistant on your phone. 

As for the Play Store, it'll let you download and use thousands of approved apps. While distraction may be a concern, Google promises that its vetting system ensures that approved apps limit driver distraction and balance that with the convenience of being able to do more from the dashboard. 

As well as offering Android as an embedded infotainment platform, Google will continue to offer Android Auto smartphone projection in as many cars as possible, which reduces distraction by eliminating the need to pick up the phone for tasks like setting Maps directions or sending messages. Android users without an Android Auto-capable car can still use an Android Auto app that doesn't project to the infotainment system, but it does offer a simplified interface for many apps in order to cut down on unnecessary phone usage.