Developers, start your engines: Android Auto APIs arrive

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Credit: Janko Roettgers/Gigaom

Google published its first Android Auto APIs on Tuesday, hoping to jump-start Android applications that work seamlessly with cars. Apps using the new APIs can’t actually be published yet although Google is already working with a number of app partners, so the wait shouldn’t be too long. Google said it will show off some Android Auto software this month at the L.A. Auto Show.

To get developers started, [company]Google[/company] is limiting the ways an existing Android app can be extended to the car. The initial APIs will allow for messaging and audio so that auto dashboards can show incoming notifications, accept replies through voice, let users browse music or other audio content and control playback. It’s just a start, although these two activities are low-hanging fruit for Google.

Google said the extended apps — once publishable, of course, will work directly though the car’s radio deck as well as through connected steering wheel controls.

The company first announced Android Auto at its Google I/O event in June and has gained more than two dozen car maker partners by creating the Open Automotive Alliance to challenge Apple’s CarPlay initiative. Some partners also support [company]Apple[/company] CarPlay so it’s highly likely we’ll see a few “cross-platform” cars in 2015.

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All Google Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are just virtual machine environments which run on top of Blackberry QNX based telematics systems which hold a 70%+ market share in the automotive head end market.

Blackberry’s QNX OS has owned the car head end system for 10+ years but you would never know that from reading any journalists articles. GM’s OnStar program since day one in 1995 has run on QNX.

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