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Old 01-02-2014, 08:08 AM   #1
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Default Audi's alliance with Google

The WSJ ran a piece recently identifying the auto industry's alliance with operating systems. Ford with Microsoft, Audi with Google, and Apple with BMW among others.

Personally, I'm not a fan of this type of automotive approach. I don't want to have to consider what operating system, or connectivity issues I might have when choosing my next auto.

As one of the articles points out, it would seem that car companies should remain agnostic when it comes to corporate alliances. Provide connectivity to a reasonable wide range of peripherals, but stay away from providing better connectivity to one group at the expense of another.
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Old 01-02-2014, 08:27 AM   #2
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The WSJ ran a piece recently identifying the auto industry's alliance with operating systems. Ford with Microsoft, Audi with Google, and Apple with BMW among others.

Personally, I'm not a fan of this type of automotive approach. I don't want to have to consider what operating system, or connectivity issues I might have when choosing my next auto.

As one of the articles points out, it would seem that car companies should remain agnostic when it comes to corporate alliances. Provide connectivity to a reasonable wide range of peripherals, but stay away from providing better connectivity to one group at the expense of another.
I certainly prefer a google approach for Audi. It is less proprietary than Apple. Apple's Safari doesn't run on android, but chrome runs on all platforms for example.
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Old 01-02-2014, 10:54 AM   #3
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I think you might be reading too far into this; auto makers aren't really developing a proprietary interface with these operating systems -- I think they're really after the expertise these companies offer. Which is to say, they're experts at the OS, while the manufacturers are experts at the mechanical/powertrain/design elements of car production. In any case, the extra advantage of an OS that works will bring in more buyers than any perceived lack of universal appeal.

Would you buy an Audi computer? Probably not. Just like you probably wouldn't buy an Apple car.
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Old 01-02-2014, 11:14 AM   #4
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I think you might be reading too far into this; auto makers aren't really developing a proprietary interface with these operating systems -- I think they're really after the expertise these companies offer. Which is to say, they're experts at the OS, while the manufacturers are experts at the mechanical/powertrain/design elements of car production. In any case, the extra advantage of an OS that works will bring in more buyers than any perceived lack of universal appeal.

Would you buy an Audi computer? Probably not. Just like you probably wouldn't buy an Apple car.
I agree on your first point, but I think people would line up around the block to buy an Apple car.
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Old 01-02-2014, 11:21 AM   #5
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I expect plenty of people would by an Apple car! The next step in automotive design is going to be 'smart' tech. Not just the proprietary car orientated interfaces most cars have now with forays into google earth integration etc.

OS's like Maemo which gave birth to Meego which in turn led to Tizan are designed to bridge the gap between car/sat Nav/laptop/tablet/phone... Expect to see universal compatibility for apps on your PC/phone to run on your car in the very near future...

The problem is this means each car will be only able to run apps designed for their technology partners OS. For the most part this won't be a big deal as most stuff is released for iphone/android/windows - but for some, like me, which are allied with one camp already, it will be a pain if you have all your apps for your iphone are already purchased, and your car needs android.

It extends to more than just apps of course, and the car manufacturers will be forced to make their vehicles compatible with any phone still - but some will be 'more' compatible with each other than others.

I'm a geek and a petrol head, and so as such, my next new car purchase will be influenced by these alliances currently being formed. 99% of car purchasers won't care though and will just be wowed by what their new car will be capable off - if they spec the no doubt expensive options!

In short, I wouldn't worry about it too much unless you are REALLY into the gadgets in your car!
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Old 01-02-2014, 11:25 AM   #6
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I agree on your first point, but I think people would line up around the block to buy an Apple car.
Maybe, but there are not many people who will pay $ 100,000 for a car that's worth $ 40,000

For many drivers is essential comfort, safety and ride quality, not multimedia
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Old 01-02-2014, 11:42 AM   #7
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Maybe, but there are not many people who will pay $ 100,000 for a car that's worth $ 40,000
I wasn't aware Apple had announced a car, much less a price.
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Old 01-02-2014, 05:19 PM   #8
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I certainly prefer a google approach for Audi. It is less proprietary than Apple. Apple's Safari doesn't run on android, but chrome runs on all platforms for example.


... and one of the reasons why I opted for the 328i two years ago was because of the superior interface with Apple. It is a crappy car and I will not make that mistake again.

It is because of Apple's proprietary nature that it is more stable and provides a superior user experience.

I was actually saddened that Audi elected to go the Android route, but it is understood from their association with Google search in their first soiree with operating system makers.

We will see what the future holds...


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Old 01-02-2014, 05:58 PM   #9
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Default I don't think so...

Typing this on a Mac and using an iPhone,

1. In some ways I don't like the closed nature of the Apple systems and thinking.

2. No way I see a car manufacturer surrendering what they see as one of their current crown selling jewels--car gadgets/tech--to an OS player. Think IBM relative to Microsoft as the PC developed and was popularized. We know how that movie went. It also doesn't really fit automotive think historically, which has the tier ones on down routinely "bend over." Should make for interesting theater of course w/ folks like Apple, Google and other companies who see themselves perhaps similar. If anything, there are some lessons here specific to Audi, where arguably awd differentiation is increasingly meaningless, and the supplier for half of their drivetrain (as in tranny) for longitudinal applications (ZF) sells not much different units now to BMW, Jaguar and others.

3. Vehicles have lots of mission critical systems that better work 99.999999% of the time. People die if you really mess it up; not the (direct) nature of phones, laptops, etc. At the end of the day, does Apple really have sufficient mission critical experience if the "OS" ever starts to lap over to the backbone systems of the vehicle? I'm not necessarily a big Google fan either, but they have more of it w/ their business as well as lab stuff like autonomous vehicles.
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Last edited by MP4.2+6.0; 01-02-2014 at 06:18 PM.
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Old 01-02-2014, 06:38 PM   #10
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Default If not Google, then who?

Let's face it, there are three major players now (MS, Apple, Google) and each is problematic. Windows Media Player has been around for how many years? And it was only very recently, this past fall, that it has been able to edit tags in the standard WAV files that it defaults to ripping music to. And even then, it still often creates "Track1" instead of reading the title from a CD.

Google? Right, the phrase "Persons in Need of Supervision" comes to mind. Before Android 4.x, you couldn't set a calendar reminder for every 3rd week. One, two, four, yes, but 3? No, that's too difficult, even though Palm offered that kind of option a decade ago. Google products seem like they are written by folks who go stoned and lapsed out before they quite got finished.

And then there's Apple...No way a "My way or the highway" company could work well with a second one that had the same policies.

Until the auto industry goes back to open standards (anyone remember double-DIN radios?) we're going to be plagued by electronic and computer systems that hit and miss the mark, with no real way to correct them.

Google? Arguably no better or worse than the other two, but if you want to "go mobile" they are behind the most successful mobile OS, as kludgy as Android may be. I just can't see Audi giving out Apple iPod music cables on cars equipped with Android telematics systems though. That's just...twisted.
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Old 01-02-2014, 06:38 PM
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