Google’s Road Trip
After Google’s I/O Conference, there are simply not enough words to express all of the innovative programs that the company has put into motion. One of the most noteworthy initiatives is Google’s Android Auto, which will essentially blend the use of an Android phone smoothly into the use of a vehicle. All the user has to do is plug their phone into a car and a large screen on the car’s dashboard becomes their phone interface, with full use of programs like Google Maps, Spotify (for your listening pleasure), and the ability to send and receive texts – all of which automatically come with hands-free voice direction.
With the introduction of Android Auto and swirling rumors about the first fully-automated Google car, it has become clear that the company is angling for a domination of the automobile market, but why? There a several reasons for this new direction. First, by creating contracts with car makers, Google could shut Apple out of the market, thus raising its Android smartphone sales. This makes sense because people aren’t going to use Apple iPhones that aren’t easily compatible with their cars, unlike Android. Second, the amount of time that a person owns a car is significantly longer than the average ownership of a phone, and if Androids work with people’s cars, then they are more likely to keep buying new Androids each time they need an upgrade. Again, Google is using the auto industry to optimize its usefulness. Finally, with all of the work being put into the Google car, the information that the company could gain by connecting its handheld devices to people’s cars could prove invaluable toward learning about driving patterns and car usage. It seems that Google’s move of starting up Android Auto is going to be a win-win-win for them.
The other program that looks promising is called Android One, which will provide a basic blueprint for smartphones that can be built easily and affordably in less economically developed countries such as India. The idea is to help these areas stay competitive in a cutthroat smartphone market, and to set out a minimum standard of quality and design for all Android devices. The lowered prices of these devices will, if all goes well, allow Google to appeal to the variety of people who do not own smartphones. This is an edge that other smartphone makers, such as Apple, do not possess. By making their phones less of an oddity and more of a commodity in developing countries, Google is setting itself up to dominate the majority of markets that are still in their infancy.
All in all, Google is making a lot of smart moves to hit areas of the market that have remained heretofore untouched. Android Auto will become available later this year, and huge automakers such as Kia, Honda, Ford, Chevrolet, Audi, and VW have already signed on. Android One will be going international, but will hit India first during the fall of 2014. By interlocking itself with cars, one of the biggest industries in the world right now, Google is deftly inserting Android technologies into a position of necessity in everyday life. It seems that the company which can boast the most-used search engine in the world will soon be a part of all aspects of the modern man’s routine.
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