In-Car Infotainment: The Next Google-Apple Battleground

The fight between Google and Apple is moving to a new venue. The tech companies are preparing to ratchet up their operating system wars on a truly mobile platform -- cars. The Wall Street Journal reports that Google and Audi AG are planning to announce a joint effort to develop in-car entertainment and information systems that are based on the Android operating system.

A part of whatEUs known as infotainment or telematics, in-car entertainment systems have been featured on TV shows such as MTV's Pimp My Ride. In-car entertainment has been become more widely available as costs have declined for devices like LCD screen/monitors as well as for converging media playable technologies.

We caught up with Greg Sterling, principal analyst at Sterling Market Intelligence, to get his take on the talk. He told us Google has had its maps in various cars for some time, but the new Audi relationship lets Google expand the Android platform into the automobile.

EUGoogle competitors Apple and Microsoft are obviously involved in similar efforts and have a head start. Thus there's a defensive element here. However, Google also sees a significant opportunity to reach an audience that it currently cannot effectively reach. In some ways, it's analogous to Google trying to get into TV,EU he said.

EUCars are a new arena for consumer Internet access and competition. Google can potentially deliver services, apps and advertising to the consumer through the in-car Internet experience. If you step back, you see Google expanding across platforms: PC, mobile, wearables, TV (the living room) and now more extensively into the car,EU he added.

Apple Out First

According to the Journal, which cited EUpeople familiar with the matterEU as its sources, Google and Audi are also planning to disclose collaborative efforts with other automotive and tech companies, including chipmaker Nvidia, to position...

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