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Google wants your car to run Android, too

The company aims to convince carmakers to use Android to power in-car navigation and entertainment systems.

Until now Google has supported connecting car infotainment systems to Android phones. Now it wants the car systems themselves to run Android.

Google plans to announce later Wednesday an effort to encourage automakers to use Android rather than homegrown operating systems to power in-car infotainment systems.

Until now, Google has been officially touting a more limited role for Android, with Android Auto acting as a secondary interface on some car systems when a user connects their Android phone. Over 100 cars models have support for that, with 100 more coming this year.

It's similar to the approach taken by Apple with CarPlay, which also runs only when a compatible iPhone is connected to the car.

The new effort, by contrast, seeks to have the in-car entertainment and navigation system itself running Android — no phone needed.

While Google has not until now advocated for such designs, some carmakers were already using the open source version of Android for their systems, most notably Honda.

Among the partners on the effort is Qualcomm, which is pushing its chips to power such systems.

Google is expected to detail its ambitions in a session this evening at Google I/O. The company is also showing off a concept car based on the Maserati Ghibli that runs Android N natively as an operating system for its in-vehicle infotainment system.

Separately, Google also plans to let phones run the Android Auto experience directly from their phones as well. That means people who bring an Android phone into the car won't have to have a compatible car to get the more hands-free car interface.

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