MOUNTAIN VIEW, CALIF. — Android already runs on phones, tablets, and TVs.
Soon, it will be in your car too.
Google gave demos of two new Android-equipped automobiles at its I/O developer conference on Wednesday.
This is different than Android Auto, the software that allows you to plug your phone into a car and basically control your phone through the car’s built-in display.
In this case, Google has actually integrated Android directly into the car, so that you can do everything from accessing car-friendly apps like Spotify and Google Maps to controlling car settings like air conditioning.
It’s also an extension of Google Assistant, the voice-powered digital helper that’s Google’s answer to Apple Siri. With Assistant in your car, you can use your voice to do things like adjust your seat, pick music tracks, or make a phone call.
In some cases, this feels like overkill — Is it really easier to tell your car to lower the air conditioning than to just turn a knob? But for things like navigation, phone calls, and the like, having a virtual assistant as your copilot could be helpful.
We sat inside a new Volvo V90 running Android on its infotainment system. Here’s a quick look at how it all works:
This is the Volvo V90. It’ll be one of the first cars to come with Android. The car has built-in LTE wireless connectivity to power the Android system.
This is the infotainment system’s main screen running Android. It’s been modified to match Volvo’s design. Here, you see a list of contacts you can call on the touchscreen.
You can also run third-party apps like Spotify, Pandora, and podcast apps.