back to article Google and Apple in DRAG RACE: It's fanboi Mercs VS fandroid Audis

Apple and Google are preparing to compete on yet another front. They reportedly plan to race each other to design the world's most powerful smart car dashboard. At the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show next week, Google isexpected to announce a new tie-up with Audi, which will see Mountain View help to design an in car computer …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    There's nothing wrong with the dashboard now. We don't need cars with message updates, email and SMS notifications.

    The dashboard should contain only the essentials, speed, fuel, temp.

    Anything else should be read out to the driver with text to speech.

    1. VinceH

      "There's nothing wrong with the dashboard now. We don't need cars with message updates, email and SMS notifications"

      Or yet another means for Google/Apple to track our every move.

    2. big_D Silver badge

      And you don't replace your car every 24 months, it generally stays on the road for at least a decade... Given how slow and not-supported an iPhone 3GS is, compared to the current, supported generation, I wouldn't want a "smart" dashboard.

      The dashboard should, as the OP said, have the basics. By all means have the ICE act as a front end to your fondleslab, but leave the dashboard out of it!

      1. JeffyPoooh

        The other issues...

        Yet *another* monthly bill for the mobile connection to the car? It's a constant struggle to keep the recurring monthly bills to a minimum.

        (Hopefully the car might access your smartphones wifi hotspot and thus consume all your monthly data allowance. I still think that the car's entertainment system (stereo) should use the nearby house wifi at night to download podcasts and exchange service data. A few GB of BBC or similar educational podcasts would be far superior use of commuting time.)

        Mobile data connections are often only designed to work at ground speeds of up to 160 kmh. Might be good enough for most cars, but the big Mercs might run into problems.

      2. Graham 25

        iPhone 3GS is still supported .....

        in the Audi MMI. Along with the 4 as well. Cradles still available for both, but not for the 5 because its bit longer than the space in the armrest.

        I have two Audis - one owned in the UK, one leased oversees and they already work fine with Apple.

        Why on earth would I want to spoil a car by adding more toys and gimmicks to it ? As you have said, its unnecessary.

      3. jof62

        So that means a google car is going to be even worse, in fact it might be curved and made of plastic

      4. Seanie Ryan

        Apple win

        as alluded to over on AppleInsider, Google seem to want to put Android in the car, i.e.: the car has it own OS, where Apple want it car to pair with your phone and use that as the 'brains'.

        Seeing as cars have a much longer life span than a phone, Apple route seems to be the best, as you can upgrade your phone as much as you want and the BT/Wifi/Dock link will still work and use the newer and faster 'brain'. And all your content goes with you to your new car, in case your car is stolen or you total it.

        With Google/Audi, your car hardware will be very obsolete within a short time.

        The Google/Audi approach also lends itself more to the scenario of having another monthly bill for your car.

        I, for one, would definitely walk out of the garage if the salesman told me this new car has Android on board.

        Then again, I am one of those people who would never buy a new car again. Once bitten etc. (unless I win the Euromilions!! )

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Apple win@Seanie Ryan

          Apple update... FREE

          Android update... FREE (subject to getting one in the first place)

          Audi Android update... ONLY AN ADDITIONAL £150 on top of the service charge

      5. JEDIDIAH

        Meh. Meh I say.

        The nature of these corporate behemoths means that they are always behind the curve. Your cheap truck with an aftermarket head unit will likely run circles around this stuff and cost a lot less. It really doesn't pay to embed this kind of rapidly moving tech in a car with a much longer useful lifespan.

    3. John Latham

      "There's nothing wrong with the dashboard now"

      I have a 2008 Citroen C5. It has the most confusing, distracting and down right obstructive button-based UI imaginable.

      Any attempt to locate and use the horn or hazard light buttons whilst driving are most likely to cause an accident. I suspect infiltration by Nokia engineers.

      Fortunately the car mostly lives in the garage having expensive work done on leaky struts, pollution control systems, the dual mass flywheel, air con, remote tyre pressure sensors...

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Android in the Dash?

      Crickey, I wonder how long I will have to wait for an update?

      Will I need to buy a new car?

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      There is already enough to distract you without adding another layer of distractive technology.

      Unless of course this is the precursor to driverless cars?

      Imagine a Google powered car driving you home via its advertisers, though of course it would only take you to places that may interest you.

    6. Mike Bell

      Don't panic

      "There's nothing wrong with the dashboard now. We don't need cars with message updates, email and SMS notifications.

      The dashboard should contain only the essentials, speed, fuel, temp.

      Anything else should be read out to the driver with text to speech."

      The idea is that the dashboard will provide visual information such as mapping like you find already in plenty of inbuilt vehicle satnav systems. As for matters like messages, the idea is that if you want that kind of thing you can have it read out to you. Nobody is going to be so stupid as to design something that's dangerous to use, and the legislators would not allow that to happen in any case.

      I imagine that one of its virtues is that the dash will inherently be connected to the vehicle's audio system, so you'll get good quality announcements, and nice easy access to your (or your kids) portable music library.

      It's early days yet, though. There's a heads-up of Apple's plans here.

      1. JEDIDIAH

        Re: Don't panic

        > The idea is that the dashboard will provide visual information such as mapping like you find already in plenty of inbuilt vehicle satnav systems.

        Ha Ha!

        I recently had the displeasure of using the built in SatNav system in an upscale BMW. It was the single worst nav system I have ever used in my life. It had data that was 8 years out of date. Sure the HUD was flashy but the data behind it was pure crap. And that was a NEW car.

  2. alain williams Silver badge

    Tie in ?

    As long as I don't need a particular sort of phone depending on what sort of car I have. That would be a nightmare!

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: Tie in ?

      At least neither of them will be running Windows!

      1. Toltec

        Re: Tie in ?

        "At least neither of them will be running Windows!"

        Probably just as well.

        The windows in our work Mercedes van already open themselves without being told to, though very slowly, and refuse to close fully unless you run a full reset procedure.

        1. JeffyPoooh

          Re: Tie in ?

          "...Mercedes van..."

          You should get that fixed. Mercedes vehicles are quite nice, but they don't usually fix themselves.

    2. MrMur

      Re: Tie in ?

      I was just thinking the same. Or even if it's a case of I lose functionality because I don't have the "right" phone. I can't stand paying for something that I can't use. Hopefully it will be a dealer option, especially on the Merc.

  3. jai

    typical analyst

    The car is becoming the ultimate mobile device

    No, i think you'll find something like a phone is still the ultimate mobile device. I can use it both in a car, and a boat and a train and an underground tube and in a house and in the middle of a field and when i'm walking or even have it wake me up when i'm sleeping.

    Whereas a car, i can only use when i'm in the car. It's very restrictive in it's use cases.

    1. AndrueC Silver badge

      Re: typical analyst

      It's very restrictive in its use cases.

      Very true. I'm in Birmingham at the moment and my phone is easily accessible. My car on the other hand is at Banbury train station so not much use right now.

      I suppose the Twitter brigade will enjoy automatic updates as they pass every landmark. Facebook users can allow people to '+1' their destination or choice of journey(*). If you're going to throw away your privacy you might as well automate it. Anyway I agree with the first poster. A dashboard should tell me the basics with a small number of lights for warnings. Anything else can bugger off.

      (*)Or manoeuvre. If you liked the way I negotiated that roundabout '+1' me :-/

    2. Kristian Walsh

      Re: typical analyst

      Actually, I think you'll find that a car is already a "mobile" device. Always has been.

      The (British) English use of "mobile" when talking about portable phones is a hangover from when those phones were fitted to cars, and thus were made "mobile". Every earlier use of the term "mobile" refers to something on wheels.

  4. poopypants

    Who the hell cares?

    I already have a mobile phone. I don't need another one with wheels.

  5. conel


    "Audi and Ford are expected to demonstrate self-driving cars at the Consumer Electronics Show"

    I'd have said this was a lot more interesting and significant than twitter feeds on a dash.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      The difference between the two will be that Apple derived cars will only drive you where the company thinks you should go, while Android derived cars will give you a massive choice of destinations but will have a TouchWiz control that replaces the steering wheel with something unusable like a joystick.

      And the Android car won't be allowed to go around corners without getting sued by the Apple car.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: SELF-DRIVING CARS!!!

        Apple cars will direct you to where Apple Maps thinks the destination is.

        Audi Android maps simplify the routing by assuming you have an Audi Quattro and just draws a straight line to the destination

  6. Ben Bonsall

    - "Can you still hear me? There was some interference then"

    - "Yeah, my car just crashed"

    - "Heh, do a indicate right-horn-handbrake and open task manager"

    - "No, I mean I hit the car in front while I was trying to +1 the M25..."

    1. g e

      +1 for right-horn-handbrake :oD

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Siri powered....

    I'm sure that will work great in America then........ not so good else where though.

  8. Agincourt and Crecy!

    Self driving Audi?

    Just how close will that be able to get to your back bumper. Will auto flash be enabled for the headlights?

    1. g e

      Re: Self driving Audi?

      Indicators will still be an option, too

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Self driving Audi?

      Hopefully the new connectivity would allow us to remind the typical brain-dead Audi driver to TURN OFF YOUR BLEEDING REAR FOG LAMP(S) YOU UTTER MORON.

      Stupidest species on the planet: Audi drivers.

      1. MrXavia

        Re: Stupidest species on the planet: Audi drivers.

        I thought it was BMW drivers that had that title?

        Usually its BMW drivers that nearly kill me on the motorways...

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

        2. cambsukguy

          Re: Stupidest species on the planet: Audi drivers.

          you should try riding a bike on the same road as one then, talk about your life in their hands.

      2. jof62

        Re: Self driving Audi?

        I think the Audi keeps wanting to go back home for some sensible motoring, you know on the autobahn foot down overtake back in lane etc etc. Here most people get set up to overtake but they seem to forget to overtake and just stay there bumbling along oblivious to what is going on around them.

        Anyway you don't have to own an Audi to be a Jerk when driving

  9. Jellied Eel Silver badge
    Big Brother

    Dear $deity, no.

    Please give me dumb switchgear and not 'smart dashboards'. I want RealButtons and RealSwitches that are tactile, provide positive feedback and don't jump around depending on display mode. And also mean I spend less time taking my eyes off the road to try and figure out what the GUI is doing. Which is probably telling me I'm about to crash and would I like to choose from one of this list of personal injury lawyers?

  10. Only me!

    Upgrade anyone?

    So if they get one of these things working......who the heck is going to risk an upgrade?

    Of course they could force an "auto" upgrade (sorry about the pun), but then people would not get in the car again until they are sure the thing works. Could this be the answer to traffic reduction?

  11. JeffyPoooh

    "...Mercedes-Benz and Daimler..."

    Oh, so Mercedes-Benz *and* Daimler?

    A set that includes a set already included in the other set. Hmmm, I'm stumped. Where the heck are Gödel and Betrand Russell when we need them?

    1. messele

      Re: "...Mercedes-Benz and Daimler..."

      Daimler-Benz and Daimler are two different companies.

      Obviously that not what he meant but Daimler are actually British.

  12. Darren B 1

    Nokia Terminal Mode

    Wasn't this Nokia's big idea back in 2010?

    Where your phone became the in car sat nav, radio, mp3 player, phone all displayed on the in car system when connected via Bluetooth. I thought the idea was that it would connect to any "smartphone" not just Nokia.

    1. Maharg

      Re: Nokia Terminal Mode

      Don’t be silly, Apple invented this, just like they invented the Mobile phone, smart watch, PC, tablet device, internet browser, and curved edges.

      Sent from my iPhone

    2. Kristian Walsh

      Re: Nokia Terminal Mode

      "I thought the idea was that it would connect to any "smartphone" not just Nokia."

      It was, and it does. It's now called "MirrorLink", it works on WindowsPhone, Android, Symbian and even iOS (but only at an app level; the OS doesn't support it).

  13. MrXavia

    Surely the obvious thing is a Standard here?

    My car CAN have an iDevice linked to it, but it can also take a USB stick, and has a nice very standard Bluetooth integration, so my android device works fine with my car....

    Sure there are a few extras I would like, such as being able to pre-plan a route on my pc/phone and send to the car, but I would want that to be a standard of some kind not google or apple or MS only...

    Proprietary links only in a car costing £40k+ would limit your market...

  14. messele

    That would be a big leg-up for Audi.

    In my limited experience of driving one of these dreadful bone-rattlers you can't even navigate by a full UK postcode.

    No wonder they are all driven by angry bellends.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Dear car makers.

    Bluetooth profiles pretty much cover all you want to do. Android devices make in the last 4 years all support the bast majority of these profiles. You just need to convince Apple that they should adopt industry standards..

    1. Gene Cash Silver badge

      Re: Dear car makers.

      Nope, for the longest time, Android didn't even support the Bluetooth keyboard profile, which is pretty damn basic.

  16. Wisteela

    Please, not Apple

    If Apple do this, you will be locked into your car, rather than locked out of it.

  17. Steven Raith

    FAO car makers and mobile OS makers

    Can't you just make a custom, but standardised set of extension to ODBII and expose that over an optional USB Bluetooth device, and let the apps interact over a standardised set of APIs across all platforms?

    You know, like how ODBII works. Standard stuff for revs, tempts etc, extensions for ABS, lights and so on.

    Just have another extension for in car comms that anyone can talk to and then let someone choose if they want to use it.

    I probably won't though - despite being constantly online etc I've got no time for SMS/email/calls etc when I'm driving. I'd rather concentrate on making sure I don't spear my ton of metal, glass and flammable liquids into someone/something else, thanks...

    Steven R

  18. jbelkin

    Guess when MB & BMW link up with Apple, Audi was forced to go with Android but Android is based on copying IOS when they had a chance to peer in the labs of Apple but since their access was cut off, they ave fallen further and further behind - it's like Ford going with WINDOWS and watching their buyer ratings plummenting. Google cannot design an interface - look at their interface design for anything - it's an unholy mess of random icons and text. Audi's satisfaction ratings will plummet.

    1. M Gale

      look at their interface design for anything - it's an unholy mess of random icons and text.

      A logo, a text box, a "search" button and an "I'm feeling lucky" button. I don't know how it could get much more simple?

      Unless you mean the phone OS, that has.. you know.. the same grid-of-icons display that mobile phones have had since the first mobile phone with a more capable display than "two lines of text and some indicators"? The one with the phone dialler right there on the front page?

      I can see how you might get confused. If you're the sort of person who gets confused when the computer asks you to hit the "any" key.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        I never have found the 'Any Key'... which one is it again?

    2. messele

      Be interesting to see how much further Audi can plummet until they officially reach 'junk status'.

      Right around Citroen. Nice work boys!

  19. Observer1959

    That's all we need fanboys jailbreaking self driving cars to ram the competition.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Infiniti Q50

    Already has Android built in. It will also pair with iPhone and Android phones to run apps from them as well.

  21. psychonaut

    for fucks sake

    Please in the name of fuck just use blue tooth. How fucking difficult is it? Just farm all the audio from the phone via blue tooth to the fucking stereo in the car. Or just use a cable. Not a fucking iPhone cable. Just a normal 3.5mm jack so that anything can connect to it. Why can I not connect my note 2 to my BMW via blue tooth? They both have blue tooth. It doesn't work. It's not supported. And to add insult to injury the bloke who owned it before had it fitted with an iPhone dock. Tosser.

    1. messele

      Re: for fucks sake

      Yeah but it is a BMW to be fair, had to be owned by a wanker, right?

  22. John 104

    "The car is becoming the ultimate mobile device,"

    Um. I thought it already WAS the ultimate mobile device. Seriously, who pays these people to say such idiotic things?

  23. All names Taken

    You haf to take, how you say, the long view on this one to see the big picture.

    Humans will not need to drive cars and make messes of things - you will have softwares to do this for you.

    The upside is you will at the same time dispense with any need for insurance companies - seemplz yes?

  24. roger stillick

    Glass Dashboards a/la Aircraft glass dashboards replacing standard instruments...

    The USDOT has given the auto industry 2014 to come up with a dashboard layout that doesn't distract the driver similar to cellphone use and texting while driving... 2013 new cars came with center console touch screens that required driver attention while the car is being driven...using a cell phone while driving is illegal in the USA...

    IMHO=the 2010 Prius 2 is an example of doing a glass dashboard right, and the center console has aircraft lighted switches for functions... the next year you got a touch screen to shift gears n park= really stupidly unsafe to use while driving...

    I really wish these folks well as the touch screen is not wanted by actual drivers and the USDOT...RS.

  25. cs94njw

    I like Honda cars. I'd happily buy another one.

    But as an Android fan, I'm not sure I'm happy buying a car that's geared specifically towards an iProducts.

    My car radio is iPhone enabled (not Android), and it already annoys me I'm missing out on clever functionality because of a specific integration :(

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