What Happened: Google announced the formation of the Open Automotive Alliance, making a push for Android dominance in vehicles. The OAA is a coalition of car companies now committed to bringing the Android platform to cars this year. Members of the alliance include GM, Honda, Audi, Hyundai and NVIDIA.
Sadly for Google, Apple organized a similar working group last June with an identical goal—only for iPhones and other Apple products. It also boasts some impressive members including Mercedes, Ferrari, Kia, Infiniti, Volvo, Jaguar, Acura and Nissan. A few carmakers—Chevy (part of GM), Honda and Hyundai—appear to have feet in both camps. Cars with full Siri integration have begun to appear, the product of an earlier alliance with automakers.
The announcement—all about creating the totally connected car—was made at the Consumer Electronics Show where participants are also hearing about other digitally connected products, such as major appliances. The OAA says it plans to add more carmakers and tech companies down the line as it seeks to produce more Android features that will allow app developers to add car modes.
What This Means for Brands: Since mobile is the future, according to, well, everyone, what happens on this front is something all brands need to keep under watchful eye. For one thing, the innovation that comes out of such collaborations, although aimed at cars, may in fact have applications in other spheres. And secondly, within the next five years, it seems increasingly likely that most products will have some capacity for digital connection and interaction with consumers, making these first products wonderful case studies for marketers trying to figure out the branding and messaging for this next step in technology.
Contributing to TRENDING items are Jenna Carter, Sarah Gordon, MaryFrances Hicks and Abby Ray.