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Google to Reportedly Build Next Android Version Directly Into Cars



Google Inc is laying the groundwork for a version of Android that would be built directly into cars, sources said, allowing drivers to enjoy all the benefits of the Internet without even plugging in their smartphones.

The move is a major step up from Google's current Android Auto software, which comes with the latest version of its smartphone operating system and requires a phone to be plugged into a compatible car with a built-in screen to access streaming music, maps and other apps.

Google, however, has never provided details or a time frame for its long-term plan to put Android Auto directly into cars. The company now plans to do so when it rolls out the next version of its operating system, dubbed Android M, expected in a year or so, two people with knowledge of the matter said.

The sources declined to be identified because they were not authorized to discuss the plans publicly.
"It provides a much stronger foothold for Google to really be part of the vehicle rather than being an add-on," said Thilo Koslowski, vice president and Automotive Practice Leader of industry research firm Gartner, who noted that he was unaware of Google's latest plans in this area.

If successful, Android would become the standard system powering a car's entertainment and navigation features, solidifying Google's position in a new market where it is competing with arch-rival Apple Inc. Google could also potentially access the valuable trove of data collected by a vehicle.

Direct integration into cars ensures that drivers will use Google's services every time they turn on the ignition, without having to plug in the phone. It could allow Google to make more use of a car's camera, sensors, fuel gauge, and Internet connections that come with some newer car models.

Analysts said Google's plan could face various technical and business challenges, including convincing automakers to integrate its services so tightly into their vehicles.
Google declined to comment.

Technology companies are racing to design appliances, wristwatches and other gadgets that connect to the Internet. Automobiles are a particularly attractive prospect because Americans spend nearly 50 minutes per day on average on their commute, according to U.S. Census data.

Apple unveiled its CarPlay software in March and Google has signed on dozens of companies, including Hyundai, General Motors Co and Nissan Motor Co, for its Open Automotive Alliance and its Android Auto product.

Android Auto and CarPlay both currently "project" their smartphone apps onto the car's screen. Many of the first compatible cars with this smartphone plug-in functionality are expected to be on display at the upcoming Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas next month and to go on sale in 2015.

By building Android into a car, Google's services would not be at risk of switching off when a smartphone battery runs out of power, for example.

"With embedded it's always on, always there," said one of the sources, referring to the built-in version of Android Auto. "You don't have to depend on your phone being there and on."

Google's software could potentially connect to other car components, allowing, for example, a built-in navigation system like Google Maps to detect when fuel is low and provide directions to the nearest gas stations.

By tapping into the car's components, Google could also gain valuable information to feed its data-hungry advertising business model. "You can get access to GPS location, where you stop, where you travel everyday, your speed, your fuel level, where you stop for gas," one of the sources said.

But the source noted that Android would need major improvements in performance and stability for carmakers to adopt it. In particular, Android Auto would need to power-up instantly when the driver turns the car on, instead of having to wait more than 30 seconds, as happens with many smartphones.

Automakers might also be wary of giving Google access to in-car components that could raise safety and liability concerns, and be reluctant to give Google such a prime spot in their vehicles.

"Automakers want to keep their brand appeal and keep their differentiation," said Mark Boyadjis, an analyst with industry research firm IHS Automotive. "Automakers don't want to have a state of the industry where you get in any vehicle and it's just the same experience wherever you go."

Huawei Ascend GX1 - Full Device Specifications


Price (Naira) (₦)46,000

Highlights
  • - 1.2 GHz Snapdragon 410 MSM8916 Quad Core Processor
  • - 1GB RAM
  • - 6-Inch HD IPS Touch Display
  • - Dual SIM
  • - 8MP Rear Camera With LED Flash
  • - 2MP Front-Facing Camera
  • - 4G LTE
  • - 8GB Internal Storage
  • - NFC
  • - 3500 MAh Battery.
Huawei Ascend GX1 Specifications

Network
Technology / Frequency Bands GSM : 850/900/1800/1900 MHz LTE : 2300 MHz

Battery
Type Li - Po
Capacity 3500 mAh
Standby -
Talktime -

Built
Dimensions 161x84.5x9.2 mm
Weight 173 g
Form Factor bar
Colors White

Display
Size 1280x720 pixels
Type color : TFT
Colors 16000000 colors
Secondary Display no

Camera / Imaging / Video
Camera Yes 8.1 MP
Resolution 3264x2448 pixels
Zoom yes
Flash yes
Secondary Camera yes

Secondary Camera
Flash no

Connectivity
Bluetooth Yes
Irda No
Wlan/Wi-fi Yes
USB yes
GPS yes

Data
GPRS Yes
EDGE Yes
3G Yes
Internet Browsing Yes , Android Web Kit

Media
Audio Playback Yes
Video Playback Yes
Ringtones MP3, AAC, AAC+ 64-tone polyphonic, AMR, WMA
FM Radio Yes
3.5mm Headphone Jack yes

Memory
Inbuilt 8 GB
Memory Slot Yes microSD/TransFlash

Messaging
SMS Yes
MMS Yes
Email Yes

Software
Operating System Android 4.4

LG Fx0 Firefox OS 2.0 Smartphone With Transparent Body Launched

LG, Mozilla and KDDI have launched Japan's first Firefox OS smartphone, the Fx0, which will go on sale Thursday.

The LG Fx0 smartphone running Firefox OS 2.0 has been designed by Tokujin Yoshioka, a noted artist and designer. The front, side and back panels of the device are completely transparent and the home button of the smartphone is printed with a golden Firefox logo. The LG Fx0, though smaller in size, takes most of its design clues from LG G3.

While the Firefox OS smartphones that launched in India over the past few months fall in the entry-level segment, the LG Fx0, being a design statement, is a mid-range smartphone priced at JPY 50,000 (roughly Rs. 26,300). Offered exclusively by KDDI, the handset's limited sale will commence on December 25 followed by a wider release in Japan starting January 6 next year. There are no details for the handset's availability in other regions as of now.

The Firefox OS-based LG Fx0 features a 4.7-inch IPS display (unspecified resolution) and packs a quad-core 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 (MSM8926) processor with 1.5GB of RAM. The handset also includes 16GB of inbuilt storage, which is expandable via microSDXC card (up to 64GB). An 8-megapixel rear camera with LED flash and a 2.1-megapixel front facing camera are also housed inside the smartphone.

Backed by a 2370mAh battery, the LG Fx0 smartphone measures 139x70x10.5mm and weighs 148 grams. The device, besides featuring the usual connectivity options, also comes with 4G LTE and NFC support.

"We are very pleased to bring the first Firefox OS smartphone, based on Web technology standards, to the Japanese market today," stated Takashi Tanaka, President of KDDI on the Mozilla blog post. "KDDI hopes to build the new era of the Web through Web of Things, enabling everyone to create custom connected Web experiences."

The Mozilla blog post added, "This launch makes a total of 16 Firefox OS smartphones available in 29 countries, showing strong momentum for Firefox OS as 2014 comes to a close."

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