Harman Debuts Android-Powered Infotainment System

Android is making its way to autos. Harman has debuted its new scalable infotainment system using the Android for Automotive operating system. The system, which is being offered to OEMs, is meant to bring what Harman is calling “car-centric apps” to future vehicles, allowing consumers to get an experience similar to what they would find on their smartphones on their car’s infotainment system.

Harman says its system will offer a curated app store that allows drivers to download new apps ranging from Internet radio to social media streams, as well as other apps that have been adapted for in-car use. Harman says users will be able to add, remove and update apps to ensure they are never out of date.

Harman’s system is being developed to provide users with access to media, phone, navigation and apps via onscreen buttons that increase in size when your finger approaches the display to ensure that your touches are accurate. Tabs will also be customizable, letting users set specific functions to each button. Harman uses the example of the navigation button, which can be set to open either the system’s onboard navigation service or Google Maps.

Of course, you’ll also be able to connect your smartphone or other media device via either wireless or wired connections, allowing you to access both onboard media and apps.

Safety features available with the system include alerts when you get too close to another car or change lanes without using a signal. Additional options include a rear-view camera and, at a future date, the ability to provide drivers with 360-degree views around their vehicle.

To ensure the system’s safety, Harman is sandboxing the Android side of the things and running the car services and core applications using QNX’s operating system.

Harman hasn’t made any announcements regarding potential vehicle partners for its new infotainment system, but whatever automaker gets on board should see its geek-cred improve exponentially.

Daniel P. Howley
LAPTOP Senior Writer
A newspaper man at heart, Dan Howley wrote for Greater Media Newspapers before joining Laptopmag.com. He also served as a news editor with ALM Media’s Law Technology News, and he holds a B.A. in English from The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey.