Saturday, July 13, 2024

Google celebrates 10 years of Android expanding to auto, TV and more

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Ten years ago, Android got a lot bigger. Not just because it crossed over a billion active users, but because in 2014, we extended Android (then primarily available on phones and tablets) to three new platforms: Android Auto for your car, Android TV for your smart TV and Android Wear for your smartwatch. The new platforms introduced Android to hundreds of millions of new devices and brought Google services to more places.

“Our mission since the launch of the first Android device in 2008 has been to work with the industry and build for everyone, everywhere — to provide people with choice,” says Android Ecosystem President Sameer Samat. “And in 2014, we decided to take that to the next level.”

Cars, smartwatches and TVs may sound like three extremely different categories of devices, with such vastly different hardware and form factors that it’s hard to imagine they’d share any software DNA, let alone the same base operating system. But Android’s open platform, developer-friendly design and flexibility made it a great fit for new places.

Android hits the road

In 2010, Google Maps added turn-by-turn navigation, and practically overnight, driving became wildly more efficient.

“Smartphones were not designed to be used in a vehicle by a driver. So we looked at this as an opportunity to create a safer and more seamless connected experience,” says Patrick Brady, Android Auto VP. “We realized we could leverage the computers in everyone’s pockets that had an ecosystem of millions of apps used by over a billion people. So we adapted Android — and its apps — to work in cars.”

Android Auto’s approach was simple: Connect your phone to your car display and you’ll see your Android apps on screen, ready to give you directions, make a hands-free call or play music from your favorite playlists.

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