Android Automotive OS gives the new version of the Android operating system its full name, but we call it Android Car.
This Android branch is targeted explicitly for inside vehicles for use by the driver or passengers—an infotainment operating system designed for being on the move. Based on the well-known Android code, Android Car can be considered a branch.
Android Car Apps
With Version 1.2.0 of the Android for Cars App Library, Google has officially launched the code for developers to build and test apps designed to run on Android Car. Should these apps pass Google’s stringent checks, they are mature enough for the Play Store. You can download Android Car apps to your in-car Android from the Play Store, just as you can with your phone or Android headunit.
Why an Android Car?
Google takes driver distraction very seriously and wants the new breed of apps to make driving with Android safer. The Android Automotive OS is Google’s way of ensuring high-quality, driver-safety-oriented apps.
Vehicle manufacturers know that in-car technology sells more cars, and Google has stepped up and given them a universal platform to develop other in-car infotainment technology. At the same time, they are expanding the Google Android landscape beyond televisions, phones, and wearables.
The future is more Android in vehicles, whether called Android Car, Android Automotive OS (AAOS), or something else. Numbers, fruits, and cakes may change names, but we know that Android will feature prominently in more cars as time passes.
The Android Car, Android Auto, and Android Headunits waters will get even muddier, but with the restrictions placed on app developers of Android Car apps, there will still be a space for an Android headunit for at least a little while.