Google Inc's Android software is coming to cars, televisions
and watches this year, as the Internet search giant races
against Apple Inc and other tech companies to extend its
business into a rapidly broadening field of
Google's free Android software runs on more than three out of
every four smartphones sold globally: a valuable entry point
for consumers to access its money-making online services such
as Web search and maps.
At its annual developers' conference on Wednesday (local
time), the company said the first cars running Android Auto
software for navigation, music and messaging will hit
showrooms later this year.
More than 40 auto companies had signed on to its software
development alliance, but Google did not say which ones will
actually build Android into their cars in 2014.
Samsung and LG smartwatches running Android Wear, the version
of Android tailored for wearable devices, go on sale later
And executives demonstrated how Android TV, reviving Google's
foray into streaming video, aims to give viewers an easy
interface through which to search for and display content. TV
version of Android comes four years after Google's first
effort to enter the living room, via Google TV, failed to
catch on with consumers.
"It's a land grab," said Sameet Sinha, an analyst with
investment bank B. Riley & Co. "The person who gets a
platform which controls the devices could be the dominant
operating system, not of just devices, it could be the
operating system of your home."
"New platforms offer new opportunities for hardware sales,
advertising sales, e-commerce sales, all of these," Sinha
PEP TALK FOR DEVELOPERS
Google also unveiled a service, called "Google Fit," which
collates and tracks a user's health and personal fitness
information similar to recently introduced services from
Apple and Samsung. The tracking and analysis of health
information is expected to become a big driver behind the
adoption of smartwatches and other sensor-laden devices this
Google's annual conference is designed to introduce new
Android features to its army of developers, who are crucial
in creating apps that keep the software popular as it
competes with Apple's iOS.
Apple and Google are now going head-to-head in emerging
countries like India and China, where there remains room to
grow in terms of smartphone adoption, especially as compared
with saturated markets like the United States and Europe.
On Wednesday, Google said it is working with three
manufacturers to develop a sub-$100 smartphone for the Indian
market this fall.
Developed under the "Android One" initiative aimed at getting
phones into the hands of as many people around the globe as
possible, the phones will sport 4.5-inch screens and dual SIM
cards, Google senior vice president Sundar Pichai told the