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In the days before Google launched the Android operating system in 2008, engineers had to rewrite the code for Google Maps dozens of times for different smartphones from makers such as Nokia, Motorola and BlackBerry.

 

It was a hassle, but Android changed all that.

Andy Brenner, product manager for Android Auto, now sees the Silicon Valley giant’s smartphone interface having the same effect on cars. By helping customers use hot new apps in their cars without forcing developers to rewrite their code, he said, automakers can deliver a seamless experience that helps them sell cars.

“We think that just like the phone industry in 2008, adoption of an open software interface in the auto industry is going to create a virtuous cycle,” Brenner said.

Google started work on Android Auto in 2013, around the time that archrival Apple Inc. announced the project that would become CarPlay. Android Auto, which taps into a smartphone’s cellular connection and roughly mirrors its display on the navigation screen of a car, was first available last summer on the Hyundai Sonata sedan.



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