Review of Android Automotive? What is it?

Android Automotive was first released as part of Android 11, with a lot of updates included in Android 12.  In the simplest terms, it is an API to contain an infotainment system.  Is this really any different than what I currently do by either going to the website EasyBet Casino or using an app?  Or is it something else?

What is infotainment?  How is it different than entertainment?

Review of Android Automotive

In simple terms, it is broadcast material that is intended both to entertain and to inform.  It has information and entertainment.  Some people call it “soft news” as a way to distinguish it from serious journalism or “hard news”.  Buzzfeed is an example of infotainment.

The “news” has flashy graphics, fast-paced editing, music, sensationalism, and sometimes satire to catch the viewer or reader’s attention.  (So what, as we talking Saturday morning cartoons, but for adults?)

The more topic and timely the news is, the more serious and hard the news is.  Hard news is also breaking news with world leaders, major issues, or significant disruptions in daily lives.  Soft news is more personality centered, less time-bound, more practical, and more incident-based than other news.

Tips, advice, and hobby-based news fall into the category of infotainment.

Most infotainment television programs on networks and broadcast cable only contain general information on subjects they cover and may not be considered to have a high level of substantive value.  Some disapprove of infotainment media, especially TV and cable, because it “seem[s] to hurtle from one event to another, often dwelling on trivial, celebrity-driven content.”

Some believe this is due to news programs wanting to “entertain” instead of just reporting the news.  Or as some people believe, they are trying to create the news or sway public opinion instead of just presenting the fact and letting the viewers make up their own minds.

Jon Stewart made this observation, “The press can hold its magnifying glass up to our problems . . . illuminating issues heretofore unseen, or they can use that magnifying glass to light ants on fire and then perhaps host a week of shows on the sudden, unexpected, dangerous flaming ant epidemic.”   This statement referred to the news media’s ability to focus on the real problems of people and transform them into infotainment that is publicized to entertain, possibly exacerbating the issue at the same time.

In other words, instead of the news just telling us the news, they are trying to entertain us, and in order to entertain us, they create drama.  This can take a problem and exasperate it, sometimes causing people to panic.

I experienced this first hand with gasoline during Hurricane Sandy back in 2012.  In the areas hit by Hurricane Sandy, gasoline was in short supply.  So people panicked.  Lines for gas were very long.  Even if your car did not need gas, people were filling up their tanks due to fear of their not being gas.

NJ Governor Chris Christie declared a state of emergency, and he rationed gas.  Odd ending license plates could get gas on odd days and even license plate vehicles could get gas on even days.  The result was that people stopped panicking, and in a very short time, things got back to normal.  In NY, where they implemented gas rationing much later, it took a lot longer for them to get out of the panic cycle.

Bottom line is that infotainment is designed to invoke emotions because emotions entertain.  So instead of just reporting the news, “news makers” are going to even more try to sway the news, create the news, and influence public opinion.

Why this is being named “Android Automotive” I am not sure, unless this is just another name for an advertising system.

Technical stuff of Android Automotive

Review of Android Automotive

Android Automotive is built upon Android and it is included in any Android phone and tablet Android release.  But Android Automotive extends Android to create a full platform of infotainment.

Android Automotive now brings the power of Android to the car, where carmakers can create powerful infotainment systems designed for the digital age.  (How is this any different than just taking a standard tablet and putting it on in your car?  You would need 4G cellular data, but other than that, there what else is needed that is not already in a standard Android phone or tablet database?)

Android Auto is a platform running on the user’s phone, projecting the Android Auto user experience to a compatible in-vehicle infotainment system over a USB connection.  (Why do you need to use a USB connection and not a local WiFi connection?)

Android Auto supports apps designed for in-vehicle use. (Okay, I can understand the different UI needs.  Buttons need to be big.  The screen is big.  You can’t distract the driver.  You need to allow the kids to watch a video, while the driver needs to look at a map.  So a controlling app projects to multiple screens different applications?  I am just guessing here.)

Android Automotive is an operating system and platform running directly on the in-vehicle hardware.  (Besides building the tablet into the car, how exactly does the Android app interface with the car?)

What kind of apps can developers build for cars?

Review of Android Automotive

Building media apps

Music, radio, and audiobook players.  No different than standard Android apps in this area.  “Project into their vehicle from their phone.”  So, I want to use my auto’s speaker system to play my favorite music list, but I was able to do this back in 2009 by simply connecting my phone to my car’s audio input socket.

Building messaging apps

Reads your messages out loud and allows you to respond by talking.  Either your voice can be recorded or else it can use text to speech.  Again, this technology already exists using current phones, so what is different?  “Standard User Interface”, but then that is just Standards and it has nothing to do with auto specifically.

Building points of interest and navigation maps

I am at home.  I search on Google maps where I want to go.  I want to be able to “send to my phone” and then “send to the big screen on my car.”  Yes, I want to be able to save my favorite places easily.  Advertisers also want to be able to display their ads.  You want to find a gas station, and advertisers for a local dinner then advertise “Hey, we are a block away from the gas station, and we have great food and clean bathrooms.”  You’re sold and now plan to get gas and then take a lunch break.

This makes sense.

Build video apps

Allowing users to watch videos on their car video screen “while the car is parked” (Android had to add that, so they will not get sued. 🤣 ).  But more realistically, the parent wants to control the movie app from the front seat to display on the screen for the kids in the back seat.

Summary

Not sure why these things are called Automotive Android, because it does not really look as if any of these features are specific to just the automotive industry.  But there is nothing really negative about them either.

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