The automobile company, known for its focus on safety, announced today that the next generation of its Android powered Sensus infotainment system will include Google Assistant, Google Maps, and the Google Play Store. When you plug the JBL Link Bar into your TV, for example, you can then say "Hey Google" and ask it to play whatever TV show, movie or YouTube content you want to watch or listen to.
The Google Assistant provides a central voice interface for the auto that allows drivers to control in-car functions such as air conditioning, and use apps to play music and send messages.
If we were a betting website (which we're not) we'd bet that the JBL Link Bar is likely to take center stage - alongside a number of other new audio devices - at the May 8 event. While we're not holding our breath for an optimized version of Android for tablets or a new Oreo tablet, we wouldn't mind seeing a Chromebook tablet from Google. Once they go over 100 devices or plan to roll out a commercial product, they'll have to sign an agreement with Google.
For Android users, at least, the Google-Volvo partnership should make life easier.
Microsoft's platform is also available on devices with much smaller footprints. If you try to do that now, Assistant doesn't know how to handle it and just sends you to a Google search. All four come with a guarantee of three years' worth of software support, with reference designs utilizing them and development hardware meant to help companies start production being set to become available to interested parties "in the coming months". Google is going to announce its in-house Android TV dongle which will also support a remote for one-handed navigation experience. "The Android platform, Google services and Google's working relationship with app developers in-house and worldwide will help us further improve the Volvo auto experience".
The Link Bar is like someone mashed together a high-end soundbar, a Google Home, and an Android TV media streamer. It's a Google Home. But other developers will have the option of leveraging the same OS to create their own products.And if you're looking to create a new Android Things product, Google is offering a limited program to partner with the broader Android Things team for technical guidance and support. Google announced on Monday the big update, confirming the official release for consumer devices. On the horizon are smart speakers from LG and iHome, as well as smart displays from Lenovo, LG, and JBL.