Honda has announced plans to put 7-inch Android-powered infotainment systems in a number of its 2015 cars. So far only announced for Europe, the new systems are known as Honda Connect, and will have access to a purpose-built app store.
Earlier this year Google teamed up with a number of car manufacturers, as well as chip-maker Nvidia, to form the Open Automotive Alliance, with the goal of making Android commonplace on dashboards. Honda’s announcement makes good on that promise, putting a 7-in panel in the central console of its 2015 Civic, Civic Tourer and CR-V models.
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The systems don’t run the latest KitKat flavor of Android, but instead make do with version 4.0.4 of the OS (yep, that's Ice Cream Sandwich, which was last updated two and half years ago). They’re powered by Nvidia’s Tegra 3 chip, and come pre-loaded with apps such as radio service Aha and (optionally) Garmin satellite navigation. There’s no Google Play Store access here (looks like your dreams of playing Candy Crush Saga on your Honda's dashboard will probably have to wait), but users can download additional apps from the Honda App Center.
According to Nvidia, interacting with the 7-in display presents a similar experience to what you would expect from an Android phone or tablet, and the home screen can be customized to suit the owner. Like other modern dashboards, users will be able to connect their smartphones to the system via Bluetooth, sharing its cellular connection and make hands-free calls. But here they can also mirror content onto the larger screen, provided they're using Android phones.
The systems will also have integrated features such as rear-view parking cameras with dynamic guidelines, as well as fuel economy, journey time and trip meter info. And, hey, if you aren't completely ready to part ways with 1990s-era dashboard systems, you can still pop one of your old Pearl Jam CDs into an (optional) CD player.