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Accord will be Honda's first car to offer Google built-in

Accord will be Honda's first car to offer Google built-in

Honda's next Accord will be the automaker's first vehicle to support Google's built-in integration, which will enable native Android apps and over the air (OTA) software updates (via Automotive News). It will be included as a standard feature in the top Touring trim of the 2023 Accord, coming early next year.

If you're wondering whether Google built-in is new, or just another name for the company's vehicle OS, Android Automotive, you're not alone. We emailed the company to clarify for us and received this response from Sophia Abdirizk, Google's senior associate for communications and public affairs:

Google built-in isn't new. This is the branding we use for cars that support Google Automotive Services (GAS). This refers to when a car has Google apps and services like Google Assistant, Google Maps, and the Google Play Store integrated directly into the vehicle, so you don't need your phone to access them. It is separate from the Android Automotive OS, and manufacturers have the option of implementing AAOS without joining GAS. Some choose to use both.

And it shouldn't be confused with Google's phone-to-car integration system called Android Auto (like Apple's CarPlay), which is supported by many cars that don't have Google software integration, including several Honda models. The automaker actually signed up to use Android Automotive last year, saying it would start rolling it out to cars in 2022.

Honda hasn't disclosed whether its other vehicles will be built at Google yet. The automaker previously used custom (and now outdated) embedded Android software in some of its cars, but didn't take advantage of most of Google's services. With Google Now built-in, the Accord will have Google Maps navigation, the Google Assistant can be used to control heating and cooling, and music is just a tap away from the Google Play app.

The new Accord Touring will have two screens: a 10.2-inch digital instrument cluster and a 12.3-inch center screen. It's the biggest infotainment screen Honda has ever made, and is even bigger than Volvo's 9-inch screen in the XC40 - a car that runs on Android Automotive. The Touring will also get 15W wireless charging for phones, a 12-speaker Bose audio system with CarPlay and Android Auto, and a 6-inch head-up display.

Talking to Automotive News, for the OTA update features of Honda's new vehicles, it will add "the function two, three, or eight years after it is sold". "[It] could really change the ownership experience and the dynamics of the used vehicle market," Youssef said.

It's a new concept for Honda and many other automakers - to improve the owner's experiences after purchasing a vehicle and add functionality through software updates. Tesla leads the way in this space by adding dozens of features throughout the life of its vehicles: from letting its cameras capture security footage to building video game libraries.

With the Honda Accord among the 25 best-selling vehicles this year, Google has an opportunity to expand its in-vehicle software and services offerings to more drivers. With GM, Volvo, Polestar, and soon Ford and BMW signing on, Google is gearing up to dominate the connected vehicle space before Apple secures support for its upcoming system.

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