Saab showed off an Android OEM radio that is expected to be in the Saab 9-3 in 18 months. And it’s asking Android developers to contribute apps to the radio/car electronics system.
The concept radio/electronics has a smartphone style 8-inch touch screen that lets you swipe through menus and download apps directly from the car. The screen will be standard equipment but some of the radio/car electronics services will be options, said a Saab spokesman at the Geneva Auto Show.
Officially, the radio/car electronics unit is called IQon. A beta version is already being trialed in a fleet of test cars, announced Saab.
It’s worth watching the 1 minute official Saab clip below to picture the speed and depth of the unit.
The company may offer embedded 3G or 4G service and bill the customer in a one-time wireless charge when he buys the car, but it is still exploring wireless options.
Saab is negotiating to include popular apps like Facebook, YouTube, and Pandora. While it will allow apps to be downloaded to the car, it may also have a safety lock-out protocol. About 15 to 20 apps should be available when the next generation Saab 9-3 launches in 2012.
Saab is giving Android developers a lot of freedom. It’s API will afford access to more than 500 signals from sensors in the car. These measure vehicle speed, location and direction of travel, driver workload, yaw rate, steering wheel angle, engine speed and torque, inside and outside temperature, barometric pressure, the sun´s position, etc.
“We will be inviting the global Android developer community to use their imagination and ingenuity,” said Johan Formgren, head of IQon.
The system provides touch screen controls over many car functions in addition to the radio. It will also use voice control and Bluetooth music streaming.
IQon was shown in a PhoeniX concept car in Geneva.