Experienced Android app developers know: “mobile” is no longer restricted to smartphones or tablets. The Apple Watch brought with it a wave of wearable devices that will require their own versions of apps, while the rise of the internet of things means your household devices will likely be the next environment to need apps.
But there’s another area in which app development needs are growing quickly: the increasing internet-connectivity of cars.
1. The Rise of Internet-Enabled Cars
Automakers introduced their first versions of so-called connected cars in 2010, and the concept is beginning to enter the mainstream. One author defines this connectivity as the presence of devices in an automobile that connect the devices to other devices within the car/vehicles and or devices, networks and services outside the car including other cars, home, office or infrastructure.
The functionality of these devices includes music and audio players, GPS navigational systems, 4G/WiFi hotspots, and/or smartphone apps. Most connected cars include more than one of those functionalities, and many offer all options.
And, if you’re paying attention to the automobile market, connected cars are on the rise. As consumers increasingly expect convenience and internet access in all of their daily interactions and environments, car makers like Audi, GM, Honda and Hyundai now offer connected cars in their repertoire.
At this point in time, fully connected cars offering all of the functionalities we mentioned above are still curiosities rather than the norm. But that could change soon; one study suggests that by 2020, 75% of the world’s cars will be connected to the internet.
2. Why Connected Cars Matter for Your App
Depending on your app’s purpose and functionality, this trend could have tremendous implications for maintaining and increasing your exposure. Apps that lend themselves to commuting – from audio and podcast players to map and GPS-connected apps – are an obvious fit for your audience to install in their cars. But as we continue to find ways to increase our productivity, the possibilities don’t end there.
Imagine being stuck on a commute, and being in danger of missing a meeting. How about a calendar or conferencing app that connects directly from your phone? Or, if you happen to be stuck on your way home, you might want to conduct some of your shopping online without having to whip out your phone.
Safety also becomes less of a concern. In fact, a vast majority of consumers believe that connected cars will actually improve safety. In short, connected cars are on your rise, and it makes sense to prepare your app for them.
3. How to Develop Your App with Cars in Mind
Just how do you go about preparing yourself for the rise of connected cars? For your Android app, Google has you covered. Check out this developer’s blog post that guides you specifically through the process of designing an app that works with Android Auto, a software that is now used by 38 of the world’s largest automakers in their connected cars.
Of course, developing your app (or a slimmed-down version of it) for Android Auto also requires strategic adjustments to simplify the navigation and improve user experience in this different environment. In other words, it requires a shift in thinking from smartphone to the car screen, which can be daunting to imagine at first.
But it doesn’t have to be! As connected cars are beginning to populate our streets, we want to make sure that our clients are prepared for this trend and ready for the time when consumers inevitably begin to demand a car version of their Android app. If you’re intrigued by the concept and want to learn more, contact us!