Android in Cars: Should Apple Worry?

Google announces an Open Automobile Alliance at CES.

Jan 18, 2014 at 11:00PM

The Fool headed out to Vegas to check out the 2014 International Consumer Electronics Show. With more than 3,200 exhibitors, including 88% of the top retailers in consumer electronics, the CES is the place to be to see what's coming up in tech.

One of the biggest announcements at CES 2014 was Google's (NASDAQ:GOOGL) Open Automobile Alliance -- with General Motors (NYSE:GM), Audi, and others -- to put Android systems into cars. Will Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) be left out in the cold?

Thanks to an uncanny ability to identify key trends in technology, David Gardner has established a market-thumping track record. Investors have seen a slew of storylines coming out of CES 2014, but the real challenge is recognizing where the opportunities truly lie. Click here to get David's latest thinking on where you should be invested to profit on the future of technology.

A full transcript follows the video.

Eric Bleeker: Hey, Fools. I'm Eric Bleeker, joined by our tech analyst Evan Niu, and we are at CES. We have been going around the automobile exhibit; there's actually some fantastic technology here.

Evan Niu: A lot of cool stuff.

Eric: Some you would not have said, let alone five years ago, but maybe the biggest announcement is, we're looking at the potential platforms that can dominate cars. Obviously, Apple had previously made a splash with that, and Google at CES has made its own splash. Walk me through, basically, Google's announcement and what it could mean.

Evan: Sure. On Monday, Google announced they're launching the Open Automobile Alliance, which is very similar to back in 2008, when they launched the Open Handset Alliance to kick off Android as a platform. At the time, back in 2008, no one really paid much attention because they didn't know what it was, but obviously two years later Android really blew up in a big way.

Now, Google is announcing this automobile alliance, with GM, Audi, a handful of other carmakers -- and also NVIDIA (NASDAQ:NVDA) is the big chip partner here. The real goal here is obviously to get Android into cars, which has some pretty crazy potential.

As an investor in Apple, myself, I'm actually a little bit scared, because Apple's strategy has always been to piggyback on the phones, and tether any type of integration on the car side to a phone, because Apple's certainly not going to put iOS into a car directly, because they don't make cars!

But that's exactly what Google's going to be going for, and I think Google has more opportunities in terms of actually powering the infotainment center inside the car, and that's something that -- just philosophically -- that's not a strategy that Apple's going to go after, so I'm a little concerned for how Apple's going to get in the car.

Eric: Yeah, definitely. You know, with Google there are still a lot of unknowns. When we ask these car companies to comment, the only comment we've been getting is "No comment."

Eric Bleeker, CFA, owns shares of NVIDIA. Evan Niu, CFA owns shares of Apple. The Motley Fool recommends Apple, General Motors, Google, and NVIDIA and owns shares of Apple and Google. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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