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Audi shows off 'Smart Display' Android-powered in-car tablet

German automaker Audi on Tuesday unveiled the Mobile Audi Smart Display, a bespoke Android-powered tablet that marks the next stage of the company's plan to integrate Google's mobile operating system more deeply into its future vehicles.

Mobile Audi Smart Display

The Mobile Audi Smart Display | Source:

In what is perhaps an early glimpse of Audi's goal as a member of the new Open Automotive Alliance, the marque touts the Smart Display as a step toward a new, modularized infotainment architecture. Such a strategy would allow for periodic hardware and software updates even years after the car leaves the dealer's lot, according to a report from USA Today.

Audi's tablet communicates with the vehicle via in-car Wi-Fi and is designed as a way for passengers to interact with and control the car's infotainment system. The Smart Display is said to have been designed to survive collisions and to withstand the wild temperature swings vehicular electronics must cope with.

"It has been developed specifically for in-car use," Audi development executive Ricky Hudi told the paper.

Mobile Audi Smart Display

The Mobile Audi Smart Display | Source:

Vital vehicle information could also be relayed by the tablet. One hands-on snap shows a display featuring a tachometer, speedometer, and fuel range calculations as well as oil level and tire pressure alerts.

The automaker's alignment with Mountain View, Calif.-based Google was first reported late last month when word broke that the two companies would team up to counter Apple's iOS in the Car initiative. The union became official on Monday with the announcement of the Open Automotive Alliance, a Google-led consortium that also boasts General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, and nVidia as members.