We have heard of many ideas for device to power with Google's linux based open source Android mobile operating system. Mobile phones, tablets, handheld GPS, laptops, netbooks and other smallish devices. Starting yesterday, there are bigger devices on the market run by Android. Well, it isn't really a device. It is a car!
Yes, you heard right, the Chinese are building a car that is "powered" by Android. The Roewe 350 sedan went into production yesterday and will be available on April 23, 2010 at the Beijing Auto Show.
If you are not familiar with Roewe, the Chinese company SAIC bought the Rover 25 and 75 from the British in 2004, just before MG Rover went into administration. The Chinese company is now producing the cars in China under both the MG and Roewe marques.
Now, lets clarify this "first car running on Android" business. Here is what the China Car Times is reporting it's features are;
"The 350 was based on the Roewe N1 concept car that was shown at the Shanghai Auto Show last year. The concept itself was the epitome of 3G lifestyle, and as a result the Roewe 350 DVD/GPS system is actually running on Google’s very own Android system. The 350 will be able to get all the latest real time traffic reports so drivers can avoid certain spots, the system also allows for direct web access from your car, and oddly it allows you to chat online which is something you really don’t want to be doing when you’re driving. The 350 will be running the 2.1 Android operating system, which is the same as what you will find in Google’s latest Nexus handset."
So it is running the entertainment system (or parts of it) and the GPS system. Not really running the car, engine etc. But hey, it is a start.
The car is expected to be priced in China between 70,000 and 130,000 RMB (USD $10,250 - $19,000).