Broadcom, a name one immediately associates with routers or networking components, is now trying to leave its mark in the automobile industry. With this new software stack for in-vehicle systems, the company hopes to become the go to guy for car makers who are planning to include Android integration into their next models.
Cars that connect to smartphones isn’t exactly new these days, but most, if not all, of the implementations cater mostly or exclusively to iPhones. Broadcom believes that many automakers, however, are planning to transition over to Android due to the growing popularity of the open platform, citing figures from analysts such as IDC. Unfortunately, the situation of Bluetooth software on Android is less clear cut, with varying and sometimes disappointing results. This is the problem that Broadcom’s Automotive Bluetooth stack seeks to solve.
Broadcom isn’t exactly alien to the Android ecosystem. It has contributed its own Bluedroid stack into the Android Open Source Project or AOSP. This is what the company is now leveraging to build up its new Automotive stack that promises seamless interoperability between the in-car software and Android devices.
In particular, this software solution tries to address two things that Broadcom sees as problematic when it comes to Android and Bluetooth connectivity. The first is that the software stack tries to improve the quality of audio that is transmitted between in-vehicle systems and Android devices. This feature is quite important for cases such as hands-free calling and streaming of audio. Easy connectivity is another area for improvement, and by putting support for Bluetooth Smart Ready right into the stack, the in-car system will be able to quickly and more reliably connect with wearable smart devices that monitor the driver’s health through biometric sensors.
While Broadcom’s Automotive Bluetooth software stack does target Android devices, car makers still have some choices on what platform to use for the in-vehicle device, including Android, Linux, and a more lightweight Real Time Operating System (RTOS). Broadcom has not yet revealed who has signed up for its new software stack.