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Automobiles Are the Next Android Devices

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- With more than one billion people using Android-based devices around the world, it was only a matter of time before Google (GOOG) began searching for other uses for its wily software platform

Not to be outdone by the competition, Google has announced that it's joining forces with major automobile manufacturers to create the Open Automotive Alliance to bring its Android operating system to automobiles beginning later this year. The announcement came in advance of the opening of the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, this week.

Google shares were advancing 0.60% to $1,111.66 in early New York trading.

Audi, General Motors (GM), Honda (HMC), Hyundai and Nvidia (NVDA) are also founding members of the global partnership. The coalition has extended an invitation for other companies to join as well.

According to the coalition's joint press release, "The OAA is dedicated to a common platform that will drive innovation, and make technology in the car safer and more intuitive for everyone. This open development model and common platform will allow automakers to more easily bring cutting-edge technology to their drivers, and create new opportunities for developers to deliver powerful experiences for drivers and passengers in a safe and scalable way."

As for the timing, the OAA says the release date for new Android-equipped cars will vary by manufacturer but should begin rolling off assembly lines by the end of 2014.

Apple  (AAPL) is also perfecting its mobile platform for automobiles. Dubbed Siri Eyes Free the system consists of a special button mounted on the steering wheel which allows the driver to toggle the Siri feature on iOS devices. Audi, BMW, Chrysler, GM, Honda, Jaguar, Land Rover, Mercedes Benz and Toyota (TM) are all partners in the Apple initiative.

Nokia (NOK) also has been partnering with Mercedes along with Continental Corporation and Magneti Marelli to expand its HERE Maps/GPS feature into a complete connected driving system.

Written by Gary Krakow in New York.

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