CES Wrap Up: Android is New Cool Kid on the Block

Last Updated Jan 10, 2011 9:56 AM EST

The Consumer Electronic Show premiered dozens of Google (GOOG) Android phones and tablets that question the future supremacy of the Apple (APPL) iPhone and iPad, respectively, but the real threat is all the other arenas the Android operating system is appearing. Google has been embraced by non-traditional tech segments in a surprisingly fast period of time.

Integrated in Accessories
For instance, the Nox Admiral headset has an Android touchscreen on its outer shell. Similar to the Android phone interface, users can use Android apps like Last.fm and Pandora to pipe sound directly into headphones. The touchscreen can also be used to adjust the volume or change songs with the swipe of a finger.

Driving into Cars
As my BNET colleagues Jim Henry and Jim Motavalli mentioned, tech-savvy vehicles were the stars of the CES show. Some technologies were made in-house, such as the Sync from Ford, but those that were not done in-house often relied on the Android operating system -- and not the Apple iOS. As an example, Audiovox showed me the first 7-inch screen computer built for vehicles. Due by this holiday season, the yet-unnamed headrest system has a 1 GHz CPU, a USB Port, and built-in Wi-Fi. Other companies have taken the iPad and bolted it into their current dashboard, but none are taking Apple's foundation and making something unique for vehicles as they have with Google Android.

Beyond Apple
The countless number of products show that Google is going beyond Apple's scope. While Apple may have patents on cool tech like home automation, the company prefers to be in control of how every instance of its iOS operating system is applied, so it may be years before it actually does anything with other companies. On the other hand, the much younger (and more open) Android system has quickly become the cool kid on the block with its product inclusions rivaling Microsoft (MSFT) Windows and RIM (RIMM) QNX in non-traditional items like vehicles. Google may have a long road in the phone and tablet wars, but, if CES 2011 is any indication, it is already thriving on every other front.

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