South Korean conglomerate, Samsung has stated that it is to start providing German automaker, Volkswagen Audi, with Samsung Exynos chipsets for in-car infotainment systems. Samsung explained that it is to provide Audi with the chipsets, destined to be at the heart of up to four of its next generation in-car units. However, at this time neither Volkswagen nor Samsung will elaborate on the deal: we do not know what cars will use the Samsung-powered units, nor when the models or in-car units will be available. At the recent Consumer Electronics Show, Las Vegas, we saw a number of companies announce dedicated in-car technologies including new infotainment units built around an Android platform but not Android Auto. We have also seen other manufacturers designing and marketing chipsets for the auto industry sector, such as the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820A System-on-Chip.
Infotainment units designed for in-car use are used for a number of features, including navigation, media playback, either stored locally or streamed, plus communications by connecting with one or more smartphones also be present in the car. The more sophisticated installations include multiple display screens in various parts of the vehicle, with some designed for the driver and others designed for passengers. The industry trend is for premium and luxury models to receive new, upgraded technologies first, which gradually filter down into the rest of a range: it may be that Audi's 2018 models will be benefiting from a number of new infotainment systems, and similar products might appear in the parent company's other marques from 2019. Samsung has been designing and using Exynos-branded chipsets for a number of years now although most have been destined for its own branded smartphone and tablet. Samsung also manufacturers display panels, both AMOLED and LCD, and is the world's largest supplier of certain kinds of memory chips – indeed, the company already supplies Audi with memory chips. In recent months we have seen Samsung increasingly looking to sell more into the auto industry as it seeks to use its considerable electronic component business and diversify away from building smartphones and tablets, where worldwide growth is slowing.
Unfortunately, with no word of what vehicles or in-car systems are set to receive the Samsung Exynos chipsets, and no information regarding the software that these units might be running, we will need to wait until either Samsung or Volkswagen Audi reveal more details.