Your Car Will Soon Drive the App Economy

According to a report by Statista, the global connected car market is expected to reach $192 billion by 2028 with a compound annual growth rate of 17%. By 2030, 90% of all new cars will have internet access. Pervasive connectivity, when paired with automotive consumer demands for personalization and the car manufacturers' desire to generate recurring revenues, will drive demand for in-vehicle applications. These applications will enhance the driving experience, provide useful information during commutes, and offer entertainment options for drivers and passengers.

If you are a mobile app developer, you might wonder why you should bother developing apps for cars. After all, you already have enough platforms to deal with, such as phones, tablets, TVs, and more.  Why add another one to the mix?

There are similarities between the evolution of technology in cars and mobile phones and the emergence of app ecosystems in both domains. In this blog, we will delve into these similarities and build a case for you to invest in automotive app development.

The growth potential in the automotive app market is underscored by the rapid expansion of the mobile app industry in the past decade. The expansion was driven by platform consolidation (around iOS and Android) and the emergence of complementary technologies, such as touchscreens, that enabled complex and diverse applications. From 2009 to 2020, the number of mobile application downloads worldwide skyrocketed from 2.52 billion to 218 billion, and the revenue generated by mobile apps surged from $4.2 billion to $581.9 billion dollars in the US market. This exponential growth is a testament to the power of the app economy, and it is predicted that the automotive app market will follow a similar trajectory powered by similar trends. ​


​Cars are transforming from purely mechanical beings to powerful technology platforms on wheels. They are no longer just a means of transportation but platforms for digital services and experiences. Like the emergence of smartphones, which turbocharged mobile app development, cars are also getting smarter with powerful onboard computing, vivid interactive displays and pervasive connectivity.  Trends like consumer demand for personalization and the opportunity to generate revenue streams beyond the point of sale that led to the emergence of app ecosystems in the mobile phone industry are now disrupting the automotive industry. 

A major development in the mobile app domain was the consolidation around Android and iOS platforms. This consolidation resulted in network effects, economies of scale and user loyalty. The consolidation offered distinct advantages for app developers, such as reducing the level of fragmentation and increasing standardization, innovation and monetization. 

Like the consolidation around iOS and Android in the mobile world, platform consolidation is now happening in the automotive industry. According to various industry forecasts, most of the new cars in 2030 will use the Android Automotive Operating System (AAOS), a version of Android built specifically for automotive applications.  Consolidation around a single technology platform reduces the cost and complexity of developing and maintaining automotive apps on multiple vehicle platforms and increases app developers' potential reach and revenue. The subsequent economies of scale and monetization opportunities will greatly incentivize automotive app development.

AAOS is based on Android, meaning you can use the same tools, libraries, and frameworks you know and love from making Android apps for phones and tablets. AAOS also supports Kotlin, Java, and C++ as programming languages and Android Studio as the IDE. You can use your existing Android skills and resources and reuse code and components from your Android apps for phones and tablets. AAOS also makes it easy to test and debug your apps with emulators that allow testing and development without needing actual hardware. AAOS lets you make awesome and unique in-car apps that can use the full power of your car's hardware and software and give users new and better features and functions. Vehicle sensor data can be used by developers to innovate the user experience and create safer and smarter vehicles. 

Ignite_Store​ ​

Automotive app stores represent an exciting new development in the convergence of the automotive and mobile app technology domains. HARMAN Ignite Store is a leading AAOS-based integrated app store from the leader in in-vehicle infotainment, HARMAN. Using our domain expertise, mobile and tablet apps can be made AAOS-compatible easily. The platform manages direct distribution access to automakers across the globe, scaling app availability across vehicles while ensuring high-quality app experiences. Our testing and certification processes are built to provide data-driven developer insights to ensure quality, safety and performance.

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The HARMAN Ignite Store features advanced payment capabilities to enhance return on your app investment. Developers can offer their apps as paid downloads, generating direct revenue. The store provides comprehensive and easy-to-integrate payment SDKs for selling products and services within apps, including in-app purchases and subscriptions. These SDKs offer APIs that facilitate seamless integration, and also support the integration of third-party Payment Service Providers (PSPs), allowing developers to receive payments directly into their bank accounts. All payment processing is powered by the reliable and industry-tested Samsung Checkout, ensuring secure and efficient transactions.

Get started on your AAOS development journey by signing up for​. HARMAN Ignite has comprehensive developer resources which will help you get started. ​

HARMAN Automotive

HARMAN Automotive 

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