Reuters reports Google is hoping to bring Android M, the follow up to Lollipop, straight into your car’s dashboard. The difference from something like Android Auto, however, is that Android M won’t simply be an add-on, giving owners that fresh-out-of-box-Android smell. You’ll be connected without ever needing your phone, with access to Google’s many services like Maps, Music and more.
Android M is expected “in a year or so,” according to Reuters, likely when it’s available for phones and tablets; Android Auto is reportedly still launching next year, but it’s apparently not in Google’s long-term plans. The decision to create a built-in operating system is essentially to give car owners no choice but to use Google’s car OS. In other words, it’ll solidify Google’s place in a market that’s becoming increasingly popular for big tech giants. Apple has its own add-on car software, called CarPlay.
“It provides a much stronger foothold for Google to really be part of the vehicle rather than being an add-on,” explained Thilo Koslowski, vice president of Gartner.
Reuters surmises that Google is hoping to collect car data with Android M, such as a car’s camera, sensors, fuel gauge, and more. From that perspective, it would certainly be difficult to convince automakers to give Google such granular access. Supporting an add-on is one thing, but a built-in platform is completely different. Who knows: maybe that data will be used for the greater good of autonomous vehicles. Reuters points out that on average Americans spend 50 minutes per day on their commute, giving Google the opportunity to reach users in a new way.
One source added Google also hopes to offer a built-in OS because it’ll always be on, pointing to the reliance services like Android Auto has on smartphones. If your phone runs out, you’ll still have access to things like your contacts, appointments, etc. One source told Reuters that Android “would need major improvements in performance and stability for carmakers to adopt it.”