Google Planning to Take Over Your Cars With ‘Android M’
Google is reportedly working on a new version of Android that would be built directly into cars. This version would not require a smartphone to control car’s features. Instead, it would work directly from the car, allowing drivers to use Internet, stream media and perform all the functions they normally do over Internet without having to plug in their smartphone.
Google’s current Android Auto software works in collaboration with a smartphone running Android. The smartphone needs to be plugged into the car having a built-in screen to access music, maps and other apps. Android Auto simply “projects” smartphone apps onto the car’s screen. Cars compatible with Android Auto are expected to make debut in 2015.
This move of embedding Android directly into the car is a major step ahead of current Android Auto software.
However, Google has never revealed any plans to put Android directly into the cars. It is apparently a long-term plan for Google and there is no timeframe publicly known. Sources known to Reuters have reported that Google plans to make this move with its next version of Android believed to be called “Android M.” It is expected to be released in the next year or so.
Building Android directly into the cars would provide Google a much stronger foothold to be really part of the car instead of just being an add-on. This would also satisfy Google’s appetite of big data as the company would be able to collect data continuously from valuable sources.
For example, Google would be able to know from “its” cars where the driver currently is, where the driver stopped for fuel, where he or she travels everyday, car’s current fuel level and much more. One of many uses of collecting such data would be providing more targeted ads to the drivers.
If integration of Android into cars is successful, Android would become standard operating system in cars providing entertainment and navigation features to cars. This would solidify Google’s position in this new market where Apple is already competing with its CarPlay software.
To make it all work, Android would need significant improvement in its performance. As normal boot time for Android on smartphones is around 30 seconds, drivers in car would not like to wait that much. It would be good only if it starts as the driver turns on the car.
With the advent of Internet-of-things, technology companies are making gadgets and appliances connected to the Internet. Vehicles are one of the important targets for such companies because Americans spend nearly 50 minutes per day on average on their commute, according to U.S. Census data.
Google would need to overcome many technical and business challenges to make it all work. One of the biggest challenges would be to convince automobile manufacturers to embed Google’s technology into their cars.