Google is reportedly working to make its next version of Android (the "M" version) more compatible with cars, so that automakers can build it into their models. Google is not commenting on the matter, but Reuters is reporting on the company's plans, and frankly it would make a great deal of sense anyway.
Android in the car isn't exactly a new concept. Google already offers Android Auto, which enables drivers to connect their Android devices to their car screens, and access apps that way. The difference between that and what the company reportedly has planned, is that with the next version of Android, users won't have to connect a smartphone. It will just be Android built right into the car's offering.
That will mean users won't have to worry about battery life of their phone to use Android in the car, and it will give Google a significant leg up on Apple, which also offers an Android Auto counterpart in CarPlay (though it's unlikely that Apple won't follow a similar strategy).
In the not too distant future, car buyers might be choosing between operating systems just like smartphone buyers. Google could still have a significant advantage over Apple in that department based on the fact that it has a lot of experience with smart cars. The company does, after all, have self-driving cars.
Direct integration into cars ensures that drivers will use Google's services every time they turn on the ignition, without having to plug in the phone. It could allow Google to make more use of a car's camera, sensors, fuel gauge, and Internet connections that come with some newer car models.
The new Android version is expected in "a year or so," according to Reuters. Google's car plan, would of course, depend on actual adoption by the automakers themselves. With new Android Auto-enabled vehicles coming in 2015, all eyes will be on how well that works (not to mention CarPlay).
Image via Android Auto