Android has come leaps and bounds since its inception in 2003, evolving into one of the most widely used mobile operating system in the world. Despite dominating a large portion of smartphones and tablets, the brains behind Android are now planning their next big venture, this time into vehicles. Google has just announced that they are already working on the next generation of the Android OS, and this time, they will across your mobile devices and also your car.
The new OS is dubbed Android M and will be a follow up to the current Android Lollipop. By being built directly into the dash of a car, users of Android M will be able to access Google’s many services such as Maps and Music. Essentially, it gives you the Android experience of a mobile device while on the road, literally. The new OS is also expected to function as a stand alone OS, which means that you will not need to plug in your smartphone or tablet to access its functions.
Google has already expressed an interest in integrating cars into their Android ecosystem. Android Auto was announced at Google I/O earlier this year, but the nature of it was rather different. It functions as an extension of mobile device, reflecting a customized version of the display of your Android device onto the dashboard display. This means that you are still controlling your Android device, albeit through your car. What Android M does is remove the need for an Android device, basically turning your car into one. Furthermore, competition in this field was already heating up with Apple announcing its Car Play feature this year as well.
The idea of Android M functioning autonomously in cars sounds good in theory but it may receive some opposition from manufacturers. Being a built-in OS, Google may request access to a car’s readings, whether its sensors, fuel gauge or even cameras, something that may not sit well with manufacturers. Even so, there is the potential of actually improving car maintenance and other benefits that can be garnered through the sharing of these readings. It all depends on the execution, and if done right, Android M will have the potential to be the go to mobile OS for cars if successful, becoming what Windows is to PC’s. With Android L freshly released, we expect a release in at least a years time.