Last summer, Google announced a service known as Android Auto, a service that will bring the Android operating system to the car. Having Android, a popular mobile open-source operating system on many smartphones and tablets, in the car would allow drivers to have features similar to their smartphones. There is now rumors that Android M, the yet-to-be released version of the Android operating system, could be instrumental in getting Android OS in the automobile.
Having Android Auto in the car would be a great service to drivers. After all, most drivers use their cellular phone behind the wheel, even though there are laws that prohibit some applications, such as texting. The many maps and GPS applications that are standard on most smartphones are very convenient with turn-by-turn directions, and many drivers depend on such information.
The purpose of Android Auto is a voice-enabled operating system that is contextually-aware, bringing the driver "the right information right when you need it". For example, the user taps a button on a steering wheel and asks for directions to where they are going, and then the car then provides maps as well as turn-by-turn directions like a typical GPS device. Users can also send text messages by touching a button and verbally leaving a message, and can access Google Play Music playlists.
Still, Android Auto sounds like something that would be very useful for drivers, and a recent report from Gotta Be Mobile reveals that Android M could be the version in which the car, phone, and tablet are synced together. Of course, there are various technical and business challenges in the way before the automobile industry as well as the general public is ready to believe in Android Auto 2. For example, Android would have to be ready to go right after the user turns his or her key, which could mean that the car will have to be connected somehow.
According to Gotta Be Mobile, Google is partnering with 40 car manufacturers which will support Android Auto. The first car with the service on board will be released "by the end of the year". We are almost at the conclusion of 2014, and the official website for Android Auto still reads Coming Soon.
It is pretty clear that Google Auto is intended to compete with a service that Apple is going to provide known as CarPlay. The website promises "the best iPhone experience on four wheels", and it will be available on select new cars in 2014. While there have been some cars made with CarPlay in 2014, it hasn't been a universal rollout.