Starting as early as next year, drivers may no longer have to plug in their smartphones to use various Android-based services as Google is working on a new version of its operating system that would be built directly into cars, according to unidentified sources quoted by Reuters.
No exact timetable has been set, however.
If successful, Google will enjoy a highly enviable position in the automotive infotainment business, taking a significant lead over Apple's CarPlay. For users, one major benefit (of building Android into cars) is that Google's services would not be at risk of switching off when their smartphone battery runs out of power.
On the other hand, the same sources mentioned that Android would need major improvements in performance and stability for automakers to adopt it. In particular, Android Auto would need to power up instantly when the driver turns the car on, instead of having to wait more than 30 seconds, as happens with many smartphones.
For security reasons, automakers may also be reluctant to give Google access to their onboard components.
So far the tech giant has declined to comment, but it's definitely a story worth keeping a close eye on.