Google just delivered a major update to Android Auto, the company’s own infotainment system for cars. Now, users will be able to use Android Auto directly on their Android smartphones without the need for special hardware on their cars’ dashboards.
Android Auto was first launched in 2014 and it’s basically a simplified version of the Android operating system meant to run on a car’s system. It allows users to access numerous services like Google Maps for navigation, Google Play Music or Spotify for playing music and listen or respond to messages on Hangouts.
The problem with Android Auto was, it was only available on select vehicles. Currently, there are only over 200 models from 50 manufacturers that come with Android Auto support, as pointed out by CNET. With the new update for the platform, anyone with an Android smartphone would be able to use Android Auto with any car.
“This update allows anyone with an Android phone (running 5.0 or later) to use a driver friendly interface to access the key stuff you need on the road ― directions, music, communications ― without the distraction of things that aren't essential while driving,” Google said on its blog.
When users launch the newly update app, it will immediately transform into the simplified Android Auto user interface. Users will then be able to connect their smartphone to their car’s Bluetooth system. There’s also an option to automatically launch the app when the user’s phone connects to the car’s Bluetooth.
Right now, users will only be able to control the app through touch gestures, but Google says it's working on changing that. Users will soon be able to control music, get directions, make calls and send messages using voice commands by saying “Ok Google.” Google stated that voice commands should be available in the coming weeks.” The only thing left to worry about is how to mount a phone on the car’s dashboard. Google noted that it will also start selling Logitech’s SmartCar mount on its online and retail stores soon.
Finally, Google revealed that the updated Android Auto experience will be available to everyone in over 30 countries in the coming days. However, those who can’t wait can simply get the update by downloading the APKMirror, as suggested by 9To5Google.