Google is Bringing Android Auto to Your Phone

Posted on November 7, 2016 by Paul Thurrott in Android with 11 Comments

Google is Bringing Android Auto to Your Phone

Google announced today that it will dramatically broaden the availability of its Android Auto experience by bringing it to Android-based smartphones.

This makes tons of sense.

As Google notes, there are now over 200 new car models from over 50 brands that provide Android Auto support. But there are millions of cars on the road that are not Android compatible, and many of them don’t have screens of their own. So the Android Auto app will let those users enjoy Google’s connected experience for drivers right from their existing smartphone display.

To be clear, Google already makes an Android Auto app for Android: It’s required to use the Android Auto experience built into cars. But a coming new version of the app will work in standalone mode and not require an Android Auto-compatible 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,” Android Auto product manager Gerhard Schobbe says. “Whether your phone is connected to a compatible car display, or placed in a car mount on the dashboard, Android Auto brings your favorite apps and services into one place, making them accessible in safer and seamless ways.”


Android Auto, like Google’s Car Play, makes the smartphone apps and services one might need in a car available in an easy-to-use, simplified UI. This includes music apps like Spotify, Pandora, and Google Play Music, as well as voice-based phone calling and messaging.

Like similar app-based solutions, the Android Auto app will activate when it detects the Bluetooth connection in your car, so it’s automatic.

“We’re also enhancing the support for hands-free voice commands in the coming weeks,” Schobble says. “You will soon be able to easily access existing features like maps, music and messaging by just saying “Ok Google” so you can stay focused on the road.”

Android Auto 2.0 will be rolling out “in the coming days,” Google says. Best of all, it will be made available in the over 30 countries where Android Auto is currently available.


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  1. 1 | Reply
    Polie Alpha Member #2117 - 2 months ago

    Very interesting - love to hear your take on this and more Android in general. When my last windows phone began showing signs on dying, I decided to move to Andy after listening to Mary Jo and you talk about it on the weekly windows twit podcast.

  2. 0 | Reply
    Narg Alpha Member #420 - 2 months ago

    Just waiting for cars to come with on a space on the dash where a radio used to be, except now it will have a smart phone holder with appropriate plug to "dock" your smart phone while in route.  Appropriate amplifier and speakers/mic will probably be there at least.  But all computing and display will become the smartphone's job 100%.

  3. 0 | Reply
    awright18 Alpha Member #405 - 2 months ago

    I think for once most people can probably agree that this one tech invention make sense and is probably useful to a majority of Android users.  I would certainly like to try it.  The one thing that windows phone had that I miss, was sending people trying to reach me when I'm driving that I am driving, I'll get back to you later.

  4. 0 | Reply
    sgtaylor5 - 2 months ago

    I like how Android Auto operates. However, it makes you install/update Google Play Music, even if you have another Android Auto-compatible music player installed. And it's going to be Radio or Playlists, not Albums, that you listen to.

  5. 0 | Reply
    ind1g0 Alpha Member #1610 - 2 months ago

    Excited for this!

  6. 0 | Reply
    Wizzwith Alpha Member #2111 - 2 months ago

    So sounds basically the same as the driving mode in Windows phones... this is really just now being added to Android?  

  7. 0 | Reply
    wbhite Alpha Member #120 - 2 months ago

    I just downloaded the app and it's missing this feature, though the App page says it was updated today.  Ah, well.  Patience isn't my strong suit.