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.”

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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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Comments (11)

11 responses to “Google is Bringing Android Auto to Your Phone”

  1. 5056

    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. 5038

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

  3. 5812

    I think this is great! I always have my phone mounted in the car dock and if you have the bigger 5.5 inch phone you already have around the size of the touchscreen in fancy more expensive cars. I think Google would probably say they waited till now to do this as they focused on the car project first to get that going as we know car companies are on a 3 to 6 year development cycle you have to get into that 1st as your system won't be put in a car for at least 3 years from now. Once it's in the car you might be able to do updates to the software depending on the car company and if you have wifi connection. Once this is mostly done taking a few devs to make it work on the phone seems like the smart move. 

  4. 5486

    Android Auto has been out for ages, but the limitation of needing a car that has built in support to use it was a pain. Some enterprising Android Devs saw the gap, and developed standalone apps that look/feel very much like Android Auto (AutoMate is probably the best example - very polished), but Google are doing the right thing. Suddenly, millions of extra car drivers will be using 'Auto' and exposed to how it works. Google Maps 'driving mode' is probably the best thing they could have done for drivers - far less distracting than the full 'maps.

  5. 131

    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.

  6. 3177

    Excited for this!

  7. 1294

    How is this different than Waze?  do they use the same data?

    • 5510

      In reply to Mestiphal:

      Waze (owned by Google) is just a Navigation/Map app. I have started using it a few times, just so I can get a heads up to where police cars are located so I can remind self to be within the speed limit.

      I think the difference between Waze and Google Maps/Android Auto, is that the latter is integral part of the entire Google/Android ecosystem. Therefore Google Maps knows you. Waze, I don't believe, knows you because it's just a separate app.

      I don't understand the enhanced hands free support, that Paul quoted Schobble saying. That's because everything that was mentioned, I already have been doing, when driving. I remember teasing Windows Phone users about how with Cortana you have to push a button to activate her everytime you issue a command. I know Cortana can go hands free, but Google did it first and I have been using it like that (for driving) ever since. It's wholly convenient.

  8. 442

    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%.

  9. 427

    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.

  10. 6446

    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.

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