Android Auto 2.0 allows drivers to use app on their smartphones

Article by Christian A., on November 11, 2016

Getting connected while on the move has become more of a necessity nowadays. This is why carmakers have been installing infotainment systems into their vehicles. But since these systems are sometimes not enough, drivers have turned to Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, both offering easy-to-use interface compatible with many vehicle systems.

More than 200 new vehicle models from over 50 brands are now supporting Android Auto. However, Android Auto users have found that this tech is not compatible with older vehicles. In addition, it seemed not possible for vehicles without any infotainment systems to employ Android Auto.

But what if Android Auto can be brought straight onto a smartphone? This would be a great idea as this would make possible for a car without a compatible infotainment system to use Android Auto. Now, Google has noticed this possibility and worked to create an updated version of Android Auto that enables it to be employed directly through a smartphone app, without integrating it into a car’s infotainment system.

Android Auto 2.0 allows anyone with a smartphone running Android 5.0 or later to access the certain functions – directions or navigation, notifications and music controls as well as dialer for making and receiving calls – while on the road through a driver friendly interface.

Of course, Android Auto 2.0 still allows the integration of the smartphone to a compatible car display. This means that as long as an infotainment display inside a vehicle supports Android Auto 2.0, Google’s updated offering should be able to present all available functions. Likewise, users may also place the Android Auto-enabled smartphone on the car’s dashboard. This means users could now receive turn-by-turn directions using Google Maps, which is as good as any satellite navigations system. Likewise, they could now launch their favorite music with apps like Google Play Music, Spotify or Pandora.

Interestingly, Android Auto 2.0 could now be automatically started as soon as the user pairs his or her smartphone with Bluetooth. Of course, users could still opt to manually start the app. In addition, users could also send messages or make calls through with hands-free voice commands. Google is still in the process of further improving Android Auto 2.0, especially support for its hands-free voice commands. According to the tech giant, users could soon access features like maps, messaging and music by just saying “Ok Google” – which means drivers won’t have to take their eyes off the road just to do those functions.

Currently, Android Auto 2.0 is being rolled out to over 30 countries. However, it should be noted that certain countries have banned any physical use of the phone – whether messaging or calling – which means that users could only use the app during a traffic halt or while pulling over.

Press Release

Android Auto 2.0

We launched Android Auto two years ago with the goal to better integrate phones and cars, and give drivers an easier way to access the information they need. There are now over 200 new car models supporting Android Auto offered from more than 50 brands, and many more launching every day.

But we know there are millions of older cars on the road that are not compatible with Android Auto, and many don't have a screen at all. We wanted to bring the same connected experience to these drivers too.

So today we're excited to introduce a whole new way to use Android Auto: right on your phone screen! 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.

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. You can bring your music with you with apps like Spotify, Pandora or Google Play Music, and make calls or send messages with hands-free voice commands. And of course, get turn-by-turn directions to your next destination with Google Maps.

This update also brings the ability to automatically start the app when the phone is paired with Bluetooth. While you can put your phone in any car mount, please keep an eye out for Bluetooth-supported car mounts such as Logitech’s SmartCar mount, which is coming soon to the Google Store and select retail locations.

We’re also enhancing the support for hands-free voice commands in the coming weeks. 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.

The latest version (2.0) with the phone screen experience will be rolling out in the coming days to more than 30 countries where Android Auto is currently available. Sign up on the Android Auto website to receive an email when the update is available for your phone.

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