Android Auto Now Runs Directly on Smartphones

android-auto-app

Earlier this year, Google confirmed Android Auto would run natively on smartphones. Sure enough, the wait is over.

Up to this point, using Android Auto meant upgrading your car with a new head unit that supported the in-car system, or buying a new car altogether that supported the platform out of the gate. But that is finally changing, as Android Auto is now officially a standalone app that can be installed on Android phones running Android 5.0 or later.

With the new app, Android users can launch Android Auto to get a much more distinct navigation experience, with bigger tap areas, and designated areas for navigation tools and music access. Android Auto supports third-party music services like Spotify, as well as Google’s own Play Music platform.

Sending and receiving messages is handled by voice commands. Android Auto won’t let you read your text messages, as the app’s focus is making sure the driver’s eyes stay on the road, but it will read them out loud. Google Maps is obviously integrated, and turn-by-turn navigation is ready to go as well.

There are different customization options when it comes to launching the app, including the option to start Android Auto the moment your phone connects to your car’s Bluetooth connection. (This isn’t required by any means, of course, as the app runs natively on the phone and doesn’t require Bluetooth or a wired connection to function.) There is also an option to keep the display activated at all times, just by using the app or only when the phone is connected to the charger.

Google will be enhancing the voice-activated controls as well, at a later date, with support for “OK Google” on the way.

Android Auto (2.0) is rolling out now in over 30 countries, where Android Auto is already supported.

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[via Google Blog]