Google announced it would be making Android Auto available directly on your phone’s screen a while back, but it didn’t offer any time frame. It was starting to look like it was never happening, but lo and behold, Android Auto on phones is now rolling out.
You can download the app like any other from the Play Store. Then it’s just a matter of giving the app access to various permissions like calls and messages so that it can play them back for you. Once the app is set up, you’re presented with basically the same interface you’d otherwise see on the screen of a car running Android Auto.
The idea is that you could snap your phone into a dash-mounted cradle of some sort — which many of us do already — and just load up the Android Auto app for navigation and infotainment rather than relying on an in-dash display. (This is particularly practical now that many phones have huge displays themselves.) Like the in-dash Android Auto experience, the on-phone UI is simplified and voice-centric, keeping driver distraction to a minimum. It’s expectedly designed for big touch targets and minimal interaction.
If you haven’t used Android Auto before, it gives you quick access to a small set of features you might want while driving. Probably the most important of those are music and directions. When you launch Android Auto 2.0 on your phone, it takes over the full display to show a more friendly driving mode. You get big cards and buttons, similar to the ones present on Android Auto-enabled cars.
The main Android Auto screen gets right to the basics, showing your current media playback, the weather and options to one-tap navigate to upcoming appointments or recent Google Maps searches. A static bar on the bottom lets you quickly jump between navigation, the phone dialer and media — you can also return to your phone’s home screen with a tap of the enlarged circular home button and a secondary confirmation tap.
Whether you have the map pulled up just viewing live traffic or are actually navigating, you get an enlarged version of the Google Maps navigation interface you already know. Importantly, if you’re viewing the home screen or media controls you get half-screen popover notifications for upcoming turns while navigating. Incoming SMS and Hangouts messages have a similar popover, with the option to auto-reply with a message or read the incoming message aloud. It’s pretty bare bones stuff, but that’s by design.
This update also adds the ability to automatically launch Android Auto when a certain Bluetooth device connects. So, if you’ve got Bluetooth in your car but no Android Auto, AA can launch on your phone as soon as you get in the car and you can of course get both media and voice audio routed from the phone to your car’s speakers. This isn’t a requirement, though — Android Auto will work just fine with the phone’s speaker.
Needless to say though, you might also want to have a car charger if you’re not already used to navigating via your phone. Because not only does it keep your phone’s screen and GPS on, it uses mobile data to pull down live traffic information and potentially stream music as well so it is obviously a battery drainer.
With so few Android Auto users up to this point there hasn’t been much incentive for developers to make their apps Android Auto compatible, but this new flood of potential users using Auto on their phone should prompt a change to that thinking.
Google says that an update in the coming weeks will add OK Google support for features like maps and music to Android Auto. That’s long overdue. If the updated Android Auto app isn’t yet showing for you on the Playstore, you can grab the v2.0 update from APK Mirror right now if you want to skip the wait.
Source : Google