Why is this awesome? Well I’ll tell ya. Previously if you wanted to use Android Auto, you’d either need to buy a new car with Android Auto capabilities pre-installed or purchase an aftermarket head unit and have that installed in your current vehicle. Both of these options require a lot of money. Now Google is allowing Android Auto to work on your smartphone, just like any other app.
If you’re one of the many folks who don’t have a newer car with Android Auto capabilities but are still interested in using it, you’re in luck — at it’s annual developer conference today, Google has announced that you’ll soon be able to use Android Auto on your phone, no in-car touchscreen required.
So, how does it work? Once you’re sitting in your car and ready to drive, I’m guessing you’ll just need to fire up the Android Auto app on your phone. Once it launches, you’ll get a simplified interface with access to your music, messages, phone calls and weather. The interface looks very similar to what you’d get in a standard Android Auto-equipped vehicle.
Using Android Auto on your phone is a great way to eliminate as many distractions as possible, and we can’t wait for this to go live.
Oh, and there are more features coming to the in-car system, too. With the new update, Android Auto is getting the ability to recognize “OK Google” voice commands without having to push a button on the console first. Waze integration is coming to Android Auto, too, so folks partial to Waze’s navigation features can use that instead of Google Maps.
As expected, we can expect to see some new apps from car makers as well. Manufacturers will now be able to make their own software for car-related tasks. The first two apps are coming from Honda and Hyundai, though there are little details about those at the moment. The new Honda and Hyundai apps will give users access to roadside assistance, service reports and valet notifications without the need to leave the Android Auto interface.
Google says the new Android Auto update will be available later this year for devices running Lollipop and above.