Thursday , March 30 2017

Android Auto 2.0 is coming out, with stand-alone mode for use in ANY car

Android Auto - Maps Navigation

Google has made a major announcement this morning which will be of interest to any Android user who drives a car, or who even passengers in a car. Android Auto used to require a compatible car head-unit, which your Android could connect to in order to display a custom interface for use while on the road.

Not anymore.

Android Auto 2.0 introduces a much-requested feature to allow you to use Android Auto stand-alone, on any compatible phone, without needing anything further. That’s right. Android Auto now works on your phone, in any car, or even not in a car. You can use it wherever you want. In a car. In the back seat of a taxi. As a passenger. You could probably even use it in a boat.

Some of the key features in Android Auto that you’ll be able to use stand-alone (or with a compatible head unit, if you have one) include bringing your music with you with apps like Spotify, Pandora or Google Play Music, and make/receive calls using an oversized interface, as well as turn-by-turn directions to your next destination with Google Maps.

Detection of ‘OK Google’ commands is coming soon, according to Google, and should be ready in “coming weeks”.

For stand-alone users, you can set the ability to automatically start Android Auto on your phone when paired to a particular Bluetooth device; for example if — like me — your work car has a Bluetooth head-unit, you can set Android Auto to start when it detects the car, so it’s almost as good as having a proper Android Auto head unit. This might not sound like much, but I can tell you I am super excited about this.

Logitech are also working on a special SmartCar mount, which should be coming to the Google Store and other retail locations soon.

Another oft-requested feature is hands-free voice commands. Instead of having to press a voice activation button, you’ll be able to simply start Android Auto’s voice interaction with the familiar “Ok Google” command. Something I can’t wait to be able to use instead of having to fumble with a button, or taking my eyes off the road to press an on-screen icon.

The new update is rolling out at the moment via Google Play, but if you simply can’t wait — like me — you can grab the APK thanks to Artem and his merry band of men at APK Mirror.

Android Auto
Developer: Google Inc.
Price: Free
 

Chris Rowland   Editor and Publisher

Chris publishes one of Australia's most popular technology websites, Ausdroid. He has varied interests across mobility, health, and connectivity and when he's not working on technology news, he's working in his chosen field of environmental health and compliance.

  • How exciting. I usually walk to work. This morning though I think I will drive and get some breakfast…

  • Will

    Tried it out this morning. Was a little annoyed that “OK Google” detection is completely disabled when the app is running. The little mic button to get the phone to actually listen to you is way too small, and this is using a 6P as well.

    • wakkawalla

      is it disabled in version 2 too? so disappointed! tapping the mic is so unsafe while driving

      • Will

        Yep. My phone would just not respond to me in the car with Android Auto running (on the phone and not a head unit) . As soon as I turned the car off and Android Auto exited I could initiate a voice search again though.

  • Fred

    $64 million question – can you run it on chinese headunits and make them look/act/behave like AAuto headunits?

    I have a horrible feeling that google have knobbled Auto so much that it won’t do things it should (eg radio? Torque type functionality? Dashcam functionality?)

    • Will

      Use Automate for this and just set it as the launcher. It has Torque integration as well.

      • montalbert_scott

        yeah – this is my main drawback of AA — no ability to display the OBD2 info from the car. It needs another screen maybe… I am tempted to run a second phone, i have a few spare, just to show OBD2 info…

  • David Smith

    This is excellent news, I was almost ready to pull the factory head unit and replace it with an Android auto unit, but that meant loss of steering while controls and a few other inconveniences, if I can do this on my 6p in a mount using Bluetooth for the audio side of things, it will save my quite a few bucks.

  • David Griffiths

    Can anyone tell me if we are limited to the music apps shown in the image above (Gogle Play, Pandora, Pocket Casts, Telegram and TuneIn Radio)? I want to use Poweramp…

    • Install AA and see if PowerAmp comes up. If it doesn’t, ask the developer to make it Android Auto compatible.

      • David Griffiths

        Ta dude. The APK link no longer works. Wah!

        • Try now we’ve fixed the url

Check Also

Garmin announces two new connected Dash Cams – Dash Cam 45 and 55

Garmin Australia have announced two new vehicle cameras called the Dash Cam 45 and Dash …