When Android Auto was first announced I was super excited about the possibilities it represents. For too long we have all suffered with the woefully inept in-car entertainment systems. As soon as I saw the opportunity I installed Android Auto into my VF Commodore and was nearly immediately disappointed (review coming soon I promise).
In the interest of safety and keeping the driver’s eyes on the road Google limited Android Auto interfaces to 6 taps only. No more. Android Auto would throw up an error as seen below:
If you had a list of playlists there was no way to get to a playlist at the bottom of your list- try using voice recognition in Google Play Music to find one of your playlists. Try searching for a certain album. Nearly impossible. At one stage I attempted to play a play list I have that is titled “Old Skool HipHop”. Apparently there is a song called that. I found myself using my phone more than ever to find the media I was searching for. The opposite of Google’s intention.
A few days ago a version of Android Auto was ripped from a Samsung Galaxy S7 and shared with the world. Now this version – version 1.6 – has hit the Play Store and brings many new enhancements and fixes including
- Improved phone-car connection reliability
- Ability to browse your music collection without lockouts while vehicle is stopped
- Android Auto now available in 19 more countries, incl. Russia, India, Brazil, Austria, Switzerland, and many more countries in Latin America
As for the second fix this has made Android Auto near perfect for me. After using it for two days now I am finally happy with Android Auto. I can now scroll through all my playlists, queues, library etc. I can scroll through the TuneIn radio stations entirely, Pocketcast is now no longer limited (hint- sub-folders helps here even without the new fix). To attempt to show the new fix I have spent a long time driving up and down the driveway simulating it. In the end I enrolled my 7 year old son to help (he took the photos, I drove). Meet the new Mr Blurrycam:
It’s good to see Google expanding Android Auto so many more countries as well. With many new cars now being launched with Android Auto as a factory stock option it will definitely see Android Auto improve in the future as there are more and more users of it demanding more and more. If you don’t have it yet I implore you to check out one of the units out there before purchasing any new headunit for your car.
Are you an Android Auto user? Will you ever be?