At Google I/O this year Google gave a lot of time to the new changes that were coming to devices for Android Auto. We have already seen the interface changes to the Android Auto projection to a display mode but there is more.
Google discussed that they were moving away from Android Auto on phone screens to an Assistant Driving Mode which effectively is a Google Assistant interface where everything is controlled by Assistant. Now with Android 10 arriving and thus Android Auto being baked into the operating system there is no longer a shortcut for those who want to use Android Auto on the phone.
Google have made a statement on their support page suggesting that this shortcut will return but some are suggesting it may be a new full Android Auto app:
Starting with Android 10, Android Auto is built into the phone as a technology that enables your phone to connect to your car display. This means you no longer have to install a separate app from the Play Store to use Android Auto with your car display.
This makes sense but the options for those who don’t have an Android Auto compatible car or prefer to access Android Auto on their phones gives hope to some people who just don’t want to move on. The three options are:
- If you’re upgrading your phone from Android 9 to Android 10, make sure that your phone already has Android Auto installed before you upgrade. If so, the app icon will carry over to your newly upgraded device.
- You can use Google Backup to backup and restore from another device that already has Android Auto app installed.
- In the coming weeks, we’ll be publishing a separate app called “Android Auto for Phone Screens” in the Play Store. You can download this app to continue using the phone screen version of Android Auto. More information is coming soon.
The last one is the big ticket item here. If Google were deprecating the phone screen version of Android Auto why would they make a new app. My take on it is that Assistant Driving Mode is not quite ready for the big time just yet and Google will be releasing a tweaked version of the current Android Auto app until it is ready.
Without this new tweaked app users who are running Android 10 will not be able to launch Android Auto unless they already have it installed before the Android 10 update. I suspect that once Google have Assistant Driving Mode ready for users they will then deprecate all Android Auto apps from the Play Store for those at least on Android 10 (unless they can get Assistant Driving Mode working on older versions of Android) forcing people to use either the car display or their new Assistant Driving Mode which, when we saw it at Google I/O, showed great potential.
My opinion does differ from others’ opinion on this statement by Google but it makes sense because it would be unlike Google to deprecate an app and then reverse course on it, especially when they have put so much work into Assistant Driving Mode and want Assistant to be used by everyone.
We will have to see what happens when Assistant Driving Mode is ready — what do you think about this “new app”?