Remember wireless Android Auto? Yeah, me neither. It has been a while since we have heard anything, especially from Google, regarding it. Officially wireless Android Auto is available for Nexus and Pixel smartphones only but it seems that Google have been testing it on other devices and now you can too.
We were contacted by Kenwood Australia who have been following the development closely both on the web and through the gold that we write here at Ausdroid and have been in contact with us about this development. It seems that through various beta installations and using their (and other brands) 2019 products with Wi-Fi and Android Auto support built in you too can enjoy wireless Android Auto on a multitude of different phones, not just Google devices anymore.
Originating from Reddit through, u/dingonugget, XDA Developers have done a great write up of how it can be implemented quite easily and rather than reinvent the wheel I’m going to summarise their instructions but if you want more details or want to set it up yourself I recommend checking it out.
Is it easy to get running?
Well, it is an official program, just beta. You just need to get onto the beta program.
You phone must first be running at least Android 9.0 as the architecture required for wireless Android Auto was added with Android 9.0.
After installation of the beta you need to enable developer settings in the Android Auto app and select the “Show wireless projection option” followed by a reboot. After reboot follow the instructions on the headunit to connect wirelessly.
Kenwood Australia found that “Android Auto Wireless does not Auto Launch when initially connected as the source needs to be activated upon a connection being established.” This can be changed within the settings of the Android Auto app to allow Android Auto to automatically start up when paired to the head unit. They noticed some slight latency issues switching between apps and using the touch screen controls.
This is of course not a hack but the official method from Google, albeit in beta form. There has yet to be an official announcement from Google announcing widespread non-Pixel compatibility and we do not expect one until it is out of beta.
The phones which have been tested and found to be working include various Samsung, OnePlus, Huawei and LG smartphones. Kenwood Australia have tested their 2019 Wi-Fi Android Auto models with Samsung and OnePlus phones without any issues. We will be installing a review unit of one of the 2019 Kenwood headunits in the next week or so to test it out for ourselves.
If you want to have a go for yourself before then and you have a phone running Android 9.0, a recent model Android Auto head unit with Wi-Fi head over to XDA Developers and have a go. Remember it is in beta still so there may be a few bugs but expect it to improve over time.