If you thought that Google I/O had its foot heavy on the accelerator with the ton of news that’s being generated, you would be correct, and with that automobile reference comes news of Google’s Android Auto initiative that promises to bring the power of Android Now to your motorcar.
The Android Auto software is hands-free oriented, meaning that the driver will never have to be distracted from what is happening on the road ahead by having to fiddle with something on the dash. And because Android Auto is completely voice controlled, the driver is not only able to orally compose texts, change songs on Google Play Music, but also use Google Maps to navigate. Other apps supporting Android Auto include Pandora, Pocket Casts, Songza, MLB.com At Bat, Joyride, Stitcher, Tunin Radio, Umano, Spotify and iHeartRadio.
Unlike current solutions that involve having a unit built-in to the cars dashboard, Android Auto projects the current app onto the car’s screen. This means that unlike the info-tainment system you currently have in your dashboard, the Android Auto software will be frequently updated, just like your phone.
Just like Android Now does on your phone and soon your Android Wear smart watch, by asking Android Auto the relevant question, the relevant information on nearby restaurants, cinema listings,etc. will be passed along to you. The driver can also initiate calls and send texts purely by voice with no physical interaction. Android Auto shares its APIs with Android Wear, which means that developers will find it easier to port apps between car and watch, helping to create a seamless experience when moving from one device to another.
Google have partnered with auto manufacturers such as Acura, Alfa Romeo, Audi, Bentley, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Dodge, GM, Honda, Hyundai, VolksWagen, Subaru and Maserati who are all scheduled to have models with Android Auto installed available later this year. That’s quite a varied list of car makers, spanning both budget and premium brands. If Google can partner Aston Martin perhaps we could see James Bond using Android Auto in his next film? Who knows?
The Android Auto SDK is said to become available soon, and chipmaker Nvidia is said to be supplying the chips, as was previously rumoured. There has been no mention yet as to whether Android Auto will support Mirror Link, but Android Auto sounds promising, and I can’t wait to see this in action. I’m sure there’s going to be more information on Android Auto in the coming days. There’s more pictures below in the gallery and you can sign up for updates on Android Auto here.
The news is coming thick and fast from Google I/O, which is your favourite bit of news so far? Remember that you can watch the live stream with us here, and that we’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below or at our Google Plus page.