One of the bigger issues with Android Auto right now is the app ecosystem. We have over a million apps in the Play Store with only about 35 available for Android Auto. Why is that? The Android Auto team told developers at Google I/O in May that apps have to be built upside-down. Basically what they mean by that is that apps are usually built “sticky” to get people to stay in the app and use it more. With Android Auto, that is the opposite. The longer a user spends in a particular app, the more likely it is for them to be distracted and thus get into an accident. That’s the last thing a developer or Google wants.
We already have plenty of other things going on in the car that distract us, we don’t need an app distracting us by playing video or something else. Earlier this year, Google had their engineers try and hack malicious apps onto Android Auto through the templates that Google has provided for these apps. An engineer was able to hack a retro game through the cover art feature of Google Play Music. Brenner, who is the project manager for Android Auto stated “This is why we have human beings approving apps”. And that statement couldn’t have been more true. However, that’s not the only reason why apps are now being reviewed by human beings, it’s also to keep out malicious apps from the Play Store.
Android Auto was actually announced last year at Google I/O 2014, and only just recently started making its way into cars this year. That shows you how much time Google put into Android Auto. They don’t want to release a beta product that could kill people. But that also shows just how far behind the car industry is these days. Shortly before Google I/O 2015, Hyundai and Chevy announced their plans for Android Auto. Hyundai now has Android Auto in 2015 Sonata’s leaving the dealer lot right now. While Chevy will be putting Android Auto in all 16 of their models for the model year 2016. Which is actually pretty amazing, that Chevy is going all in with Android Auto, also a good thing for Google, obviously.