Android Auto is really a simple product. It's basically taking your phone's screen and putting it onto a bigger display that's in your car. In our case, it's the Pioneer AVH4100NEX headunit. Pretty much the only apps that are available right now are audio and messaging apps. And audio apps are really the only ones that are getting used in Android Auto. We're taking a look at Pocket Casts this week, to see how the experience is in the car.
All Android Auto compatible apps have to fit into a template provided by Google. The reason for this is to be sure that apps are not distracting to the driver. Which is important, especially if you're traveling 70MPH down the freeway. Pocket Casts looks and acts a lot like the app on your phone or tablet. The slideout menu provides you with podcasts, unplayed, audio, and downloaded podcasts. So you can play podcasts that have been downloaded, or stream them over your mobile data connection. However, you can't browse for new shows to add to your library. Probably a good idea, that way you aren't looking at the display instead of the road.
You can easily choose your show, and your episode and have it start playing. Once you've selected your episode, it takes just a few seconds to start playing. Now this will depend on your data connection. If you're loading up a podcast stream over EDGE connection it's definitely going to be slower than doing so over 4G LTE. So keep that in mind when playing podcasts while traveling. While podcasts don't typically use a lot of bandwidth, especially the audio podcasts, if you listen to a lot of them, it can really eat at your data cap.
While you're at it. Make sure you subscribe to the Android Headlines show on Pocket Casts, or whatever podcast catcher you use. Others are compatible with Android Auto - which we'll be looking at a bit later on - including Stitcher, TuneIn Radio and More!