Android Auto got a few updates at Google I/O last week, including the fact that Google is bringing Android Auto to everyone in app form later this summer. But for those that have a car with Android Auto now, there are quite a few great apps that are available. They are mostly limited to media and messaging apps, though. But still great apps that you can use on the road. Don't forget, you'll need the Android Auto companion app to use Android Auto.
Google Play Music
Google Play Music is one of the more popular apps for Android Auto, considering it's built into your smartphone, that's not a huge surprise really. Google Play Music allows you to play your favorite playlists, albums, stations and much more while you're in the car. Remember that unless you've downloaded your music ahead of time, it'll be streaming over your internet connection.
Spotify is another popular streaming music app. Much like Google Play Music, you also have access to your playlists, albums, and just about everything else. Although, searching for music within Spotify using voice commands is a bit clunky and doesn't normally work well. To use Spotify, you will need to have a subscription to their Premium tier.
Listen to stories, shows, and podcasts from your local NPR station through the NPR One app. This is a good way to keep up with the latest news while you're in the car - perhaps stuck in traffic. NPR One also gets to know you, based on what you skip or don't listen too. It's a great app to use in the car this summer.
While messaging is technically supported on Android Auto, you can't actually open the app and use it on the display. It's all done via voice. Some apps support it, and Hangouts is one of those. Using voice commands, you can create a message to send to someone, or read a message that came in, and there's the ability to reply to that message.
If you're looking for a way to listen to your favorite podcasts while you're in the car, look no further than Pocket Casts. Like these other apps, if you don't download podcasts for offline listening, it will be streaming over your mobile data connection. Pocket Casts allows you to sync with other devices, so you are able to keep up with the latest episodes of all of your favorite podcasts while on the go.
Maybe you're the kind of person that likes to listen to audio books? Audible has you covered here. Their Android app is also supported by Android Auto. Allowing you the ability to listen to your favorite books in the car. This is a really nice app to have on a long road trip, when you're spending a considerable amount of time in the car.
Like with Hangouts, you aren't able to browse through your Telegram chats on Android Auto, but you can reply to them. Additionally, the car can read your messages to you and you have the ability to create messages. It's pretty minimal, but this is so that your eyes remain on the road.
Stitcher Radio for Podcasts
Stitcher is a radio app as well as a podcatcher, which has all of your favorite podcasts included. Allowing you to listen to your favorite podcasters while in the car. Aside from supporting Android Auto, Stitcher also has a web interface, allowing you to continue where you left off when you got out of the car. Stitcher touts that they have over 40,000 shows, including sources like ESPN, CNN, NPR, The American Life and many more.
While iHeartRadio's biggest feature is the ability to listen to radio stations live (even those that aren't local), they do also offer the ability to create your own custom stations, and stations based on a specific genre. Making it a great app to use in the car, seeing as it does support Android Auto. Allowing you to get the most out of iHeartRadio while in the car.
The app that is said to be the most popular messaging app in the world, WhatsApp, also supports Android Auto. Like Hangouts and Telegram, there's not an actual app per se. WhatsApp offers the same functionality as Telegram and Hangouts as well. Allowing you to create and reply to messages, as well as reading your unread messages to you over the speakers in the car.