While many auto makers have already detailed their plans for Android Auto as well as Apple CarPlay, Mazda is one of the last hold outs. However, they announced this week that they are going to be bringing Android Auto to their fleet of cars and SUVs. However, the auto maker did not announce when it would be available, and which vehicles would get it first. While Mazda did not announce which models would be getting support first, they did note that Android Auto "should be retroactively upgradeable onto all Mazda Connect systems with a potentially minimal hardware addition needed." This means that users may see an OTA update coming to their existing vehicle for Android Auto. Something that auto makers like Hyundai, Kia and a few others have been doing lately.
Mazda has been a partner with both Google and Apple for their infotainment systems since 2014, being part of Google's Open Automotive Alliance as well. But they did take their sweet time in bringing both technologies to their vehicles. So it's not a surprise to see Mazda announce that they will bring Android Auto to their vehicles, it's a surprise that it took them this long, though. This means that now most auto makers have Android Auto or will have it soon, except for Toyota. A company who has been openly against allowing either Android Auto or Apple CarPlay into their cars. As they believe that gives the two tech giants too much leverage on their vehicles. Toyota also sees both companies – Google more than Apple – as a competitor due to their self-driving car technology.
Android Auto is no longer needed to be built into a vehicle for a customer to use it, but it is a better experience than docking your phone in your car to use Android Auto. As it allows you to use the car's GPS signal, but also use a much larger screen. Some vehicles have screens as large as 7 or even 8-inches. Which is a fair amount larger than most smartphones these days. Currently, Android Auto is available in over 200 models around the world, and it's continuing to grow every day.