It's been a year since Android Auto was announced, and it's only now starting to hit the market. You can buy a handful of cars with support for Auto (with a software update), and more vehicles are on the way. There are also some aftermarket head units that can smarten up your dumb old car. Now that it's finally reaching consumer availability, we can see how Google's car infotainment platform works.
I've had a chance to play with one of Pioneer's NEX Android Auto kits (the AVIC-8100NEX), and have already posted some initial impressions. Now let's dig in and explore this new frontier for Android.
Cadillac has just announced that it, too, will be jumping on the Android Auto bandwagon, with all 2016 model year Cadillac vehicles that are equipped with the 8-inch CUE infotainment system being the first to get it. Cadillac has stated that Android Auto will not, however, ship immediately on these cars. Instead, they'll most likely get Auto via a dealer-installed software update, around which time Auto will also start to be phased into production vehicles. For now, Cadillac is estimating that Auto will be available around the mid-model year (think winter 2015/2016), but that's subject to change.
There's no specific list of which cars will be getting a 2016 model year in Cadillac's lineup, but presumably it's going to be almost all of them.
Want a car with Android Auto? Chevrolet probably just became your best bet: the American automotive giant just announced that 14 (fourteen, that's right) of its 2016 model year cars will get it. The really important part, though, is that 10 of those 14 will come with an Auto-compatible system even at base trim level. That's pretty outstanding.
Here are the cars, which is basically the bulk of Chevrolet's entire 2016 lineup:
Camaro (and Camaro Convertible)
Corvette (and Corvette Convertible)
Yes, if you count the convertibles as the same car as their coupe siblings, it's 12 models, but still - damn impressive.
According to the fan-owned Hyundai Forums, if you walk into your Hyundai dealership in the next week or so with your 2015 Hyundai Sonata with Tech Package (meaning the large screen navigation system upgrade), an Android Auto upgrade should be there for you. And if it isn't, it probably will be shortly (like, this week).
One owner already has the update flashed to his car (pictures are there in the thread for registered users, if you want proof), and along with the Hyundai service notice above, should make it obvious this thing is ready to go.
It has been nearly a year since Google announced Android Auto, and it's still available almost nowhere. No car companies have built the technology into their 2015 vehicles (though some may get a software update with support later), and only a handful of aftermarket head units have the software. So what's the deal? Is it worth getting excited for? I've finally gotten my hands on one of Pioneer's Android Auto units (the 8100NEX), and here's how I'm feeling about it after a few days.
Telegram is a secure messaging app that a lot of people like more than WhatsApp, not that it really matters what's objectively better than the other. Messaging apps are only useful if other people are using them. Telegram does okay, though, and maybe today's update will drive adoption even more. It has stickers! Stickers!
Is it a "deal alert" if the cheapest option is still way more than most people want to pay? Probably not, but if you're in the market for Pioneer's first car stereo head units equipped with Android Auto, you can save some considerable cash anyway. The new models have been heavily discounted on Amazon almost immediately after being released, often by hundreds of dollars. For example, the top-of-the-line AVIC-8100NEX, with a wallet-pounding suggested retail price of $1400, is going for just $934 on Amazon.
Maybe a grand is a little much to pay for functionality that can mostly be replicated with any $200 Bluetooth-equipped stereo and a decent phone dock.
Android Auto is finally here! Sort of. It's available in exactly one (incredibly expensive) car stereo at the moment, meaning that there are probably more active users of the Nexus Q right now. But that isn't stopping some responsible developers from adding the support for the new hardware into their apps, and today popular podcast manager BeyondPod joins them. The latest beta version, available as a direct download or via the Play Store beta system, works with Google's automotive electronics push.
I'd love to show you a photo of BeyondPod working with Android Auto, but of course I don't have one of those Pioneer head units or a compatible car.
On the off chance you've got Android Auto in your vehicle, you might be interested to know there's a developer mode built-in. Even if you don't have Android Auto yet, you might still be vaguely interested in an abstract sort of way. You can access it through the Android app and it only takes a few taps.
Google has finally pushed an official Android Auto app to the Play Store that will allow Lollipop phones to work with the first few head units and cars with support for the platform. It only works on phones running 5.0 or higher, and is pretty much useless without a compatible Android Auto system—you probably don't have one of those.