Until now, Google Maps and Waze (also owned by Google) were the only navigation apps to be fully supported on Android Auto — others were restricted to the phone interface. This is now changing as popular alternative Sygic becomes one of the first third-party navigation apps to have native support for Android Auto.
About eight months ago Google opened the door to a wider variety of apps that would integrate directly with Android Auto. The new categories were navigation apps (alternative to Android Auto's standard Google Maps), parking assists and locators, and databases for electric vehicle charging stations. Now those apps can roll out to users, no beta testing required.
Android Auto has been around long enough to be adopted by all major car manufacturers, with the final holdout — BMW — having taken the plunge late last year. That still leaves out a few specialized car companies refusing to support Google's car-friendly service. You can scratch Porsche off that list, as the 2022 911 models will be the carmaker's first vehicles to include Android Auto.
Although a bunch of cars now come with advanced navigation systems, these can rarely beat the simplicity and expansibility of Android Auto. Sadly, though, Google's in-car service isn't globally available, leaving many users unable to properly use their favorite services from their ride's dashboard. Thankfully, Android Auto is expanding to 36 more countries, making it seamless to get directions, play music, and interact with Assistant, thanks to native integration with your car's infotainment system.
The Fiat 500 doesn't turn any heads, except perhaps those of car enthusiasts looking for an extended sneer. But it's a popular model: a cheap, fuel-efficient, and eminently practical grocery-getter for urbanites. For the upcoming model year, Google and Fiat have joined forces for a "Hey Google Edition" of the hatchback, offering more extensive integration with Google Assistant than ever before.
About a week ago, we reported Android Auto would receive a bunch of new features, including a new privacy mode and in-car games. A split-screen mode was also in the making, which has now rolled out to users.
The last month has been really exciting for Android Auto users. Between the addition of custom shortcuts, the return of Google Assistant routines, and interchangeable wallpapers, the features have really been rolling out. But the team isn't done yet, there are some new things planned for release this week. If you are an Auto user, you can look forward to playing voice-controlled Google Assistant games, better support for extra-wide screens, and a Privacy Screen to control how much Auto shows.
Google is always working on improving its Android apps and the operating system itself, heavily relying on public a/b tests that appear on some people's phones but not on others. But every once in a while, the company takes the time to announce some features formally, and today is another one of those days. Google is making a whole slew of known tests and a few brand-new changes official.
Android Auto ended last year by rolling out to 36 more countries, but the infotainment system has been suffering from a few bugs lately. Thankfully, Google is now rolling out an update that should fix compatibility issues with various phones, notably including the Galaxy S21 series.
Wallpapers aren't the only new thing rolling out to Android Auto users this week, Google is also turning on some handy features to simplify activities while you're driving. Users can now add custom shortcuts to the launcher to quickly call pre-selected contacts or activate Google Assistant commands. Along with this, Google Assistant routines are available again after more than two years since they mysteriously stopped working through Auto.