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.
Android may be all about customization, but Android Auto hasn't allowed much room for self-expression since its launch. That looks to be changing soon, as a recent teardown of the Android Auto app indicates that users might soon be able to choose from a selection of wallpapers to take homescreen theming to the next level.
Operating systems are incredibly complex pieces of software, so it's perhaps not too surprising that despite several beta releases, a few bugs snuck into the final release of Android 11. The update has apparently caused issues with Android Auto, leading to some drivers being unable to play music or read notifications.
Android Auto's download count over on the Play Store is positively exploding. In a mere four months, the app has gone from 500 million installs to over a billion. Only six months before that, it was at 100 million. That's an incredible order of magnitude of growth in less than a year.
BMW was one of the last automakers to add Android Auto to its vehicles, and owners with compatible cars still have to go to the dealer to get the update. That's changing soon, though; BMW has just announced that an over-the-air update will start rolling out "over the coming weeks."
Earlier this summer, Google announced new categories of apps coming to Android Auto, including navigation, parking, and electric vehicle charging apps. Starting today, developers everywhere can begin testing out these categories with the Android for Cars App Library open beta.
Boats use the same double-DIN head units that cars do, but it turns out that nobody had made an Android Auto unit for marine applications... until now. Boss Audio has just released a fully weatherproofed 6.75" 480p head unit capable of Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, and it's actually pretty affordable at $289.99.
While compatibility with wireless Android Auto is expanding on phones, there are still many in-car head units and media players that are stuck using tethered connections. That's where a device called 'AAWireless' comes in, which aims to add wireless support to as many Android Auto units as possible.
A new settings and setup interface for Android Auto has been spotted rolling out. The changes aren't too drastic, but they do make for a smoother and slightly more attractive workflow, featuring a more general "connect a car" prompt with separate options for wired and wireless setup that follow.