Android Auto is in just about every new car and truck on the market today, but it has been absent from motorcycles — until now. Harley-Davidson announced that it is updating the 'Boom! Box GTS' infotainment system present on some of its motorcycles to support Android Auto.
Android Auto saw some big changes last summer, including removal of the Google Feed-inspired home screen and the addition of semi-persistent audio controls in the navigation bar. While most of the changes were welcomed, a few things were lost in the transition. Complaints have been stacking up over the sacrifice of calendar integration, or more specifically, that there are no appointment reminders or a convenient way to kickstart navigation to the places you need to go.
Some cars and head units are capable of displaying Android Auto from your phone wirelessly, but there are additional restrictions to the functionality — other than owning a compatible handset, you also need to live in one of the regions where the wireless connection is available. Luckily, the list of supported countries is expanding, and now you can use wireless Android Auto in almost all locations where the wired version is available, with only two exceptions: Japan and Russia.
Polestar, the performance-focused subsidiary of Volvo, introduced its latest concept vehicle at this year's Geneva Motor Show. The Polestar Precept is an all-electric sedan designed to showcase the company's "next-generation HMI" (human-machine interface) powered by Android Automotive and the extensive use of sustainable materials in its design.
The Precept name is particularly fitting considering the word's denotation as an example intended to set a standard going forward and the company's plans to move forward with sustainability and innovation as core values. While this particular vehicle may never make it to production, Polestar wants to embody these values in its future products.
Google promised over a year ago that the wireless version of Android Auto would work out-of-the-box on any Android 9.0+ phone, but that hasn't quite panned out. The only devices that have been able to use it are Google's own Pixel devices (plus the Nexus 5X and 6P), but that finally appears to be changing.
Back in November, Android Auto gained a cool little readout of the local temperature. It was visible on all screens and could be turned on or off in the settings screen on your phone. While it's hard to knock an addition like this, many people took issue with the fact that the setting to toggle this display was titled "Weather" when it was technically just the temperature. Rather than accept defeat and change the name of the setting, the Auto team chose instead to actually give us the weather.
Android Auto is designed to limit distractions, so it won't ping you with every notification on your phone. It can still be enough to get annoying, though. Google is finally addressing that with the option to silence notifications in Android Auto.
Assistant's features are far from consistent across platforms and have been like that since the service's launch. Some commands work on phones but not speakers, others vice-versa, not to mention smartwatches, TVs, cars, Bluetooth headsets, and other types of devices. Here's another example of this fragmentation: Routines aren't working on Auto. In fact they haven't been supported for over a year and there's no solution on the horizon.
The first Android Auto-equipped head units and vehicles started rolling out almost five years ago, but the Play Store client has just now hit 100 million downloads. It joins the likes of Google Home, Files, and others that have recently reached nine digits. While the app's future might be uncertain, it's still chugging along.