Android Auto is on a roll this year. Merely six months ago, the Play Store app listing hit 100 million downloads, and already the app has now crashed through the half-billion barrier. Of course, most phones ship with the app pre-installed these days, easily inflating those numbers. Still, it's a milestone for Google's smart in-car infotainment system.
Microsoft's messaging platform Skype is still very much alive, even though the company is starting to roll out the business-oriented Microsoft Teams to everyone. The latest update to the Android application finally includes Android Auto support, but there's a catch — only text messages will appear on your car's screen, not voice or video calls.
After a large number of complaints about a bug affecting Assistant on Android Auto, Google has finally released a fix along with the latest version of the Google app that should put the issue to bed. A post outlining the problem on the Android Auto support site received more than 1,200 upvotes and a similar number of replies from other afflicted users.
Google typically rolls out changes to its design language every couple years, but many of the company's apps still take months, if not years to catch up. The wireframe style icons that started popping up in 2018 have become fairly ubiquitous, but there are still a few notable holdouts. Android Auto would have been counted among them, but it looks like a new set of icons has been silently swapped in for the Google Maps navigation interface.
Android Auto is a great way to play media, take phone calls, and get directions more safely than just using your phone while moving. Unfortunately, many of us are still driving vehicles that don't offer a built-in AA option. However, there are still ways to get Android Auto in your car, and installing a new head unit. Sony just announced plans to release a new model with support for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, Weblink capabilities, and a 6.95" capacitive screen.
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.