Just a couple months ago, Android Auto added six preset images hidden away in the code that could be used as future backgrounds. We had been hoping that this meant that full custom wallpaper support would be coming soon, but instead, Google has removed most of the previous images in favor of 12 new, more car-oriented backgrounds that suit Android Auto a lot better. When they were first discovered by 9to5Google, they weren't selectable by users, but that appears to be changing: Many people report that wallpapers are now rolling out to their cars.
Ford and Google have agreed to place Android into the automaker's vehicles starting in 2023. The partnership will also establish Google Cloud as Ford's preferred cloud service provider and establish a co-operative skunkworks team to improve consumer technology in vehicles.
For many, the hardest part of having an electric vehicle is route planning on longer trips. In-range drives aren't really an issue, but if you have to stop to charge, it can be a bit of a hassle estimating when and where to do it, and it gets more complicated the longer the trip is. A conservative estimate just wastes time, which is already at a premium with you having to wait at each pit stop to top up. But for EVs with Google Maps built-in, like the recent Polestar 2 and Volvo XC40 Recharge, it's less of an issue thanks to some new tweaks rolling out now.
Samsung revealed its new Galaxy S21 phones last week, but that wasn't all the company talked about. It was also announced that Samsung's SmartThings device controls would soon be accessible through Android Auto, and now the functionality is already going live.
Google may offer quite some options for multilingual users, but there are still many hurdles when using the Assistant, Gboard, and other Google apps in two or more languages. Over the last year and a half or so, the problems have also moved over to Android Auto. Bilingual users have been reporting that the Assistant reads notifications in the wrong language, resulting in word soup and unintelligible sounds. After months of working on resolving the problem, Google has finally found a, uhm, let's call it solution: Just remove your secondary language from the Assistant.
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."