Virtually every major auto manufacturer has already incorporated Android Auto into their infotainment systems, leaving BMW as the final holdout. Although the company had claimed in 2017 that it had no plans to add Android Auto to their lineup, it must have changed its mind at some point, because it announced in December of last year that Android Auto would be coming in July 2020. Well, it's July 2020, and I can confirm that BMW has finally made this long-awaited Android Auto update available.
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.